The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa; Asheville
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Perched on a mountain overlooking downtown Asheville and tucked behind towering pine trees, The Grove Park (groveparkinn.com) feels like a secluded getaway. This is a year-round resort -- visit during Christmas when it's decked out with gingerbread houses from its well-known annual competition, or come in the fall, the peak season, when the leaves are turning and the nights are crisp but still warm enough to dine outside at Sunset Terrace. Even during the slower summer months you'll want to pull up a rocking chair in front of the fourteen-foot stone fireplace and relax with a cool cocktail.
It's what you can't see that makes The Grove Park so green. Sure, there's the highly successful recycling program (every guest room has a recycling bin), the installation of low-flow showerheads and toilets, and its saline pools (which are more healthful for guests and use less-hazardous materials). But besides all that, since July 2004 the resort has donated furniture and other goods to Habitat for Humanity, resulting in nearly $200,000 for the nonprofit.
Save the World
Nothing goes unused here. The Inn gives away: grease left over from cooking to Blue Ridge Biofuels (about 250 gallons a month), overproduced food items to the nearby MANNA FoodBank, and gently used linens to local shelters.