doggie destinations: virginia is for (dog) lovers

When I realized that my babies aka dogs were not going to be in my wedding, let alone at a kennel (albeit a really nice doggie spa called Wagsworth Manor…), I immediately thought, “I need to plan a vacation for them.”  They’ve been to North Carolina, our Delaware beaches, Cape May, New Jersey, and lots of places in New England, so obviously their tastes are well developed when it comes to travel.  Max is also getting a little older, needs more of a senior citizen getaway, like a laid back cruise or something.  We decided in honor of America’s birthday, we would travel to Virginia and West Virginia, and explore some places that were just a hop, skip and jump away from Delaware.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah is one of the most pet friendly parks, allowing dogs on all but 8 trails. We opted to take the Rose River Trail, which is a relatively flat 3 mile loop that even my 12 year old was okay traversing.  Even on the 4th of July, it was relatively quiet and not packed with millions of people, making it an enjoyable dog-friendly destination.

For the most part, we drove them in comfortable air conditioning through Skyline Drive, which has multiple pull outs to admire the sprawling views.  It was created to be a major highlight of the park, and I highly suggest allowing 3 hours while exploring.

Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park

After a traumatic incident where Craig’s car couldn’t climb the gravely mountain driveway to our original Air BnB (TIP: Check to see if you need 4-wheel drive if you’re staying around the area, there are a ton of old vertical logging roads masquerading as driveways), we settled in at the best Air BnB ever which the dogs thoroughly enjoyed.  The next day, we drove about an hour and a half north to visit the historic town of Harper’s Ferry.

One thing to know about Harper’s Ferry is that everything closes early.  Like 5:00 pm early.  On busy days, you can park in the Vistor’s Center and walk your dog about a mile into the actual town and park (or take the shuttle bus if you are pet-free).  We were hangry AF and all of the restaurants were closing, so we didn’t spend nearly as much time there as we wanted to, but it is the cutest, most interesting small town/national historic site I’ve ever visited.  This blog gives a lot of great suggestions, and there are a ton of pet friendly dining options (if you get there before closing).  I highly suggest stopping in to True Treats Historic Candy, a small shop that specializes in unique sweets.  Reggie and Max were allowed to browse for their favorites, and I got to meet the owner who is completly cool and eccentric.  We headed to a nearby restaurant called The Anvil, where I followed our waitress’s photography Instagram account and Reggie and Max enjoyed some relaxation from all the walking and driving.

Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

Since we needed an Air BnB last minute due to the aforementioned car disaster, we had to book about an hour north of Harper’s Ferry in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, the home of everyone’s favorite president, James Buchanan.  Although a cute little town with a few bars and restaurants, it was completely dead on the 4th of July (I saw one firework, and it was maybe a sparkler…).  Everything was super historic though, and our host was amazingly accommodating.  We walked around and read all of the historic landmarkers, and then spent all night watching a series called “How the States Got Their Shapes”.  And now I know I’m officially old.

As we made our way back to Delaware through Lancaster, we decided to stop and get our marriage license, which was fun since the dogs won’t get to be a part of our ceremony.  We wished good luck to the Amish couple behind us, and headed home from our yearly dog vacation, as Reggie and Max dreamt sweet wilderness dreams in the back seat.

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