A lot of our dogcations are taken in warmer months, but my husband noted that many enjoyable things could still be done (and be fun) in the winter. Our winter dogcation evolved after careful research. I could see it clearly – a New-England winter wonderland. We stayed almost a week and there was a plethora of wintry activities. (Even with little to no snow!)
Where We Stayed: The Paw House Inn West Rutland, Vermont
Now first let me focus a bit on The Paw House Inn itself, because any Bed & Breakfast whose tagline is about catering to dogs (and charges $10 a night if you DON’T bring a dog) certainly deserves some attention.
I think it’s worth noting that before our stay, The Paw House Inn required we send copies of Jaxson’s current vaccinations and complete a doggie profile, which I found to be a wise move. On a previous dogcation at another pet-friendly B&B, we were not required to provide this information. While we were there Jaxson got attacked and bitten by another dog. Not knowing if this dog was up to date on his shots only made a bad situation worse.
Upon arriving and entering the communal area of The Paw House Inn, we noticed a personalized sign that read “Welcome Jaxson.” It was a nice touch.
The Inn itself is replete with dog paraphernalia top to bottom. Framed pictures of dogs encompass the walls and signs about tolerating people but welcoming dogs hang freely. Stanley, the innkeeper’s dog, greets you and follows you everywhere while on your tour of the inn. Our room was very similarly decked out: doggie knick knacks throughout; a dog bed, towel and blanket for Jaxson; and a journal where guests can hand write about their experiences during their stay. It was cute and quaint.
Our first complimentary breakfast consisted of an omelet, waffles, and fruit, all with local Vermont ingredients. It was delicious. A different breakfast is served daily, and we were allowed to bring Jaxson with us to this meal. In summer months I was told breakfast is served on the outdoor patio but in the winter, within a small kitchen area indoors.
I was glad Jaxson was allowed to accompany us, but it was just too close for comfort. And by that I mean Jaxson is the sweetest soul, but he’s also a hound dog. A hound dog who turns into a territorial gremlin around food and other dogs. As we spent more time deterring Jaxson’s guttural growls than enjoying the breakfast itself, we felt it was in everyone’s best interest to eat elsewhere and Mitch (The Innkeeper) was happy to make us breakfast to go. *If your dog isn’t territorial about food around other dogs, you might very well choose to do dine in the kitchen with the other human and canine guests.
There’s a cute agility course out in the back of the property within a gated area.
Jaxson definitely enjoyed being off leash here and although we had to coerce him into trying a few of the challenges (well what senior citizen wouldn’t need some coaxing into contraptions made for the youngsters), I definitely think he enjoyed it. The space isn’t huge, but it did its job.
Despite the wonderful dog-friendly accommodation, dogs cannot be left alone in your room due to the fact there had been some previous property damage by other guests. So there’s a facility onsite called “The Playhouse” which is essentially a small shed/kennel where you can leave your dog if you want to do something without your pup. It’s very basic: concrete floors with units separated by chain-link fence. The facility is open 24/7 but only staffed for during the daytime; there is no security in the evenings.
My senior, spoiled beagle thinks himself one of the immediate family. He is never boarded or left alone in hotel rooms on vacations. He who has a Barbour bed at home AND for the car, he’s spoiled. Now remember, the whole point of our dogcations are that Jaxson can be with us the entire time. Thus we had no use for the The Playhouse.
Many people would leave their dogs in The Playhouse at night while they’d venture out to dinner. I would NOT feel safe leaving my dog in an unlocked, unstaffed cabin. Literally, “Joe Scary Schmo” could just walk in and take your dog. Maybe I’m cynical (I am from New Jersey), but erring on the side of caution means my dog is here with me today. I would only feel comfortable with the kennel during the day while staffed. It’s a personal choice.
So if we never left Jaxson in The Playhouse- how did we go out to eat dinner? Read the second part of our Dogcation: Vermont series, Dogcation: Vermont, Dog-Friendly Activities.
Amy Molnar Schwebel is a New Jersey native who works in the publishing industry in marketing by day. When not working she enjoys travel, fine dining, live music, and her number one passion, spending time with her pooch Jaxson. Amy also revels in writing the Dogcation series for Bridle & Bone, hoping to inform other pet parents that the world is your oyster when it comes to journeying with your dog.