If there’s one everyday struggle that unites people near and far, it’s probably getting overwhelmed at the grocery store. There are just too many options for literally everything, and making a choice can feel like the hardest thing you’ll have to do all day. The worst part is, no matter what you choose, it usually comes in plastic that goes straight to the trash once it’s empty…and shopping with Granny Guilt is never fun.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. And one store in Nashville is putting the brakes on plastic, full stop.
Welcome to The Good Fill, Nashville’s first plastic-free store for all your household needs, where “zero waste meets impeccable taste.” Step into the room and you’ll see stacks of incredible organic goods available for purchase in incredible waste-free form. The store provides a large assortment of those home products that everybody needs, without plastic that the planet doesn’t need: laundry detergent, dish soap, hair products and toothpaste tablets, just to name a few.
Customers bring their own bottles and jars (or purchase the reusable glass and aluminum options available at the store) to be filled with the sustainably-sourced goods available there. Products can also be ordered for delivery, coming in a refill pouch – 93% less plastic than a plastic bottle – and including a return package and postage to ship the pouch back to The Good Fill for cleaning and reuse. “With a circular economy, products are created, customers use it, and whatever materials are left can go back into production somehow,” said the store’s founder and owner, Megan Gill.
Three years ago, Megan Gill launched The Good Fill as a blog and online shop. The idea came after she started a nonprofit teaching cosmetology to human trafficking survivors in Costa Rica, where she realized how much waste her 11 years as a hairstylist had produced. “I was really overwhelmed by American consumerism when I moved back home. We shouldn’t be a throwaway society,” she explained. She started spending her free time researching low-waste initiatives in other cities and countries, and how she could reduce her own waste. Following the online shop, she began hosting pop-up shops around town, finally opening her own storefront. “It was a very slow start. I didn’t think this was something that would be successful this soon,” she said.
Despite the expenses of sustainably-sourced materials and in-house operated recycling, her sales have tripled since the store opened. It turns out there are a lot of people looking for plastic-free options – and not enough plastic-free options available for them. As one customer Alexandra Payne explained, The Good Fill makes buying natural products more convenient. “I [was] thinking of making my own laundry detergent and cleaning solutions…It just wasn’t something I had a ton of free time to do. With (The Good Fill) you can buy what you need and reuse the packaging.”
“It would be amazing if there were more stores like The Good Fill in Nashville,” Lindsey Kanes, another customer, remarked. “If something like The Good Fill had been in my neighborhood before, I would’ve saved so much plastic.”
These beautiful small towns in America are oozing with unique charm and personality that just can’t be ignored. These destinations invite you to discover the fresh, crisp mountain air and outdoor activities galore.
Telluride is located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It pops up in many best-of lists that feature beautiful small towns and it’s easy to see why. It was also the backdrop to Quentin Tarantino’s western mystery movie, The Hateful Eight. During the summer, the town hosts many festivals that attract tourists from around the globe.
Wallace is a charming historic village in the western United States that’s best known for its silver mining. Over 1.2 billion ounces of silver have been produced in the area since 1884, making it one of the most silver-rich areas in the world.
Local residents saved much of the town’s rich history back in the ’70s when Interstate 90 threatened to raze straight through the town. Thanks to them, many of the buildings are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and I90 runs over the town instead.
North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway is a beautiful small town that’s set in the mountains and forest — yet another idyllic getaway destination that has something to offer all year round. Mount Washington provides much of the excitement with skiing trips in winter and hiking excursions in spring and summer.
The surrounding forest is especially enjoyed during leaf-viewing trips from a vintage train in the fall and outlet shopping also attracts many keen shoppers all year round. North Conway is part quintessential New England charm, combined with all the convenience of new-world outlet bargains.
This next beautiful small town in the mountains takes us back to the USA once again, but this time to Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish is an authentic mountain town in the northern Rockies and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful mountains and incredible, unspoiled nature.
Originally known as Stumptown, Whitefish offers convenient and fast access to the hanging valleys and emerald peaks of Glacier National Park. Visitors enjoy hanging out at the resorts by day, followed by sampling some world-class cuisine, nightlife, arts, and culture by night.
Stowe lies in a valley with Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont. Although it’s a small town by most standards (population is approximately 4,500), it’s also officially the second largest town in the state (by area) at 72 square miles.
This 200-year-old town is home to the real Von Trapp family, made famous by The Sound of Music, but more recently it’s been famed for skiing. Stowe is one of the east coast’s top cross-country skiing destinations with over 200 miles of interconnected trails to discover.
Although Leavenworth is most definitely in America, what you’ll find here is undeniably more of a Bavarian-style village that’s best known for its fabulous Christmas lighting ceremonies and its German-inspired brew festival, Oktoberfest.
Situated in the Cascade Mountains in the center of Washington state, it draws visitors from all over the Pacific Northwest for its proximity to plenty of ski resorts and vineyards. Leavenworth is a heavenly tourist destination, but it’s also home to a vibrant and active community all year round.
Nestled in the Chugach Mountains is the beautiful small town of Girdwood, Alaska. Girdwood is located around 35 miles east of Anchorage, but it hasn’t always been a town in the mountains. Originally situated at sea level, the earliest site of Girdwood was sunk in a 1964 earthquake.
Girdwood is a perfect getaway resort-style town with one of Alaska’s nicest ski resorts, which boasts sapphire-blue skies all year round, even during its shortest winter days. It’s a popular destination for Alaskans and “outsiders” alike that enjoy the large variety of outdoor activities it offers.
Named after the abundance of Aspen trees that can be found in the area, Aspen in Colorado has the third-highest elevation of all of our beautiful small towns in the mountains. Aspen is a world-famous skiing destination with many gorgeous resorts like The Little Nell (pictured).
But like the other mountain towns featured here, Aspen has a lot more to offer than meets the eye — with a rich history and beautiful scenery that lends itself to activities such as fly-fishing and hot-air ballooning, and a jammed-packed diary of events to keep you going throughout the year.
Fairhope is a pretty mobile bay town that is located in Baldwin County, Alabama. This town has its own French Quarter and is home to esteemed Southern authors like Rick Bragg.
Fairhope is home to the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa which has topped the charts across America for its special golf courses and spa facilities. Tourists visiting this mystical place enjoy strolls at the Fairhope Municipal Pier and seeing the wetlands at the Weeks Bay Reserve.
The small town of Unalaska only has a population of around 4,524 people, which makes it the perfect spot to visit to get some peace and quiet. The remote town is also only reachable by plane or boat so it has become a great destination for large cruise liners.
Tourists flock to Unalaska for activities like whale watching, exploring WWI history at its famous museums, and hiking its frosty trails.
Winslow is a city in Navajo County and is known as a railroad stop. Winslow was once the most frequented city in northern Arizona. When train transportation slowed down after WWII, Winslow adapted and became a vital stop along Route 66.
The town is known for its La Posada Hotel with its beautiful rooms furnished with Mexican tiles and Indian-styled rugs. For outdoor activities, people go to the Homolovi State Park for hikes of archaeological sites.
New Castle, Delaware
New Castle is a town that reminds us all of the colonial past. Known for its cobblestone streets and tours of period churches and homes like the Dutch House and Amstel House, New Castle will take you on a trip down memory lane.
The town is home to just over 5000 people, so tourists can expect a quiet getaway experience here. New Castle is also known for its downtown courthouse as it’s part of the First State National Historical Park.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eureka Springs is a peaceful and undisturbed town located in the Ozark mountains. The area is known for its breathtaking preserved Victorian houses, such as the Palace Bath House and the Basin Park Hotel, which are built around natural springs (Hence the city’s name).
The town is also rich in history and has over 100 shops and art galleries to visit. For wildlife adventures, Turpentine Creep Wildlife Refuge is found south of Eureka Springs and is inhabited by giant bears and wildcats.
Known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, this town is known as a one-square-mile village located on California’s Monterey Peninsula. In fact, Carmel Beach is voted one of America’s top beach towns. The area is also visited for its fairytale-like cottages, luxurious boutique stores, and art galleries.
Tourists also flock to Carmel to try out their wineries and to see the historic Roman Catholic Church, Carmel Mission Basilica. The outdoor adventures found in Carmel consist of scuba diving, surfing, and bird watching.
Mancos is a statutory town in Montezuma County Colorado. The community has a tiny population of around 1,600 people. Ranching is the predominant way of life here as the town sits east of the Mesa Verde National Park. Its mountainous and ranchland location makes it a great place for outdoor adventurers.
Biking, hiking, and horse riding are encouraged activities to do in Mancos. The town is also home to more than 150 artists, so the town has a popular creative district that is worth a visit.
Essex is a quaint treasure of a historic seaport town located on the Connecticut River. It is often referred to as a “storybook village” because its Main Street is filled with restored sea captain houses, boutiques, and galleries.
When tourists visit Essex they are sure to check out the Connecticut River Museum which is found inside an old-fashioned boat warehouse – it’s the only one of its kind that is still located on the river.
Cumberland is a city in Maryland, known as the “Gateway to the West” for its important rails, roads, and canals. Today the town brings in bikers from all over who come to ride the trails of the Great Allegheny Passage and the Canal Towpath.
Cumberland is also a great shopping destination for its local artwork and is promoted by nature-lovers who come to visit the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
Crystal River, Florida
Crystal River is found on Florida’s Nature Coast and attracts visitors for all kinds of water sports from fishing to diving and boating. It also happens to be the only place in the United States where people can swim with manatees (“sea cows”) if accompanied by trained guides.
Tourists can also spot these sea animals when kayaking, paddleboarding, or walking along the Three Sisters Springs Boardwalk in Crystal River.
Alton is found where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This small river town is known as one of the best places in America to see bald eagles because of its limestone cliffs. At the start of every year, the town commences its Akton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival to kick off the eagle-watching season.
Interestingly enough, the town of Alton is known to be one of the most haunted in America. Tourists check out the McPike Mansion while visiting here as it’s reported that over 10 spirits frequent the home…
Cartersville is located about 50 minutes away from Atlanta and is known for its fine Western Art and dinosaur discoveries.
The two museums you have to visit while there are the Tellus Science Museum, known for its galleries of fossils and transportation technology, and the Booth Western Art Museum, the world’s largest permanent exhibition space for its art kind. After this, people are recommended to take pictures in front of Coca-Cola’s first painted wall ad.
Tourists flock from all over the world to the charming town of Hilo to see its beaches and park. The Punalu’u Black Sand Beach and Kahuku Unit of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park are both world-famous.
Downtown Hilo offers a different atmosphere with its diverse mixture of restaurants, shops, museums, and art galleries. Plus, many of Hilo’s wooden storefronts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lindsborg is nicknamed “Little Sweeden” because it was founded by Swedish immigrants. The town has a population of around 3,500 people. Lindsborg is located in the Smoky Valley region of north-central Kansas, off Highway I-135.
The downtown area is home to fine art galleries, specialty shops and is often filled with Swedish festivals. When visiting Lindsborg, expect to see some Swedish folk dancing and colorful folk-art like horses.
Paducah is a riverside town with a great culinary scene and creative industry. The town is located in McCracken County and is at the heart of the Four Rivers Basin in western Kentucky. Tourists can expect to see restaurants in repurposed historic buildings, galleries, workshops, and cultural events.
In 2019, Paducah celebrated its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City – one of only nine in America. For any yarn spinner fanatics, the National Quilt Museum is a top tourist attraction in downtown Paducah.
Ponchatoula is the second biggest city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana and the population sits at around 7,195 people. Interestingly, the name of the city is from a Choctaw Indian word meaning “hair to hang”, this refers to the moss that hangs onto the local trees here.
Every spring, the town celebrates its Strawberry Festival held in its historic Memorial Park. Ponchatoula is nicknamed “America’s Antique City” because of its downtown shopping scene which features antique stores, handcrafted items, and art galleries.
Kennebunkport is a coastal town that was once a shipbuilding center located in southern Maine. Kennebunkport became a summer getaway spot in the late 1800s as wealthy vacationers would frequent the hotels and mansions along its beaches.
The famous beaches here are called the Goose Rocks Beach and the smaller Arundel Beach. Tourists can also enjoy visiting Dock Square, which features Kennebunkport’s bustling shopping area.