doggie destinations: new england

When it comes to my style of pet parenting, I’m known as “The Spoiler.”  My dogs know exactly how to manipulate me into getting exactly what they want– an extra walk, treats before bedtime, filet mignon for dinner…ok, just kidding, that was only twice…a week.

My boyfriend and I love to travel, and one of the hardest parts of jet setting around the country is seeing Max and Reggie’s dejected faces when they realize we’re packing up the suitcases. Oh, trust me they have it good when were gone– they are either watched by their doting grandparents or spend time in the luxurious resort of a kennel that offers long walks on the beach and daily massages.  But that still doesn’t stop me from calling every day and making baby voices over the phone in hopes that they hear me.

For our excursion this year, we decided to throw the dogs in the car (aka meticulously put blankets and pillows in the backseat, set up water bowls, pack 3 bags of essentials and ask them if Snoop Dogg radio was their preference) and head to New England for a 5 day getaway.

First stop, Stowe, Vermont.  My moms best friend lives in Stowe, so we had a built in tour guide to help us see the sights!  Stowe has a beautiful approximately 5 mile paved walking path perfect for pooches.  Your pet must be leashed, but there is a section where you can let your dog run free in the meadows. The path is located directly in town and has multiple parking sites with entrances.  There are also some cute covered bridges for photo ops :).

Since we were in Vermont in the early part of the season, we took the dogs with us to the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, about 20 minutes south.  Typically the facility is not dog friendly, and you can’t bring dogs inside the tour, but on a rainy day in June they didn’t raise any concerns.  They sell dog cookies and travel water bowls in the gift shop, and you can put your pets in a situation like this:

The next day we drove across the border into New Hampshire, staying at our first pet-friendly Air BnB.  It’s so nice to have so much space when you’re traveling with two dogs, and they seemed more comfortable than in a cramped hotel room.  I’ve recently read some negative press about Air BnB (mostly from hotel chains who are pissed their accommodations don’t include your own kitchen and fresh baked cookies), and just want to say I fully promote staying with their hosts.  Reggie and Max agree.  Well, Reggie agrees, Craig and Max are making out…

We decided to check out the Mount Washington Auto Road, a $30 drive up a windy, scary mountain.  Surprisingly for us, the top of the mountain was closed due to fog, so we could only drive up to the tree line.  So, sorry I can’t tell you what was at the top.  There aren’t a ton of walking paths suitable for dogs unless they are accustomed to hiking and large rocks, but we managed to take them on a few short treks.

The views are amazing, but be sure to check the weather on their website before planning your trip in order to avoid the fog. And to sweeten the deal, you get this really cool bumper sticker to slap on your car.

 And yes I saw an excited tourist jump out at the top, put it on their car and snap an Instagram immediately.  img_0196

Our final leg of the trip took us to Acadia National Park, located near Bar Harbor Maine.  We stayed in another pet friendly Air BnB, and this host greeted us with the most delicious cake I’ve ever had.  ABNB: 6, Hotels: -10.  Acadia is very pet friendly, and offers several walking options for animals.  We opted for the Jordan Pond Loop, a 4ish mile path around the gorgeous body of water, ending at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant.  One side of the path is perfect for pets, while the other side proves to be a little bit of a challenge scaling some rocks and walking on a plank bridge for a majority of the way.  Reggie and Max did just fine, and Max even had a little injury on his paw (more on this later in my Travel Tips).  Don’t worry, he got plenty of attention from Every. Single. Person. on that trail.  He took some time to contemplate the mysteries of life and soak up the salty air at Thunder Hole, while Reggie worried about what was for dinner.

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After so much exercise, we were all starving and decided to check out the aDoRaBLe town of Bar Harbor.  After doing some research on the pet friendly restaurants, we settled on Stewman’s Downtown Lobster Pound, which is right on the water in the heart of the town.  The tables on the deck are nicely spread out, so even if there are a ton of dogs there, you can keep yours out of the commotion.  They’re super friendly about serving customers with dogs, bringing water bowls and accommodating when you order a lobster roll for your dog.  (Side note: Reggie DNGAF about that damn lobster roll.  He would have much preferred a burger, but I got a little carried away.  Sue me for being a doting mother.)  We walked around the town afterwards, and everyone kept commenting on how gorgeous my dogs are.  My favorite was a guy who came up and stared at Reggie, said HELLUVA DOG! and just walked away.  I’m glad you feel that way sir, so do I.

My dogs are pretty good travelers, and have been taking long car rides since they were puppies.  However, on this trip I realized that traveling with your pets is a big undertaking, especially when you’re driving from one place to another.

Pet Travel Tips:

  1. Always travel with a leash, collar and identification tags.  Both of my dogs are pretty well trained, and I trust that they wouldn’t run away.  But it’s still important to take preventative measures by always keeping them in sight on a leash, and using a collar with identifying information.  While you’re at it, get your dogs microchipped.  It doesn’t work like a GPS, but if your pet happens to get lost and someone finds them, a registered microchip will help them find their way home.
  2. Create a pet first aid kit.  Max had a tiny little cut on his paw that he irritated by licking, and it turned him into Sir Limps A Lot.  I had literally brought nothing with me, so I ran to WalMart and bought Neosporin, Benadryl, gauze, medical tape and toddler socks.  The vet said I did a good job doctoring his foot, and it made me realize I should have supplies like that on hand in case something had happened while we were out hiking.  The ASPCA has suggestions for what to keep in a kit here.
  3. Look up local vets.  Thankfully Max’s wittle paw was fine, but I got to thinking about how important it would be to know the nearby vets and animal hospitals in the areas we were staying in.  With the internet, anything is possible, so make that a part of your pre-travel research.  Also keep your own vet’s information on hand in case they need to transfer records.
  4. Plan around your pet.  If I could take my dogs everywhere, I would.  I love that there are more and more pet friendly options, but obviously you won’t be able to take your dog in everywhere.  If you’re taking your dog on vacation, don’t leave him at the place you’re staying all day, take him out on the town!  In our five day trip, we only left the dogs by themselves one time for about 2 hours to go grab dinner in a really tiny town with no pet friendly options.  Remember, your dog is probably confused as to why he’s not in his home, don’t stress him out more by leaving him the whole time.
  5. Pack for perfection.  Make a list of everything your pet will need– you don’t have to go overboard like me, but it is a good idea to pack food, travel bowls, treats and a favorite toy.  Extras like blankets from home and a collapsible crate will make your pet feel comfortable in a new environment.  And of COURSE the lobster bibs are a must…img_0273
    Happy Tails !

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