Trash to Craft Homes in New Mexico
From Highway 64 outside Taos, New Mexico, Earthships look like the domed roofs of underground dwellings. Turns out they're even more interesting than that. After growing fed up with the amount of trash he produced, Earthship Founder Michael Reynolds started using old tires, aluminum cans, and glass as building materials. What resulted was a pioneering design for off-the-grid homes that heat and cool themselves, grow some of their own food in indoor greenhouses, filter and recycle their own water, and use a solar powered battery for electricity. There are now about 80 homes near the Earthship visitor's center and many more around the world. Travelers can arrange a tour or book a stay in one of five nightly rentals. What you'd imagine to be rustic on the inside is artfully decorated with aluminum-can or glass-bottle mosaics (above) and handcrafted decor made by other artists in the community. But the biggest luxury, which we discovered on a 20-degree winter day, is the warmth inside provided by nothing more than the heat of the sun. In the words of my tour guide, "You have to stay in one to get it." I'll have to return.