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  By: Melinda Underwood

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Cool your heels in Vermont this Summer - Four Fabulous Vacation Ideas for Traveling with Fido

If you need a purse made of laminated newspaper, some melted LP candy bowls, or a dog-bone picture frame, then Virginia and Jay Sokoloff’s store Mortimer Snodgrass in Montreal is the place to go. If you need a vacation with your dog, the Sokoloffs say, “Go to Vermont!”

Vermont has everything a dog could want: fields, streams, lakes, farms, woods, and the excitement of dog camps and other events that cater to canines. It’s a great place for humans too – with daily opportunities to fish, go antiquing, hike, boat, and enjoy the myriad pleasures of rural life up north. Even when the temperatures soar (and they do, even here) there is always the cool respite of a nearby stream or a green canopy of hemlocks. And there is, of course, Stephen Huneck’s Dog Mountain, which has become a mecca for dog-lovers all over the world (Urban Dog, Fall 2003).

For such a small state, Vermont has a lot to offer the visiting canine and companion. Thanks to the work of Trisha Blanchet, author of Dog Friendly New England, you can find hundreds of ideas to make your vacation fun for both of you. There are more than 100 pet friendly inns and hotels to choose from and many make a good home-away-from-home while you explore surrounding parts of the state.

“If you want to see the real Vermont, skip the fall leaf season and go in the spring,” said Blanchet. “You’ll have the place to yourself and you and your dog can explore to your heart’s content.” Just keep in mind that Vermont has five seasons, the fifth being mud season, which can make some dirt roads impassable. Summer may be less risky, road-wise!

When the Sokoloffs took their mixed-breed dog Mortimer on his first overnight vacation, they were a little nervous. Would he whine the whole way? Would he bite a border guard? Would he go crazy while the Sokoloffs enjoyed the museums, antique shops and restaurants in Vermont?

You’ll be relieved to know that the answers were no, no, and no. It’s partly because Virginia and Jay knew that Mortimer would be less stressed if he had his own bed, food and water dishes, and toys with him. And because they found an inn that also offered doggy day care – where he had his first taste of agility training and made many new friends.

“Mortimer got to play during the day and spend the night in the room with us,” said Virginia. “We got to do ‘grown up’ human things -- like shopping and eating, without worrying.”

We think that if Mortimer had such a good time, your dog will too. Here are four ideas about how to spend your time in Vermont this summer.

Four Fabulous Destinations

One of the charms about Vermont is that when you’re there, you feel a million miles away from everything else. Of course, that makes getting there a little more complicated. You can always drive. You will definitely need a car to get around. You can also fly (and rent a car). There is only one major airport in the state, in Burlington, but there are others in on every side.

We’ve highlighted the Lake Champlain Valley, Northeast Kingdom, and central and southern regions of Vermont with things to see and to do and where to stay. Recent prices are listed, but several also charge additional fees for dogs, so check in advance.

Hiking is popular throughout the state and there are plenty of trails, including the Long Trail, maintained by the Green Mountain Club ( Check for campsites, which are a very affordable way to see Vermont with your dog. Other ideas for summer events may be found in Yankee Dog (, a free quarterly newspaper out of southern Vermont.

Lake Champlain Valley

Places to see and things to do

2004 All Breed Dog Show and Obedience Trials, Essex Junction. July 10 – 11. Approximately 1000 dogs from all over the United States and Canada compete at this show. For more information see

Camp Gone to the Dogs, Stowe. Honey Loring’s infamous dog camps take place in southern Vermont as well as in Stowe. There is a midsummer and a fall session and costs range between $850-1,250 for the week. Participants can stay on-site or off and enjoy all the meals and events.

Shelburne Museum Goes to the Dogs!, Shelburne. September 12. For four years the museum has welcomed up to 1000 dogs to their annual party featuring a dog parade, dog games and contests, agility course, and rescue and guide dog demonstrations. See

For more ideas about what’s going on in this region, go to

Where to stay

Many of the commercial hotels in the Burlington area are pet friendly. If you want to get out of the city (well, “city” is a relative term; the population is under 100,000), try some of the islands or outlying areas.

Black Bear Inn, Bolton Valley. This inn offers an on-site kennel called the Bone and Biscuit Inn with both indoor and outdoor runs. $53-185.

By the Lake Motel, Grand Isle. Housekeeping efficiencies with lake access. $65. 802-372-6134.

Inn at Buck Hollow Farm, Fairfax. Set on 400 acres of horse fields, forests and lawns. “This inn is run by an antiques dealer,” said Trisha Blanchet. “It’s very isolated, but he serves a great breakfast!” $63-103.

Shore Acres Inn and Restaurant, North Hero. Most rooms have water views; there is tennis, swimming, golf, and croquet. $89-155.

Northeast Kingdom

Places to see and things to do

St. Albans Drive-in Theater, St. Albans. One of the last New England drive-ins and a great way to spend an evening with your pooch. 802-524-2468.

Stephen Huneck’s Annual Dog Party, Dog Mountain, St. Johnsbury, August 8, 1-4 p.m. Dedicated to dogs every year, this event provides live music, good food (including a hot dog barbeque for dogs), art, the opportunity to mix with new friends and with artist Stephen Huneck. Admission is free.

Where to stay

Inn at Maplemont, Barnet. Yuri and Cooper, two Bernese Mountain Dogs, are the hosts at this friendly inn. There are 43 acres of pastures for exploring and the Connecticut River for canoeing or kayaking. $90-110.

Quimby Country Lodge and Cottages, Averill. A 600-acres lakefront resort right on the Canadian border. $51-151.

Willoughby Vale Inn on Lake Willoughby, Orleans. Water views, luxury suites, cottages, on-site restaurant. Size limit to 50 pounds. $79-249.

Central Vermont

Places to see and things to do

Auction for the Animals, August. Woodstock is one of the most beautiful towns in Vermont and this benefit and walkathon (in May) are excellent ways to become familiar with the place while helping out the local shelter. Call 802-457-3080.

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tours. Route 100, Waterbury. A fun and educational guided factory tour. You’ll see a “moo-vie,” get a bird’s-eye view of the production room and sample flavors of the day. Open seven days, year-round. See

Four Dogs and a Wish, Middlebury. This store features funky hard-to-find products like the Sokoloff’s in Montreal.

Mutt Strutt, July. This annual Stowe fundraiser can’t compare with New Orleans’ Barkus Parade or Dog Days in the Park but it provides a flavor of New England at its canine finest. Call 802-888-5065 or visit

Stephen Huneck’s Annual Dog Party, Stephen Huneck Gallery, Woodstock, August 7, 1-4 p.m. See Northeast Kingdom description. Admission is free.

Where to stay

Champlain Valley Alpaca and Farmstay, Bridport. This working alpaca farm welcomes dogs (and other animals) and offers hiking, biking and participation in farm life.$55-255.

Paw House Inn, Rutland. This inn is centrally located, near Killington and Okemo mountains. This 18th century farmhouse is first class and offers a cozy bed for dog guests in each room. Best of all, Mario’s Playhouse provides quality dog daycare. and offers on-site dog care, so that enjoying the local arts, shops and restaurants is much easier. $135-155.

Southern Vermont

Places to see and things to do

Calvin Coolidge State Forest and Park, Plymouth. A vast protected forest that stretches for 16,000 miles through seven towns along scenic Route 100. 800-299-3071.

Camp Gone to the Dogs, Marlboro. $900-1,050 per week with housing, $800 without. The summer session fee covers meals, classes, obedience, agility, herding, flyball etc. Visit

Mount Equinox, Manchester. This is the highest peak in the Taconic Mountain Range and offers a six picnic areas at the 3,838 foot peak reached by driving or hiking. Don’t miss the granite monument to honor the founder’s first and only dog, Mr. Barbo, a Norwegian elkhound/Siberian huskey mix who was shot by a hunter in 1955.

Summer concerts on the Green in Manchester, Manchester. Friday nights from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Admission is free and dogs are welcome as long as they are quiet and on a leash. Settle in for a peaceful evening with a picnic, blanket and chairs. Call 800-362-4144.

Where to stay

Grafton Homestead, Grafton. Close to historic Grafton, this inn also offers a large suite with a private entrance. $100-122.

Inn at Quail Run, Wilmington. Dogs enjoy complimentary dog biscuits and run free on 15 acres. Companions enjoy gourmet breakfasts and spacious rooms. $90-200.

Knotty Pine Motel, Bennington. Dogs are welcome here, as long as they agree to follow the posted “petiquette” rules. $44-89.

Stone Hearth Inn, Chester. A historic inn located in Chester’s unusual and historic “stone house village.” $79-139.

Photographs by Cami Johnson,