1792Thanks to Paul Bennett at Context Travel, I have become more educated about sustainable travel.  Instead of focusing on carbon credits, I now look for ways to contribute to the community I visit.  When we were in Italy, we stayed at an agri-tourismo and in Costa Rica, we ate at local sodas and shopped in the local grocery store.  What I had not considered was doing the same on a trip in the US.  This occured to me while stopping in Cleveland the first night on my Ford Fusion roadtrip with uber-blogger Katja Presnal.Positively Cleveland suggested a few large chain hotels that are conveniently located in the downtown area but I asked for something more Cleveland-y.  They recommended The Clifford House, a B&B run by Jim, a former art teacher.  He comped me the night in exchange for getting the word out about B&Bs and how supporting them with a stay supports the community as well. My room was clean, well decorated and huge (included a settee).  I shared a bathroom with the owner and 4 other guests occupied the rooms upstairs.  I met everyone at breakfast and we exchanged greetings and stories.  One guest is an architect and the other 3 chose Cleveland and The Clifford House for a family reunion.  Breakfast was a grand affair with eggs, potatoes, organic breads, coffee and  milk, a selection of juices all served on nice china.  It was a terrific way to start the day. The unexpected:  Jim waited up for me.  As a newbie to B&B stays, I didn’t plan well for my late arrival.  I should have made stopped by the house earlier in the day to check in and get a key so that I could let myself in at my leisure.  Instead, I wound up calling at 11:15pm because I was lost.  He guided me in and after showing me to my room, reminded me that breakfast was from 7-9am.  This was a nice way of letting me know that he had to get up early (and that I was keeping him up!).  The next morning, my ride to the press conference at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was late so Jim offered to drive me to the Hall.  That was Surprise #2.  The unexpected is what you can expect at a good B&B.  The owners know their neighborhoods and add a personal quality to your stay that you won’t get in a large hotel.  They are also usually locally owned and deserve support like any other locally owned business.  This is sustainable travel that I can sustain.