Owned by the nonprofit Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, the 13,000-acre Callaway Gardens has had a mission for more than five decades: connecting humans with nature. The new, upscale Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens furthers that goal, creating a woodland retreat where groups can meet in tranquil surroundings. At the 150-room lodge, southwest of Atlanta in Pine Mountain, Ga., the inviting lobby is dominated by a massive stone fireplace; comfortable, well-appointed guest rooms overlook garden and woods. Spa Prunifolia offers 13 treatment rooms, and spa treatments incorporate fresh herbs, fruits, and flowers, many grown in Callaway's gardens.

The on-site Lodge Conference Center was the first U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified business conference center in the world. Its 54,000 square feet of meeting space (including two ballrooms) offers stunning woodland and garden views, and most rooms have direct access to the outdoors.

As of December 2007, Callaway Gardens has purchased Wind Power Credit Offsets to replace 100 percent of the power it uses. And it goes a long way toward limiting the power it does consume by using occupancy sensors for air conditioning in guest rooms, 15-watt compact fluorescent bulbs, and a computer-controlled system for monitoring electricity consumption and adjusting power loads. Among Callaway's long list of green initiatives: extensive recycling. (In 2007, it recycled 72 tons of materials.)