Fido and Foliage: The Perfect Fall Getaway for You and Your Dog

Autumn is here, and arriving with it is the chance for people and their pets from across the United States to visit hundreds of foliage destinations. The opportunity to traverse through brilliantly colored leafy terrain with your pet happens just once a year. During foliage, nature loving pet owners flock to color-rich regions for a fireworks show that only this season can produce.

Traveling with a pet can be a challenge, to say the least, but it is possible, and will make for a trip you’ll never forget.

The first thing to consider when planning a pet friendly foliage trip is where to anchor your travels. Whether you live within driving distance of falling leaves or will be flying, select a centrally located city and branch out from there. This will afford ample opportunity to experience different trails. A clearly defined home base is important to allow for adequate rest between hikes for you and your pet. Be sure to ask about weight restrictions and fees when you make lodging reservations.

On the Foliage Report website (http://www.foliagenetwork.com) visitors can view web cams from at least a dozen locales. And, the site posts leaf drop and foliage reports – important information for booking – on Wednesdays and Saturdays. October marks the beginning of the best viewing.

I’ve listed a few of my favorite pet-friendly fall destinations to help you get the most out of traveling with your pet. Enjoy!

Best Bang for Your Buck

Destination: The Blue Ridge Parkway
Access City: Roanoke, Virginia
Key Points: Mileposts 5.8, 20

Just try to resist the winding roads and stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway for hot apple cider and hoop cheese, picturesque waterfalls and broad trails. The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the world’s most traveled scenic drives. The 469-mile Parkway connects the Shenandoah National Park (Skyline Drive) to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Roanoke, Virginia is the quintessential mountain town to call home base during foliage. This culinary mini-city with a host of pet friendly properties offers multiple roads that offer direct access to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

At Milepost 5.8, the awe-inspiring Humpback Rocks jut upwards creating a scenic end to hiking trails appropriate for all levels. The White Rock Fall trail at Milepost 20 follows a stream to a small waterfall, perfect for you and your dog to explore together, not to mention a great photo-op. For a guide to Blue Ridge Parkway Mileposts and degree of trail hiking difficulty, visit http://www.blueridgeparkway.org and select “hiking trails” in the right hand margin of the page.

Chewy.com travel treat suggestion: EVO Wild Cravings red meat formula dog treats

Lodging:
Holiday Inn Roanoke Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017
540-362-4500
http://www.holidayinn.com/roavalleyview

Fall Festivals

Destination: Northern Virginia
Access City: Alexandria, Virginia
Key Points: Fairfax, Waterford, Fredericksburg and Mount Vernon

If hiking or extensive walks aren’t your preferred activity, consider attending a fall festival with your pet. Fall festivals usually mean minimal walking is required, but the fun is limitless. Northern Virginia provides one of the most beautiful backdrops for watching the changing of the leaves in the eastern United States, and is home to a plethora of outdoor fall festivals.

Families flock to the Fall Festival in Old Town Historic Fairfax Virginia on Oct. 13 in Fairfax, Virginia, where they enjoy hundreds of juried crafters, rides for the kids, music and food. A few miles south in Fredericksburg, the Fredericksburg Arts & Craft Festival (Oct. 13-14) features hand-crafted artisan work including baskets, ceramics, fine art, gourmet food, jewelry, music, candles, paintings, photography, pottery, woodworking and much more. The Bowling Green Harvest Festival on Oct. 20 features 175 vendors along Main Street with music and other performances. And don’t forget the Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon on Oct. 27-28 – with wagon rides, wheat treading, a straw bale maze, and early-American games and music. Kids can make a cornhusk doll and cook over an open fire, and there are lots of trails for your four-legged friend.

Lodging doesn’t get any more luxurious or any tastier for people and their pets at über pet-friendly Morrison House hotel, in old town Alexandria, Virginia. Pets receive a doggie bag and water dishes – plus they get to brag to all of their friends at doggie day care that they stayed at the Morrison House.

Chewy.com travel treat suggestion: Pure Rewards grain-free chicken and lamb jerky dog treats

Lodging:
Morrison House
116 S. Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-838-8000
http://www.morrisonhouse.com/

Dog Bed (and Breakfast)

Destination: New Hampshire
Access City: Tamworth, New Hampshire
Key Points: Mount Washington Valley villages and trails

It’s worth a trip to New Hampshire just to stay at The Lazy Dog Inn in Tamworth. Fido will agree – The Lazy Dog’s accolades include being voted "Most Pet Friendly B&B in North America.” It oozes old school New England comfort. The Inn is located within a 160-year-old farmhouse – and your hosts will be none other than Meghan and Molly, two golden retrievers. Did I mention the unspeakably picturesque hiking and walking trails? This is where Fido and foliage marry to make the perfect fall getaway.

About an hour north of Tamworth, the cottages at The Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location, New Hampshire beckon. This granite manor house dates back to 1862, but if the history and pet friendly accommodations aren’t enough reason to stay here, the wood-burning fireplaces against the backdrop of the White Mountain National Forest should be. Other perks? Multi-course dinners and full country breakfasts for humans, lots of walking around the pond and gardens with Fido, and even more trails nearby for foliage viewing and unlimited sniffing.

Chewy.com travel treat suggestion: Pumpkin and cranberry flavor dog treats

Lodging:
The Lazy Dog Inn, Tamworth, New Hampshire in Chocorua Village
201 White Mountain Highway
Tamworth, NH 03817
603-323-8350
http://www.lazydoginn.com/

The Notchland Inn, Hart’s Location, New Hampshire
2 Morey Road
Hart’s Location, NH 03812
603-374-6131
http://www.notchland.com/

Spicy Foliage

Destination: Santa Fe National Forest
Access City: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Key Points: Sangre De Cristo Mountains and Santa Fe National Forest

Santa Fe isn’t just the home of hundreds of dishes and drinks that feature the mighty Chimayo chile pepper - this culinary Mecca is also where pets and the owners they love can traverse the Santa Fe National Forest. The most picturesque home base for you and your pet is the Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe, which offers a doggie bag with treats for their canine guests. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are home to glorious Aspens that change colors – but the best and least traveled places is the Fourth of July Canyon in the Manzano Mountains, just south of historic Albuquerque. If you’re traveling to this area of New Mexico from Oct. 6-14, you might catch a glimpse of the International Balloon Fiesta.

Chewy.com travel treat suggestion: “Pup Corn” chicken flavored dog treats

Lodging:
Hotel St. Francis - Santa Fe, New Mexico (NM)
210 Don Gaspar Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
505-983-5700
http://www.hotelstfrancis.com/

If an extended weekend getaway isn’t in the cards this fall, enjoy the season at home with your pup. It’s amazing how a Pumpkin Spice latte (for you) and an extra-long walk (for the four-legger) on a brisk afternoon can bring such happiness to you and your friend.

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