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Ok, so I admit it publicly: I am one of “THOSE people”… I am a dog person. You know the type, we treat our dogs like children with fur. If you don’t like dogs, or at least tolerate them, you probably don’t want to visit our homes because they are littered with an unreasonable number of dog toys and we consider dog hair a condiment. When we travel, we often take our dogs with us. As responsible dog owners we realize that our plans must be different when we travel with our dogs. Where we go, what we do, where we eat, all must revolve around our dogs. You can’t leave your dog in the cars for even a few minutes if it’s warm and personally I don’t like to leave my dogs alone in the area’s many pet-friendly accommodations for fear they will bark or get upset.
Door County is a great place for dogs and dog-friendly vacations, and with a little pre-planning and research you and your dogs can have a wonderful getaway too. Many of the things we love about the area as people, can also be a great time for our dogs. Other activities our dogs tolerate because their people enjoy it. But what our dogs enjoy most is just spending time with us.
On our way north into the County I love to stop in Carlsville for a cup of coffee and a bite at Door County Coffee & Tea Company. My dogs love to stop and shop at Pet Expressions next door and pick out a treat of their own. Together we can sit at the outdoor tables and savor a quiet morning.
As we wander our way north we always plan a visit to Peninsula State Park. Check at the entrance for a map and information on the dog-friendly trails and areas of the park. We love to pick up some sandwiches at Main Street Market in Egg Harbor or Julie’s Café which is right next to the park entrance in Fish Creek. There are lots of trails to hike, beautiful scenery, rock shoreline where the dogs can play in the water (dogs are not allowed on the swimming beach). If you don’t have a lot of time, at least drive through the park with the windows partially down so the dogs can let the wind blow their ears and lips in a big doggy grin.
There are so many things to see and do in Door County it is hard to choose. You can visit one of the dog parks in Egg Harbor, Baileys Harbor, Sister Bay or Sturgeon Bay if your pooches want to socialize with other dogs, both local and visiting. This is also a great way to meet other “dog people” and get more tips on things to do with your dog. If your dog is a “people dog” you may want to visit some of the shops throughout the county. Check DoorCounty.com for shops that welcome dogs. There are several that offer more than just dog items. You can shop for clothes, people gifts, outdoor equipment and more.
In addition to being a “dog person” I am also a foodie and there are few things I love more than a wine or beer tasting. Stone’s Throw Winery in Egg Harbor has a patio area that welcomes dogs. Your dog can’t taste the wine, and isn’t allowed in the winery building, but if there are two or more humans in your group you can take turns tasting and then enjoy your favorite on the patio with your dogs. Another unique Door County experience is hard cider tasting at Island Orchard Ciders in Ellison Bay. Once again dogs are not allowed in the tasting room but they do have a bowl of fresh water outside the front door on the patio. You can purchase your favorite cider by the glass and enjoy it at an outdoor table with your dogs. On our way to or from Ellison Bay we love to stop at the Ellison Bluff County Park to stretch our legs and take in some of the breath taking views.
As a foodie one of the big decisions on any trip is where to eat. Door County has so many amazing restaurants it is hard to choose. Wisconsin state law does not allow dogs inside establishments that serve or prepare food but many restaurants offer dog-friendly patio areas. Keep in mind all outdoor seating is not dog friendly, check with the restaurant and of course since dog friendly dining must be outdoors, it is limited by season and weather. Your options range from fine dining to casual, with live music or outdoor games.
Always take your dog’s personality into consideration. Will they be comfortable in a large crowd? Will a sidewalk patio be enjoyable for them or will every other dog walking by make them crazy? Pick a menu you will enjoy, and a venue your dog will be comfortable in, and you are all sure to have a great Door County meal. Of course no day is complete without some amazing ice cream. Somehow I always feel less guilty having ice cream if my real reason for going is to get a “pup cup” for my canine companion.
After a great day in the county you can choose to enjoy a theater performance at Northern Sky Theater in Peninsula State Park or catch the latest release at the Skyway Drive-in in Fish Creek. If you are looking for a more relaxed evening there are many great places to just relax and watch a sunset or maybe try your luck with a fishing pole while your dog enjoys your company. Your dog will enjoy pretty much anything they can do with you.
View the full July 2016 Newsletter here.
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