Contributed by Jenna Donleavy, traveler and pet parent of three rescue dogs: Knox, Bear & Harper
One of our favorite New England vacation destinations is dog-friendly Vermont. I grew up in the small and quaint town of Dorset, which is nestled in the mountains of Southern Vermont. While the community is small, there are tons of activities that are pup-approved! Not to mention, right next door is the larger town of Manchester, which is known for its amazing shopping outlets. If you’re looking to ski and snowboard, just drive up the mountain a bit further and you will stumble upon Bromley Mountain and Stratton Mountain. Talk about some fresh powder!
We try to visit Vermont every few months, since there’s an abundance of fun activities for both human and canines. While in Vermont we usually gravitate toward homes with a private backyard, so the dogs can have a bit more freedom than they would in the city. We also have a few favorite dog-friendly hotels in Vermont. Here’s the lowdown on pet-friendly accommodations.
Dog-Friendly Hotels in Vermont
Barrows House, Dorset
The Barrows House Inn is a gorgeous 6-acre property in Dorset housing eight different buildings, including unique lodging options that accommodate parties of all sizes. They also have private homes in the Dorset area that can be rented through their site or on HomeAway. During our trip to the Barrows House last winter, we stayed in one of their free-standing two-bedroom cottages with a gigantic living room, complete with a wood-burning stove and the perfect pet-friendly accommodations. The Barrows House staff had three large Serta Quilted Pillowtop Dog Beds and bowls, as well as delicious local treats waiting for us. There’s a modern American gastropub with New England tavern fare located in the main house, which is a huge plus, since you can enjoy dinner and pop out to check on the pups. In the summer, dine on the outdoor patio and enjoy your delicious meal with your four-legged companion by your side. Keep in mind: there’s a pet fee of $40 per pet, per night.
Kimpton Taconic Hotel, Manchester
Another four-star option is the Taconic Hotel, which truly sits in the middle of all the action. The hotel offers modern yet cozy guest rooms, suites and cottages, with plush bedding, local art and lavish baths. During our stay, we opted for a cottage, which seemed to be the best option with three dogs in tow. If you’ve ever stayed in a Kimpton Hotel before, you know that pets are treated like royalty, and the staff gives a grand tail-wagging welcome to every pet that comes through the doors. When we checked in over the summer, our cottage was made up with three large dog beds and delicious dog treats. Needless to say, Knox, Bear and Harper felt instantly at home. The Taconic, like the Barrows House, has a restaurant with mouthwatering plates that offers indoor and outdoor seating. If the weather allows, I recommend sitting on the front porch with your pup so you can enjoy their culinary classics together. The staff will be sure to bring out water bowls and treats for the doggos as well.
Rental Homes, Dorset
If you prefer to stay in a private rental home instead of dog-friendly hotels in Vermont, check out some of our favorites here: Luxury Post and Beam Barn, Seven Springs House, and Manchester 360 Views & Luxurious Property.
Things to Do With Pets in Dog-Friendly Vermont
Once you decide on your pet-friendly accommodations, it’s time to go exploring! Here is a list of our favorite things to do with pets:
Walk — Equinox Pond, Manchester
Located near the base of Mount Equinox, Equinox Pond is a scenic and serene setting that is magical all year round. Around the pond, you’ll find a trail loop along with an extensive trail system that hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers can all enjoy. We love the pond loop because Knox, Bear and Harper can get their paws wet and go for a solid stroll that really tires them out. It is very likely that you will run into other furry friends, as this is a popular spot for dog lovers to take their pups.
Hike — Haystack Mountain, Pawlet
Are you up for a good hike? Haystack mountain offers, in my opinion, one of the best views of Southern Vermont. It is an hour-long hike to reach the summit—and a good portion of it may be a challenge for novices—but it’s beyond worth it when you reach the top. The views are fantastic all year round, but we recommend doing this in the fall or summer. We have hiked this trail with all three pups many of times, and always stop for periodic water breaks. It’s definitely a woodsy hike, so protect the pooches with tick treatment—we use Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Large Dogs.
Swim — Stratton Snow-Making Pond, Winhall
If you find yourself in Southern Vermont in the summertime, the Stratton Snow-Making Pond is our favorite hidden gem. It’s filled with the water that is pumped out to make the Stratton snow, and the pond is perfect for paddleboarding, kayaking, floating and swimming. It is also a very popular spot for dog owners, so expect to meet many off-leash furry friends. Knox and Bear enjoy doggy paddling and greeting those on floats, while Harper prefers chasing alongside them in her Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket.
Shop — Dorset Farmers Market, Dorset
While the Dorset Farmers Market is open all year, we prefer to shop the summer market, where our pups can join us. The market has more than 50 farmers and producers from the area, who offer fresh veggies and fruits, home-baked breads, artisan cheeses, grass-fed meat and poultry, canned goods and pickled produce, as well as Vermont crafts. Poke around, support the local community and enjoy live local music. The market is open rain or shine, Sundays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The best part about dog-friendly Vermont is that whether you stay for a weekend or a week, you’ll never run out of things to do with pets. The setting is beautiful in every season, but maybe less so in the spring, which is affectionately known as mud season. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, grab your pup and head to Southern Vermont for a relaxing reset.