|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
A Spotlight on Vegan Companies and Businesses
throughout the United States and a few beyond - updated May 2006
by M. 'Butterflies' Katz
co-author of Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm
by Gentle World www.gentleworld.org
Vegan Bed and Breakfasts in the USA:
The White Pig Bed & Breakfast & Animal Sanctuary at Briar Creek Farm is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a vegan oasis in central Virginia.
It is owned by Dina Brigish, a vegan for 11 years and a vegetarian for 25 years. The other staff member is vegetarian, almost vegan.
The Inn opened it's doors in November 2001 for vegan overnight lodging & meals. We also are an animal sanctuary. We are a private sanctuary and rely solely on the success of the bed and breakfast to support the sanctuary. It also provides necessary funding that protects the countless wildlife that call Briar Creek Farm their home and protects their land from development and sport hunting says Dina.
Dina has been a vegetarian since her early teens and became an animal activist after co-founding Syracuse University for Animal Rights while attending Syracuse University. She received her first potbellied pig as a gift from her mother and named him "Norman." Norman would later become the namesake and inspiration for The White Pig B & B. Shortly after Norman arrived, Brigish became a vegan. After deciding that a city life was not suitable for a pig, she (and husband Hal) purchased a home for Norman where he would have a backyard to play.
Not long after Olive, Jacob & finally Willoughby were rescued (from abandonment and abuse) to complete the herd. In 1997, Dina left her successful career in fashion to pursue her dream of incorporating a vegan lifestyle, rescuing animals and a career all in one.
After much deliberation, she decided to open a vegan farm bed and breakfast. But first she needed to hone her cooking skills. She attended The Natural Gourmet Cookery School in Manhattan and then interned at Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. After returning to New York, she continued her search up and down the east coast for the perfect farm to open her inn.
It took roughly three years but in 2000, Dina's vision of a rural farm, with a historic home, in quiet and beautiful location, but close to an open minded city was found at Briar Creek Farm just outside the City of Charlottesville. The White Pig is a tribute to Norman (and Dina's other 12 pigs) and a vegan lifestyle. It also looks to introduce non-vegans to delicious vegan cuisine and maybe shed a new light on the wonderful, sensitive and intelligent creature we call THE PIG.
Sweet Thyme Inn serves exclusively vegan meals (no animal products) and is located in Green Bank, a very rural, mountainous region in Pocahontas County on the east coast of West Virginia.
It is managed by Patricia Merithew who has been totally vegan for about 13 years. "I had been leaning towards vegetarian for many years before health reasons demanded I either solve my problems naturally or 'go under the knife' as was being suggested. My brother-in-law owned a health food store in Michigan and with his knowledge I cleaned up my eating act.
"We saw/experienced a need for a pleasant destination (in the eastern half of the states) for those of us who had to travel with 'frig in vehicle' just to be sure we would have food to eat. This and several other factors further motivated the four of us - me, my husband (Chuck), sister (Kathleen) and brother-in-law (Ron) to get away from city life and head to Hancock, Vermont where we established the Sweet Onion Inn, a totally vegan establishment.
"After five years in Vermont we left Kathy and Ron behind (they manage the Sweet Onion Inn yet today) and moved (primarily to be closer to our son and grandchildren) to the mountains of W.V. in the most rural county we could find and established our inn with the same 'vegan' format. We opened the Inn to guests in March of 2000.
"We have only four rooms and do not regularly employ others. My husband Chuck could be described as 'does his best to follow vegan lifestyle' but is not as committed to the total picture as I am. We find ourselves among hunters and meat eaters but know our neighbors to be gracious and open to us.
"We have had some welcoming and informative articles written about us in the local newspaper and recently received many congratulations when we received the PETA "Proggy" award for 2006 best vegan B&B."
She concludes by saying, "We hope we are contributing to a gentler world by inviting others to think about what they eat in a way that is more humane to animals, people and our world. Many of our guests are 'vegetarians' and are most interested in how and why they might/should take that further step to eliminate all animal products from their diets. Sometimes an entire family will stay with us because a teenage child has made the decision to 'not eat animals'. As restaurants are few in the immediate area, others who are willing to try dinner with us for a night, invariably say something like - "The meal was certainly not as bland as I thought it would be" or "I wouldn't mind this food all the time if I could cook like this". We enjoy being some kind of a bridge to a 'gentler world'.