From Gozo to Hastings – authentic retreats

From Gozo to Hastings – authentic retreats

Gartner No Comments

It’s a cliche but Malta’s little sister island really is one of the Med’s best-kept secrets. Its ancient citadels, sun-baked terraces and Byzantine churches are a gift for location scouts (see Gladiator, Troy, Game of Thrones), but for the rest of us, the red-sand beaches and impossibly blue waters are the real stars of the show. At the end of February the low-key islanders go nuts for Carnival (28 February to 4 March).

What to do If you see only one sight ? Make it the Ggantija Temples at Xaghra – the oldest freestanding structures in the world, dating back to 3600BC. Swim in the “Inland Sea”, a lagoon surrounded by cliffs and connected to the sea by a narrow limestone archway. Relax on the gorgeous sandy beaches at Ramla Bay and San Blas. Gozo’s crystal-clear waters offer some of the best dive spots in the Med – you can book dive and snorkelling trips in the harbour town of Marsalforn.


Retreat from the double dip in the Mexican Jungle

Gartner No Comments

Forget about the Cartels. They’ll never find you here!

Perhaps you’ve heard about Mexico’s efforts to boost tourism to Mayan sites between now and the much-publicized end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012 (hey, you’d better get there before the world ends!).

And perhaps you’ve heard about the benefits of the eco-tourism trend and you’re eager to reduce your carbon footprint. Then you’ll want to know about a one-of-a-kind destination called Taninah (pronounced Tah-knee-nah), which means “first home” in Mayan, it’s a private, gated and fenced jungle retreat on 10 acres within the Riviera Maya,


Free real estate ad for reader

Gartner No Comments

House for sale

“I just want to thank you for building such a great site, and let you know I’ve lived off grid in Supreme Style since 1998,” says one of our readers.
It took 2 years to build my dream home near Springfield, Ill (well we’re Simpsons fans, so how could we resist?). I bought the land 18.4 acres with rolling hills and a creek going through the property, my private driveway is 1/2 mile long and my home is secluded. In 1996 and started building in the late fall. I had my home completely framed up and a tornado force wind came along and leveled it. I’ll never forget that morning I came out to work on it. I came up the hill to the home and found a pile of toothpicks.


Wood stove sales heat up

Gartner No Comments

Rising costs of fossil fuels are ushering wood stoves back into homes, and making people already surviving on wood fires feel like they made the right choice. Its also creating a windfall for dealers who are hustling to keep pace with demand.

In Alaska, always a good indicator when it comes to measures to protect against cold, wood stove dealers are reporting sales for September up 300 percent over September 2004, and it’s not yet even the peak of the sales season.


Land boom in the boondocks

Gartner one comments

Second-growth forests in east and north Washington State are sprouting a new crop: residential real estate.

The metal rooftops of several luxury recreational homes punctuate the forest canopy on the bluff above Swift Reservoir’s turquoise waters. View lots at Swift Cove, Marble Creek Estates and Swift View are going for up to $169,000. Swift Cove’s 14 lots sold in three years, and buyers quickly snapped up the four lots at Marble Creek.

Signs for Pine Creek East, along Forest Service Road 25, advertise “a new recreational community” with lots from $59,900 to $129,000. The subdivision, carved into second-growth forest stands 22 miles east of Cougar, is the first stage of a planned 200-house community that will include property within the Muddy River and Pine Creek watersheds.


For the Eco-kid in all of us – book review

Gartner No Comments

Chiras: Eco-Kidult

Saving our environmentally abused planet is never for ourselves but for the NextGen.

As Dan Chiras points out in his much-needed book “EcoKids: Raising Children Who Care For the Earth” (New Society Publishers, $17.95), the key to a sustainable future lies with today’s youth, the ones who are going to be stuck with the mess we’ve created.

Chiras, who lives off the grid and hasn’t had to pay an electric bill since 1996, provides the ideas; parents must be the ones to introduce the rapidly disappearing natural world to their children. Each chapter offers a primer on environmental issues and short case studies.

EcoKids : Raising Children Who Care for the EarthEcoKids : Raising Children Who Care for the Earth – buy it from Amazon US

Ecokids – Buy it from Amazon UK
Ecokids – Buy it from Amazon Canada


Slow down? Manana….

Gartner No Comments

You take the slow road – Carl Honore

British heir to the throne Prince Charles recently spoke out about the need for us all to slow down. Everything is just getting faster and faster he told a BBC interviewer. It can’t go on. That interview took place shortly after Charles received a signed copy of “In Praise of Slow” by Carl Honoré. The book has been published in 20 languages and over 40 countries including Brazil, China, India. You can click on the link below to buy it and 4% will go to benefit this web site. The book is a paean to slowing down without stopping altogether, written by a busy, unashamedly ambitious, and formerly impatient financial journalist.

Honoré lives in London and spends his time speaking and consulting on the subject of slowing down. He spoke to us about the overlap between the slow philosophy and the off-grid philosophy.

“Off-grid is in a sense about getting back to natural rhythms,” Honoré said. “Being aware of where your fuel is coming from, or the source of the water on the land, it plugs you into nature. The whole hyperstimulated future we have created is based on a divorce from nature and a move towards clock driven rhythms.

The “slow movement” is growing rapidly. But is its downshifting philosophy practical for busy urbanites? Yes it is. Frankly, we at Off-Grid see “being busy” as a sign of failure. (to read the rest of the story or buy Honore’s book from Amazon on the next page, click more — 4% of the purchase price goes to support this web site)

Shop for Mind and Spirit products at!


Queen goes Green?

Gartner No Comments

With President George Bush still in denial about the effect of US energy consumption on the rest of the planet, it is left to Her Majesty the Queen of England to show the green way forward to Heads of State.

Micro-hydro Design Manual: Guide to Small-scale Water Schemes – buy it from Amazon — 4% goes to Off-Grid

Having already installed a Hydro-electric plant at Windor Castle, the “Green” Queen has harnessed a stream on the Balmoral estate – where the Royals are currently enjoying their summer break – to produce hydro-electric power.

George Bush would approve of the fact that every volt will be sold, with enough electricity being generated to potentially power The White House.


Sites to help eat cheap

Gartner No Comments

Eat cheaper – grow your own

Here are some links to groups that can help you grow food off-grid:


Green Thumb Community Gardens

Am. Community Garden Assc.

Neem Foundation

Trees for Life

Living Nutrition


The Real Good Life

Gartner 3 comments

ITV, a commercial TV station in the UK, just launched a new reality series about people going back to the land. Now it has axed the show from its Tuesday night line-up after a disasterous performance in the ratings.

The Real Good Life , lasted for two episodes instead of its planned three. The opening 60-minute show last week had 2.7 million (13%) with the audience falling by 400,000 to 2.3 million (12%) in its second outing in a 30-minute slot at 8pm. Next week it will be replaced by a repeat of It’ll Be Alright on the Night.

Like so much on ITV at the moment, it feels like this programme was first conceived in 1978, and then forgotten for years until it was found in an old box marked “stale ideas”.

“The Real Good Life” is a reference to a 1970s comedy about a middle class couple who gave up urban bliss for country hell. But the families in this series haven’t moved to the countryside; they’ve dug up their own back gardens in suburbia. And the ITV cameras are following them through four long, tough seasons, to see whether they achieve fulfilment and full stomachs.

The Smiths from Lincolnshire, the Attfields from Hertfordshire and the Aldridges from Berkshire gave


Newsletter Signup