BAYFIELD, WIS.—Pinehurst Inn, an eight room bed & breakfast operated by Nancy and Steve Sandstrom in Bayfield, Wis., received the Governor’s Tourism Stewardship Award at the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism last month. The annual award is presented to a business or community that uses and promotes sustainable practices. Long-time leaders in the use of sustainable practices in Wisconsin’s hospitality industry and pioneers in the development of Wisconsin’s Travel Green program, the Sandstroms are honored to receive the award. “This award feels really wonderful,” said Nancy Sandstrom. “We are thrilled to have our efforts recognized by our peers in the tourism industry.”
The Pinehurst Inn property consists of a main, historic house with five guestrooms and the Garden House, built in 2003, which offers three additional guestrooms and a common room.
The dedication to environmental stewardship underpins every level of operations at the Pinehurst Inn, operated by the Sandstroms since 1996. Their commitment to sustainable practices is immediately evident by the solar panels tucked in amongst the native and perennial gardens that surround the property. The principles of sustainability are woven into nearly every interaction guests have with Pinehurst Inn. A composting system is utilized for all food and yard waste, refillable soap and shampoo dispensers are used in each room, water glasses are repurposed from recycled wine bottles and local fresh fruit and juices from the area’s many berry farms and orchards are purchased in season and frozen for off-season use.
The legacy of the Pinehurst Inn is a rich one that reaches back into the history of the Bayfield area, and also has a place in Nancy Sandstrom’s personal history.
Inn Built in 1885
Built in 1885, the original structure served as the private residence of Bayfield lumber baron R.D. Pike. Owned by the Pike family until 1905, it was then purchased by Harvey Nourse, Sr., a cousin to Nancy Sandstrom’s grandmother. Both Sandstrom and her mother spent many summers at Pinehurst as children, with fond memories of freshly baked biscuits and homemade maple syrup in the summer kitchen of the home. The Nourse family maintained the house as a private residence until 1984, when it was converted to a bed & breakfast. In January 1995, the Sandstroms purchased Pinehurst Inn and opened it to guests in May of that year. In 2003, they added the Garden House, which provides three additional guestrooms and a common room. The Garden House is a template of green building, in both its materials and systems.
The grounds at the Pinehurst Inn are managed by the principles of permaculture, an agricultural approach that creates sustainable and self-sufficient ecosystems. In addition to the perennial gardens established by the Nourse family, the Sandstroms have introduced native plantings around the separate structure of the Garden House. In these gardens, one can expect to find blueberries among the native flowers and grasses, herbs neighboring perennial flowers and edible flowers.
The Sandstroms serve as an example for others and seek to open the door for like businesses to learn from one another. “This area is filled with great business owners who simply want to do business well and right,” said Nancy Sandstrom. In that, they also use Pinehurst Inn to educate visitors to the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship. “We know that our operations, our philosophy and our property’s features frame our guests’ experience. While it may or may not be the reason they select us as their lodging, everyone walking through the door is subtly just a bit more educated and aware.”
Active Outside the Inn
Aside from the work they do at Pinehurst Inn, the Sandstroms have provided direction and assistance in the promotion of green standards for the larger tourism industry. They were involved in the development of Wisconsin’s own Travel Green program, in which they are certified. They also assisted TripAdvisor with the creation of their GreenLeaders program, in which they are certified at the Platinum level.
Notable guests to Pinehurst Inn include environmental activist and winner of the Right Livelihood Award Vandana Shiva, author Bill McKibben and former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.
Pinehurst Inn is located in Bayfield, Wis., an historic fishing and lumber community at the northern tip of the state, on the south shore of Lake Superior. It serves as the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and also neighboring Madeline Island. The area is noteworthy for its many Travel Green certified business and its overall commitment to sustainability.
Go to the Pinehurst Inn.