“I purposely put the compost in the front yard- so that when people walk by they see me doing it and it starts a conversation about conservation.” Cory the owner of The Inn at Horn Point explained to me after saying “Having the compost in our front yard may seem like a goofy thing to do.” 

Last week I got the opportunity to walk down the street from our office in Eastport and interview two Inn keepers, Cory and Carol, about their story and how they have come to be a leader on all things “green.” The Inn at Horn Point was one of five companies to win the “2019 Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award” given by Governor Hogan. So it was no surprise to find that the owner and mastermind behind this incredibly green Inn was very passionate about his work and how to make it the most sustainable business that he can because of his passion for taking care of his home – our planet. 

Cory has been composting at his Inn for about 17 years now and he is by far the most excited person I have ever met when it comes to composting, taking care of our surroundings, and providing an equally passionate experience for his guests. “It’s really very magical,” Cory says as he pulls out soil from the bottom of the compost bin. Not only is Cory excited about the compost because it makes the most “magical” soil, but he loves how it helps the Inn become less wasteful. “Anything that guests don’t eat, I used to think was such a waste of resources and money, but now I can put all the food in the compost and it has a purpose!” 

As we walked around the yard of the Inn and Cory showed me their two rain barrels, the abundance of native plants (and only native plants), three french drains, the charging station for electric cars, two composting units, recycling, and his one trash can that he only needs to be taken out once every three weeks, I asked Cory how he became so knowledgeable about all of this green infrastructure. 

 “I have learned over time,” Cory said. “When I was 10 years old I got my first camera and went to houses close to where we lived and took pictures of the farmland, but then I found myself along this creek where there were tires, styrofoam, cups, etc. and I took pictures. I took enough pictures to fill an entire album! It was pretty goofy. I probably didn’t know enough to remove the trash but I knew enough to know that it wasn’t right to have trash there.”

After walking around the yard, Cory and I went into the house to meet his wife, Carol and his daughter, Josalyn. We sat at the dining room table divided by a wall and a door from the kitchen so the guests are separate from all the cooking prep going on in the kitchen. Cory brought me out a piece of the Inn’s famous, Creme Brulee French Toast and Carol brought me out a cup of locally sourced coffee from Chesapeake Roasters. “The eggs are from free range chickens and we make sure all of our ingredients are organic,” they explained to me as I savored every bite. 

It was at this dining room table where I got to know Cory’s personality of pure passion – where I’m sure many guests get the same experience. During the interview I kept bringing up how impressed I was by all of the ways Cory and Carol have reduced waste and provide such a green experience. When I asked if he enlightens his guests on all his environmental stewardship, he said, “I don’t do it for the publicity, I do it because I care. For example, see that big tree outside,” he said as we both looked out the window to the front yard, “That tree is over 120 years old. We look at it and we are caretakers for it. Someone is going to have it after us and isn’t it great that for the time that we are here we have responsibility for it?” 

I loved this response because not only is Cory looking to the future when it comes to taking care of our homes, but he appreciates having that responsibility. It is nice to know that there are people out there like Cory who are looking out for us. He doesn’t particularly like picking up trash on his walks around the neighborhood, but he does it because he cares. “That’s a living thing that we are responsible for while we are here and it’s going to be here long after we go. Same is true for the earth and the ocean and so on,” Cory said to me.

Cory’s passion for the environment goes beyond his work at the Inn. Carol explained to me that even on vacation he will be picking up trash on their walks and when they eat out Cory likes to “embarrass” other businesses if they don’t have recycling. “If we go to a place that doesn’t have recycling and we use a straw or anything – guess what? It’s coming home with us,” Carol told me. Not only is Cory making sure that him, his family, and the entire Inn are being as sustainable as possible, but he is also looking out for other businesses.

Before starting his own Inn, Cory worked in the hotel industry for “several decades,” he explains. Starting his own Inn allowed him to create these guest experiences with his own creative spin. Once I finished my french toast, Cory took me around the inside of the Inn to look at the rooms. In the biggest room, there is a little balcony with a table and two chairs. “That’s so cute!” I said. Cory responded with a story, “I love that balcony. Once when Carol and I were walking home from dinner we heard a couple on the balcony laughing and drinking wine and it brought tears to my eyes knowing that us starting this Inn is what created that special moment.”    

It was clear to me that Cory’s energy and enthusiasm run on passion. Passion for his Inn, protecting the planet that he feels responsible for, and for creating a positive experience for his guests.”I’m humbled to do these things. I’m not doing it for people to say ‘oh wow, he is doing great things.’ I hope by sharing this with whomever, that other people will say ‘Let’s try that’ if they can do it – then we can do it.”