The repairs to the Winnebago have been completed, and we’re back on the trail scouting out pet friendly places!! As hard as it was to leave our friends from This One Wild Life, it feels good to be back out exploring the country and taking in the sites. Our first stop in Woodstock, Vermont was by chance – we were only planning to spend the night at an RV park in town – but the tour map and tips provided by the friendly woman checking us in convinced us to stick around for a couple of days. We’re glad we did!
Covered bridges are quintessential Vermont. But, when Tropical Storm Irene hit here last August, two of Woodstock’s three covered bridges were severely damaged and several roads were washed out. It was great to see that Irene only amplified the spirit of this town! Workers are busy finishing repairs, and the tourists are still coming … even if it means bumping along graveled roads until the paving crews can get there. Supporting the area businesses felt good – like we were doing our part to help the recovery.
Being a Cheesehead from Wisconsin, my first priority was to visit Sugarbush Farm, makers of award-winning Vermont cheddar. The 550-acre hilltop farm was established in 1945 by Betsy Luce’s parents. Now she, her husband, and their two sons run the operations, caring for the animals, packaging the cheese, and turning out fantastic maple syrup in the spring.
Dogs on leash are welcome to join you for a walk through the maple trees, a tour of the sugar house – where the maple sap is turned into syrup – or a picnic with panoramic views. Max, the farm dog, is the official greeter. He’s eleven now, and retirement has him spending warm summer days napping in the shade by the picnic tables … hoping to share.
Before you go, stop in the 1860’s farm house to see cheese being hand-dipped in wax in the packaging room and sample the fourteen varieties they offer. Then learn about the four grades of maple syrup and taste each one before heading to the store to stock up on your favorites!
When you’re ready to walk off lunch, make your way down the road to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. This is the only national park to tell the story of conservation history and the evolving nature of land stewardship in America. You can tour the Billings Farm and Museum, a working dairy farm, or the mansion with its extensive art collection and gardens. But the draw for us was the 20 miles of carriage roads and trails that crisscross the 550 acres – all dog friendly and offering some spectacular views!
I think these are drinking fountains for the cows and horses – but they clearly work for dogs, too!
And the views were definitely worth the effort.
Our last stop was at the Quechee Gorge, known as “Vermont’s Grand Canyon.” Looking down 165 feet from the bridge into the gorge is something you won’t want to miss. And, if you haven’t already walked your paws off, there are pet friendly paths to the bottom of the gorge, to the dam overlook, and to Dewey’s Mill Pond.