Want to get away from it all--except from your dog? You're in luck.
The farther out from the urban blur you go, the easier it is to find canine-friendly quarters. While swank hotels might turn away the most pedigreed of four-legged guests, we found a surprising number of rustic country inns and rural bed-and-breakfasts that go to great lengths to include guests' dogs into weekend escape plans. The following establishments are just a few of the top picks in our new guidebook, "The Washington, D.C.-Baltimore Dog Lover's Companion" (Foghorn Press, $17.95). All of them cheerfully encourage guests to bring on the dogs--asking only to be notified in advance.
Bluebird on the Mountain, Cascade
Catoctin Mountain breezes and vistas are what you and your well-behaved dog will find here. Innkeeper Edie Sulivae says that dogs are welcome, but expects them not to bother other guests. Located about eight miles from Thurmont, the inn is a great base for exploring dog-friendly Catoctin National Park nearby, as well as the Appalachian Trail and the Gettysburg and Antietam battlefields. Or just go out hunting for morels, visit an apple festival, sit on the big old-fashioned porch of the circa-1900 manor house or relax by a fire on a chilly day. You can even get a massage if you reserve it two days in advance. Rates range from $95 to $115 a night.
14700 Eyler Avenue, Cascade, Md. 21719, 301-241-4161.
The River Inn at Rolph's Wharf, Chestertown
Sandy Strouse is happy to have dogs come visit her five acres on the Chester River. "We even have an outdoor beach bar and restaurant so you could sit out there with your dog," she says. The Victorian farmhouse was built in the 1830s and is all redone with six guest rooms, each with a private bath. If dipping in the river seems too treacherous, there's a swimming pool, tennis courts, nearby antique shops, bike rentals and hiking trails--all within a mile of the inn. Historic Chestertown is a two-mile jog away. Rates range from $80 to $115; a continental breakfast is included.
1008 Rolph's Wharf Road, Chestertown, Md. 21620, 410-778-6347.
Anderson Cottage Bed & Breakfast, Warm Springs
"Hammocks and rocking chairs typify the place," says Jean Randolph Bruns, the gracious innkeeper of this 200-year-old log tavern. "Golden retrievers are the best guests," she adds, although she has met some very nice border collies. Bruns will steer you toward staying in the cottage, a separate building with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. And she'll ask that you cage your dog if you go out, say, to the warm spring pools half a mile down the road. A full breakfast is included in the rates, which are $60 to $100 in the main house and $125 in the cottage, with a slight per-person fee added to that.
Old Germantown Road (no street number necessary), Warm Springs, Va. 24484, 540-839-2975.
Gay Street Inn, Washington
This restored 1860 farmhouse is in the heart of historic Washington, Va., surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. And dogs are welcome in what innkeeper Donna Kevis calls this "very dog-friendly town." She can even point you to the field known as the "poopatorium." Kevis does ask that your pet be free of fleas (she has a lot of beautiful rugs) and that you feed the dog on the porch. The big downstairs room has a cozy fireplace, and there's a peaceful garden conservatory breakfast room. In spring and fall, rooms with a mountain view go quickly. All rooms have queen-size beds. Those with private bath range from $95 to $115; the suite is $135 and has a full kitchen and a television (the only room with TV). Breakfast is included; picnic lunches are available.
160 Gay Street, Washington, Va. 22747, 540-675-3288.
Inn at Meander Plantation, Locust Dale
Thomas Jefferson slept here. No, really. He was a frequent guest of this historic colonial country estate that dates to 1726. He even wrote about it in his diaries, says Bob Blanchard, one of the innkeepers. So did George Washington, who camped here with the Virginia militia. Lafayette, too. But the history that may be of even more interest to dog lovers is that whippets were raised on the properties in the 1930s by the Shearer sisters, setting what is now considered by some to be the standard for the breed. They so loved their dogs that they built a 2,700-square-foot kennel for them. Blanchard was able to renovate the kennel and it's now where he lives. "In the dog house!" he quips. Your dog will share 80 acres with the five pooches who have free run of the place, along with 16 horses. Expect to stay in one of the four converted outbuildings. Rates range from $95 to $195 and include a full breakfast.
HC 5 Box 460A, Locust Dale, Va. 22948, 540-672-4912 or 1-800-385-4936.
Widow Kip's Country Inn, Mount Jackson
Sweet Betty Luse and her husband bought the circa-1830 inn from the Widow Kip herself in 1986. Dogs are more than welcome in the cottages, she says. Located in the Shenandoah Valley, the inn features five fenced-in acres for its canine guests to run. "We get so many people who live in the D.C. area in apartments or town homes with dogs. Here, they can play with Frisbees, have a great time," says Luse. There is an in-ground pool, along with five antique-filled bedrooms with private baths and working fireplaces. October, when the leaves turn, is a very busy month. The two cottages have fireplaces. One is a two-bedroom with its own kitchen, sitting porch, cable television and runs $85 a night, including full breakfast; the smaller one is $75 a night. Luse provides bicycles for guests; skiing, golf, wineries and battlefields are all nearby.
355 Orchard Dr., Mount Jackson, Va. 22842, 540-477-2400 or 1-800-478-8714.
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