Julia L F Goldstein

How Are You Changing the World?

Travel and the Environment

I recently sent an email to my subscriber list in which I asked their opinion about whether I should drive my 2016 Nissan Leaf to the Sleeping Lady resort in Leavenworth, WA. The resort is located 105 miles from my house. Several people replied and said to go for it. I did, even though my husband was worried and thought we should take his gas-powered car instead. Perhaps he had a point—an attempt to drive to the Stevens Pass ski resort, only 70 miles from home along the same route, ended up requiring two rides by a tow truck. I finally returned home after 10 pm on New Year’s Eve.

The stated range of up to 110 miles assumes ideal conditions—no freeway driving, outdoor temperatures significantly above freezing, and no significant hills to climb. Stevens Pass is at an elevation of over 4000 feet, and the temperature read 18 degrees when we got stranded less than a mile from the ski resort. (Let me know if you want to hear the whole story.)

Having learned my lesson the hard way, this time, I had a plan. We would stop at a quick charge station in Skykomish, a town about halfway along the route, and have lunch while the car was charging. Quick charging takes up to 45 minutes for a nearly depleted battery, compared to 8 hours for a level 2 (220-volt) charging station or 30 hours when plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet.

My plan worked. We arrived in Leavenworth with plenty of driving range left, and I knew that we could charge the car at a level 2 station located on the property of the Sleeping Lady. I chose this resort because of its emphasis on sustainability and the scenic location.

Harriet Bullitt bought the historic property in 1991 and opened the Sleeping Lady in 1995 after renovating buildings dating from the 1930s and building new ones. In 2019, she sold the resort to the Icicle Fund, a nonprofit that Harriet founded that supports the arts, history, and the environment.

The resort has the feel of a summer camp, which isn’t surprising considering the property had housed youth camps from the 1950s through the 1980s. The restaurant showcases wooden plaques with names of past campers. The food, however, is much better than the camp food I remember from my years at sleepaway camp. The menus feature vegetables and herbs from an on-site garden and fish that meets the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines.

The Sleeping Lady is a B Corporation and has been since 2010, the year that the certification began. Certified B Corporations are, as the B Corporation website explains, “legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.”

When I’m choosing which business to support by buying their products or services, seeing the B Corporation certification gives me confidence that the company’s claims of socially and environmentally responsible practices are not just marketing fluff. The certification process is rigorous. Whether you’re buying for your household or investigating suppliers for your business, you want something that meets your needs for performance, features, and price. In addition to satisfying those criteria, I suggest that you look for the B Corporation logo.

Sleeping Lady is making good on its promise as a B Corp. It appears to treat its workers well and offers an array of benefits, including free use of many of the on-site amenities. With a portion of all income going to the Icicle Fund, the resort is certainly supporting the community. And a binder in our room included three pages of details about environmentally sustainable features incorporated throughout the property.

One of Sleeping Lady’s suppliers is another B Corporation, Essential Oils (EO), which makes the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash found in the dispensers in the showers. The Sleeping Lady isn’t one of those hotels that boast about how it is saving the planet by giving guests the option of not having their sheets and towels washed daily while providing toiletries in disposable containers and bottled water.

Beyond feeling good about considering the environmental impact of the trip, the choices we made created a memorable and enjoyable experience. I would gladly return and hope to visit in the winter when nearby hiking and horseback riding trails become paths for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Given my experience at Stevens Pass last winter, perhaps I'll take the train.