If you're looking for a "green" vacation, one that aims at being good to the planet and within easy driving distance, check out the new Mountain Cabins at Greensprings Inn.
Located behind the familiar Greensprings Inn at the Cascade Crest on Highway 66, the five chalets sit atop a ridge over Keene Creek in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
It's quiet. You're surrounded by green. Ridge after ridge expands out toward Ashland, 25 minutes away, which makes it green because you don't burn up tanks of gas or jet fuel in your getaway, says owner Diarmuid McGuire.
The open-ceiling cabins offer lots of glass and decks, so you can enjoy the view, a screened-in sun porch, barbecue, tiny, efficient wood stove, cozy lofts with sofa beds and a hot tub filled by a tankless water heater, so it isn't cooking water all day and night.
One of the resort's biggest attractions is something it doesn't have: TV.
"People appreciate that. They come here to get away from that," says McGuire, noting that their children always find things to do, with hiking on the nearby Pacific Crest Trail being a main attraction. Boating at Hyatt Lake is four miles away, and corrals for horses will be built this summer.
A retired public relations man, McGuire was determined to make the building project as green as possible, constructing the cabins with wood harvested from the building sites, then milled and planed into beams and boards using 10,000 watts of solar photovoltaic energy supplied by panels on the roof of his giant workshop.
Pointing to the modern-looking cabins (he has permits for 15 more), McGuire says, "We made every board you see here, except for the plywood. None of it was trucked from logging sites hundreds of miles away or flown in from the Amazon."
Each cabin on the 145-acre parcel is sited so it's out of view of neighboring cabins. The emphasis is on peace and quiet, something savored by writers, artists, people on a meditative retreat — or those who just need to "get out of Dodge," says McGuire.
"We see a lot of families making little getaways, enjoying the peaceful feeling with no TV — hiking, biking, fishing, couples making a romantic getaway, weddings, small groups. We're nearly always full."
At the top of the land sits the Greensprings Inn, one of the region's truly rustic and authentic roadhouses, serving three meals a day with tasty American and Italian dishes created by Barbara McHugh, who's been chef there for 27 years.
"She's Italian, so we're strong on pasta, like the chicken marsala. It's great. So are the salads. She makes the pies, cinnamon rolls, even the buns for burgers," says McGuire. "The food is as good as any in the valley, just without the crystal."
So bring a book, some hiking shoes and an appetite for solitude, good food and personal renewal.
"We offer luxury and seclusion you wouldn't see at other resorts. People have a vision of what 'a cabin in the woods' means, and this is it — fresh air, good water, a completely different environment, though you're still in your backyard with regard to the Rogue Valley," says McGuire's son, Padraic McGuire, who just graduated in engineering from Montana State University and used his new skills to design the project.
The Mountain Cabins season runs all year, with cabins at $159 a night and $199 for the weekend, going up by $50 in high season. For information, go to www.greenspringsinn.com or call 541-482-0614.