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March 2005

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Wine Country Featured Destination

Traveling with My Best Friend — Pet-Friendly Accommodations and Cab-Bone-Nay Too!

If you are dog lover, then you surely know a dog who loves a travel adventure.  Those of us sightseeing with our canine and other friends from the animal kingdom used to do so as second class citizens…not any more!  Today, nearly two-thirds of California accommodations allow pets, so you and your friend don’t have to accept the run of the mill.  Many spectacular accommodations throughout WineCountry are ready to welcome you, often with special services and treats for your four-legged friend. 

While there are typically nominal fees for the four extra legs, they are usually comparable to biped rates.  As with humans, these accommodations welcome only “well-behaved” animals, and many require leashes. 

So next time, grab the leash and go!  Here are some suggestions for special places to enjoy wherever you and your pooch may wander in California’s WineCountry.

Charles M. Schulz MuseumWith consummate Napa hospitality, the Napa River Inn takes the cake, or the bone as the case may be, offering the Very Important Pet (VIP) program.  This unique pet package assures that you, your family and your pet will enjoy your vacation time together.  A custom-designed pet blanket, logo place mat, and Napa Valley-based Cab-Bone-Nay dog biscuits (made with wine of course) will help everyone enjoy their stay.  Your pet also receives a welcome letter from the hotel General Manager with a list of pet support services, including dog walkers, an on-call veterinarian and souvenirs. 

For a more casual Napa destination, the Napa Valley Redwood Inn is a modest, very pet friendly motel, offering treats at the front desk for your dog.  They allow all pets, though horses must be confined to their trailers.

Located on 20 acres in Up-Valley Napa, your dog will have plenty of space to enjoy and exercise at the Meadowlark Inn.  Well-behaved dogs are welcomed in any of the rooms with prior approval.  Many rooms have French doors opening to private decks or flagstone terraces that are convenient for the dogs to be outside.  There is also usually someone in nearby Calistoga who is available to come to Meadowlark to dogsit.

Of course, vacation rentals are an obvious choice for canine comfort.  For the ultimate long-term stay in Napa, try a fabulous, high-end WineCountry estate...worthy of a movie star like Benji!  Linda at Ritchie-Hallanan Real Estate is ready to help you and your pooch with a property fit for a champion!

Is your doggie going wine tasting with you?  The Dutch Henry Winery in Calistoga has been entertaining dogs for many years, while the wines and estate olive oils are sure to delight you.  Only the Tasting Room is off-limits, and a leash is required, but the Airedale terriers here will probably welcome you as enthusiastically as the Winemaker does. 

In Sonoma County, the California Welcome Center in Railroad Square Santa Rosa is ready to greet you and your pet too!  They offer a bowl of water and dog biscuits to canine visitors, record their names, and will even take a digital photo.  You might also want to go check out the Christo Wrapped Snoopy House on permanent display at the nearby Charles M. Schulz Museum.

Fife's Guest RanchTo the west along the awesome Russian River, at Fife’s Guest Ranch you and your pup can frolic amongst 15 idyllic acres of mown grassy meadows, towering redwoods and direct river access from the private beach.  Fife’s offers a sense of history, quaintness and like the area, caters to a diverse clientele.  And while the town of Guerneville is known as “the wild side of wine country”, you can enjoy it at any speed you like…all by foot.  While weekends at the resort can be rather busy in the summer, spring and fall travelers may enjoy a glorious retreat to perfect quietude and weather.  The full-service restaurant, bar and selection of quality local wines assure a fine experience on the property as well.

In the town of Sonoma, Casita Carneros brings the dogs running in again and again.  In fact, almost 1/2 of their business has gone to the dogs!  Your pet is welcome to share the spacious backyard and pool, where you will be the only guests.  They can furnish large items that you are unable to travel with, such as crates and doggie beds.  Importantly, the acre is cross-fenced and double-fenced to ensure you and your pet a private, secure, and trouble-free vacation.  You will also be centrally located to experience whatever in the Sonoma and Napa areas appeals to you.

If your canine companion is in need of a little discipline, you might book your dog at Dairydell Finishing School for Dogs for a Whine Country Training Vacation.  Drop your pup off in Petaluma on a Saturday and spend the next three days enjoying the bounty of Northern California’s wine country.  You will enjoy carefree days while your dog is taught manners and obedience.  Then come back for a private wine tasting and demonstration of your dog’s new skills, and begin daily classes.  By Saturday, your dog will be ready to graduate, and you’re ready to either continue your holiday or begin your trip home with your transformed companion!

Nearby, the Doubletree Hotel, Sonoma Wine Country is a fine host for you and your dog. The hotel is known for their outstanding service reputation and they have gained quite a following with discerning dogs from around the world.  Convenient accommodations are set aside for your lovable canine within close proximity to the dog run.  Your pooch will thank you.

Moving north to Mendocino County, just two miles south of the quaint town of Mendocino is the Little River Inn.  Famous for its family hospitality since 1939, it offers a room with a view and a comfortable spot for Rover too.  Picturesque, dramatic ocean views will please you while Fido sniffs the fresh air, perhaps at the hearth in one of the comfortable Fireplace Rooms.  Neighboring Van Damme State Park and Beach beckons, and you can come back to snuggles and room service if you like.  Pet guests are pampered with special sheets to cover the furniture, towels for muddy coats, a food-and-water dish, waste bags, and a welcome basket of animal treats.  The house cat, Abbey Rose, will welcome four-legged visitors if she is in the mood!

Forge in the Forest RestaurantWithin view of Mendocino, at the exquisite Stanford Inn & Spa, Innkeepers Jeff and Joan Stanford are friends to both animals and humans.  At this terrific bed and breakfast resort, you will enjoy the panoramic ocean views and your pet can socialize with the locals at the warm hearth in the lobby.  This full-service property offers fine organic, animal-friendly vegetarian dining at Raven’s restaurant, a spa, and they also provide bikes or kayaks.

If you wish to stay and play inland in the nearby Anderson Valley, the Boonville Hotel welcomes dogs in their Bungalow and Studio.  The Sheep Dung Estates in Yorkville offers a more isolated experience off the grid and away from the television.  Spanning more than 300 acres, four private cottages, a hiking trail and swimming pond are sure to please, as the countryside offers so many opportunities not found in city parks.  Reflecting the owner’s true canine passion, extensive areas are mown around the cottages to minimize foxtails, and dog-care essentials are stocked in the closet.

In Monterey County, Carmel is a doggie’s vacation dream-come-true, as the area has warmly welcomed the K-9 set for many years.  The Carmel Valley Lodge is an ideal treat, where your dog might curl up in front of the fire in one of the fireplace cottages or suites after a busy day.  The friendly staff loves animals, and there's plenty of room for running around.  And, even better than a good squirrel chase, they feature a host of special amenities for everyone in your family, including your dog.  If you wish you can take some time out from wine tasting and visit dog-friendly Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of the only beaches in California on which dogs can run leash free.  For lunch, the interesting Forge in the Forest restaurant will not only delight the humans in your party, but also has a special patio area for your pal.  Your dog will be in on the meal too with his own Menu…we can hear it now, “Sir, would you like the Kibble Plate, or perhaps the Quarter Hounder?”  For the ultimate treat, the Good Dog enjoys 6 ounces of grilled New York steak, and any tail wagger gets a Milk bone for free.

Further down California's Central Coast, Pacifica Hotel Company operates three hotels in Pismo Beach, one in San Luis Obispo and one in Santa Barbara, all catering to pet stays.  The Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo hotels offer wine tour packages too! 

Situated in the stunning oceanside setting of Pismo Beach, Cottage Inn by the Sea features country decor, wonderful views, an inviting sundeck, pool and spa right on the bluffs overlooking a dramatic stretch of the Pacific.  The Sandcastle Inn offers sweeping panoramas of California's Central Coast.  You can enjoy the view from many of the guest rooms, spa and sundecks, while whitewashed exteriors and contemporary design provide understated elegance with the romance of a Mediterranean villa.  Situated on the bluffs above Pismo Beach, the beautiful Spyglass Inn offers magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean.  Three terrific choices here!

In San Luis Obispo, Holiday Inn Express is centrally located to all of the exciting features of the central coast, as well as historic downtown San Luis Obispo.

Finally, Pacifica Suites, a Santa Barbara Hotel, is nestled in a historic grove of exotic plants and trees, adjacent to the beautifully restored Sexton House, an 1880's architectural landmark.  It's hard to believe that an environment so tranquil can also be so conveniently located and pet-friendly too!


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