Fall is that magical time of year when anything is possible. Gold and scarlet leaves blanket the forest, crisp air takes our breath away, and we somehow know the perfect pumpkin patch awaits our arrival. It’s the perfect time of year for scenic holiday pictures before the inevitable winter chill.
This year, pack up your pups and head to the hills to enjoy pet-friendly festivals and colorful fall foliage. Here’s a look at some of the country’s best Fido-friendly locales where you and your pet can officially bid farewell to summer.
Vermont: Dog Chapel, Dog Mountain
Nestled amongst basswood and maple trees, just a ball-toss away from St. Johnsbury, lies Dog Chapel. A large sign bids you welcome saying, “All Creeds, All Breeds, No Dogmas Allowed.” The canine-inspired church was built by the late, renowned artist Stephen Huneck, and has become a sanctuary for dog lovers around the world. Hand-carved pews with dog designs flow through the small chapel and stained glass windows feature designs any animal lover will adore.
Many visitors come to view a legacy of whimsical dog-centric art; others come to post a photo of their departed dogs in the small chapel. No matter their reason for visiting, the charming locale inspires all who arrive.
The chapel is nestled in the hills of Dog Mountain. The ponds and hiking trails cater to the dog-centric community and prove to be the most scenic area to observe the colors of fall. Even since the artist’s death, the sanctuary remains open for people to bring their pets and lap up the fresh mountain water as they observe the changing colors. There is no leash law on Dog Mountain and dogs are welcome to explore the miles of hiking trails or swim in the many dog ponds on the property.
My friend and fellow pet blogger, Carol Bryant just visited Dog Mountain and wrote a beautiful post about her family’s experience.
Nothing says fall like Oktoberfest. This year, plan on celebrating the event in the pet-friendly city of Portland where tax-free shopping and thirst-quenching festivals are how locals choose to celebrate their dogs.
Pack up your pooch and head out to Dogtoberfest, Portland’s biggest dog wash, where you can join over 500 dogs and nearly four times that many people. This event raises funds for the DoveLewis Blood Bank, which donates blood and plasma for over 500 animal transfusions each year.
The Lucky Lab Brewing Company, home of one of the finer American craft breweries, sponsors the event. From the Belgian Canine Style Triple (a blonde abbey ale) to the Black Lab Stout (an ultra-dark, rich stout), you’re sure to find a canine-inspired brew that will please even the saltiest dog.
Saturday, September 27, 2015, 11:00AM—5:00PM
Lucky Lab Brew Pub: 915 SE Hawthorne, Portland
Colorado: Rocky Mountain Adventures
If you’re looking for fewer people and more nature, consider heading to Aspen, Colorado and hiring Blazing Adventures to help craft the perfect vacation for you and your pet. Whether enjoying sunset dinners on a bluff overlooking a gorge, cutting through a crystalline lake on a paddleboard, or taking a peaceful hike through the millions of acres of Rocky Mountains wilderness, you can be assured an adventure awaits you and your dog in Colorado.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the mystical stands of Aspen trees. During summer, their green leaves provide shelter for the Columbine, Colorado’s state flower. But during fall, the leaves turn a golden color and the whispering sound they make in the wind is…magical.
Everywhere: A Brew with Your Pooch
Throughout the country, many restaurants keep their patios open during the crisp autumn months. So leash up your pup, head out to your favorite establishment and kick back with one of these canine-inspired brews:
- Lucky Labrador Brewing Company – Portland, OR. This craft brewery was named after the owner’s favorite Labrador Retriever and they use solar-powered equipment to make their sustainable brews. They claim to be “Paws Down. The Tastiest Beer in the Northwest.”
- Sea Dog Brewing – Topsham, ME. This brewery has three locations along the salty coastline of Maine. Their logo is inspired from the owners’ Great Pyrenees, who once served as apprentice brew master and figurehead, and still inspires tasty brews today.
- The Laughing Dog Brewery – Sandpoint, ID. This brewery gained their inspiration from their Yellow Lab, Ben. Ben’s offspring, Ruger, filled the big dog’s shoes after he passed, and now serves as the inspiration behind the new label, Devil Dog Imperial IPA.
- Big Dog’s Brews – Las Vegas, NV. Deep in the Las Vegas desert, a Black Labrador inspired this label, as well as the names of their ales, which include: Leg Lifter Light, Red Hydrant, Tailwagger Wheat and Black Lab Stout.
- Black Dog Ale – Bozeman, MT. This award-winning brew hails from Spanish Peaks Brewing Company. The beer was inspired by Chugs, the owner’s Black Labrador, and the big dog’s legacy lives on as the brewery owners donate a portion of their proceeds to local humane societies.