Pet-Friendly Travel is Georgie Jet’s ongoing series exploring the best pet-friendly inns and resorts around with tips for things to do with your best friend along the way.
“I travel with Baci, a well-traveled and well-trained Chocolate Lab. Thankfully, I can leave her alone in a hotel room and she is quiet and well-behaved. She might find a comfy club chair to cozy up in, but that would be her worst offense. If your dog is not comfortable being alone, then leaving her home with a petsitter might be better.” — Georgie Jet
Trapp Family Lodge
The pet-friendly Trapp Family Lodge is like a vacation to the Austrian Alps, set high up on Luce Hill overlooking the town of Stowe, Vermont and the Worcester mountain range. Trapp family—as in “von Trapp,” the family name made famous by the movie The Sound of Music, the true tale of grandmother Maria and the Captain’s plight to get the family out of Nazi-occupied Austria. The singing family toured the US and settled in Stowe, Vermont. Their Trapp Family Lodge is now a resort unto its own and there is no need to go anywhere once you’ve arrived (although the restaurants and shops down in Stowe are impressive).
Baci, my husband Highroad Cam and I arrived mid-afternoon on a Sunday in early April and headed for the snowfields of the Wedding Meadow. We donned our snowshoes and were glad we did, as the March mega snowstorms had left patches of deep, but soft snow. Baci is 6 years old and loves to do “the mermaid” in deep snow, which resembles a kind of “butterfly” as performed by competitive swimmers. It tires her out and lets us go off to dinner knowing she has been exercised and will rest quietly in the room.
We opted to have the casual dinner at Trapp’s DeliBakery “Stammtisch,” a slight walk down the hill where they sell their homemade and renowned beer and a different family-style dinner every Wednesday through Sunday. This Sunday night Chicken Schnitzel, Brussels sprouts, and spiced mashed sweet potatoes were the featured items.
Cam had the Helles-style Trapp homebrew, which reminded him of our trip to Augsburg in October, and I had the Austrian pinot noir. The view from the DeliBakery is incredible. I wanted to sit outside even though it was still cool. We saw three Whitetail deer running across the field, and I felt like I was back in Zermatt, Switzerland—except the only Matterhorn in Stowe is a bar/restaurant!
We had room 235, which overlooked the front of the lodge and had two Adirondack chairs on the terrace. The bed was plush—pillow-top mattress, pure cotton sheets, down comforter, and pillows. Cam and I enjoyed the indoor heated lap pool and especially the outdoor hot tub with its view of the mountains.
The next morning we sat in the lounge (Baci was allowed to join us), while we enjoyed Chai tea and coffee and got excited about going Nordic skiing with Kristina von Trapp. I have skied my whole life on downhill skis but was a novice at Nordic skiing, and going downhill on those thin skis or “sticks” was intimidating. Kristina—an experienced ski instructor, calmly stressed pushing down with my arches as I swiftly snowplowed down the menacing hill.
I had a great time, and in an hour, a great workout. Baci loved running alongside us, and because it was the end of the season, she was allowed. Another place for your dog, any season, and just down the dirt road is Cottonbrook Preserve—an excellent alternative to skiing where you can snowshoe and hike with your best friend.
We had a great time and had lots of stories to tell as we headed back to CT, on the way stopping to get Harry, our catsitter, a case of the super-hot commodity and now a Vermont icon, the treasured “Heady Topper” IPA.
Stowe Mountain Lodge
Baci and I revisited Stowe Mountain Lodge the last week of March (here’s the story on my last visit). I love to take advantage of the last bit of winter, and 2014 proved to be a good one for snow lovers. My apologies to all of you who cringe when they hear the forecast for snow! In Connecticut (where I’m based), the tri-state news teams apologizes to the viewers for the upcoming “inconvenience,” but in Vermont, weather forecasters predict the upcoming storms with energy and excitement. What a difference! Another reason why I love Vermont!
There are some new rules in place around leaving dogs in the room at Stowe Mountain Lodge. It‘s now mandatory that dogs not be left in rooms without the owner. If you‘re planning on skiing (that’s what we’re here for!), a petsitter needs to be hired (at a rate of $15 an hour). Leaving them in the car is also strictly forbidden and mostly unsafe, especially in cool or hot temperatures.
I recently stayed at a pet-friendly inn without Baci, and was looking forward to sleeping in, but the dog downstairs was left in the room and started barking. Really annoying! So even though it was pricey, I appreciate the care given to other guests at Stowe Mountain Resort. I was able to have dinner in the upper lobby with Baci. The Hourglass Restaurant is the more casual dining option, and the waitress didn’t mind walking down the large staircase to serve us. The outstanding and mostly local offerings—like Fiddlehead IPA and Misty Knoll grilled chicken over beet and goat cheese salad—were a perfect ending to a busy day. Baci sat quietly at my side as I enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of the beautiful lodge.
I have to say traveling is great, but with your dog? What could be better?!
For more pet-friendly adventures, check out my new site dogandcatfriendlytravel.com.