Susie DeFord’s Guide to a New York Country Getaway
Throughout the month of July, i Love Dog Friendly is spotlighting where wet noses are welcome in the fabulous Empire State. This week, Susie DeFord, author of the poetry and photography collection, “Dogs of Brooklyn,” gives pet parents her tips on how to escape to the New York countryside with your pooch.
It’s summer again, which means New York City pet parents in the know are packing their weekend bags for the Hudson Valley to escape the hot and hectic city. Relief for pets and their parents lies a mere three hours upstate in the villages of Woodstock, Saugerties and Phoenicia, N.Y.!
Each of these towns are full of NYC expats and have many of the comforts and amenities of the city while still maintaining a country-like feel. The Hudson Valley has easy access to the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, allowing pet parents the opportunity to go hiking, swimming, shopping or dining with their dog.
Planning for a Trip With Your Pooch
Many upscale New Yorkers have second homes in the Hudson Valley that they often rent out. This is a great place to start planning your vacation away from the city if you and your pup are traveling on a budget. The next step in planning your weekend trip to New York’s countryside is either prep your car for a road trip with your dog, or be sure to have a dog crate ready if you rent a car.
If your dog is prone to motion sickness, give your pooch ginger as a holistic treatment for nausea 30 minutes before a car ride. Another option for pet parents of small dogs who can be transported in an over-the-shoulder bag is to take a bus that drops you off in the center of these upstate towns.
Saugerties has a vibrant, historic downtown, which makes it my personal favorite. My dog Phoebe and I have spent many summer afternoons browsing the village’s many dog-friendly and reasonably priced antique and book shops.
When your feet and paws start dragging after a day of antique shopping, you can refuel and get your sugar rush on at the city’s chocolate shops! Krause Chocolates or Lucky Chocolates, where Rae, the owner, welcomes dogs by giving them a free [non-chocolate] treat.
After a busy day out with your pup, drop him off at your hotel or rental house for a nap. Pet parents should definitely check out the bizarre and beautiful sculpture, Opus 40, while your pooch is dreaming about tennis balls. For dinner, Saugerties has many delicious restaurants, like Miss Lucy’s Kitchen local-farm-to-table restaurant and Fez Restaurant for excellent Mediterranean and Moroccan food.
Woodstock is always an eventful place in the summer. Phoebe and I always enjoy checking out the dog-friendly shops and galleries downtown. The local bookstore, The Golden Notebook, always has dog treats on hand and loves four-legged visitors.
Every Saturday and Sunday from May to November, you and your pup can enjoy the outdoor Mowers Flea Market near the village green. It’s a pawfect atmosphere to walk your dog while shopping at the same time. For those who enjoy music with their pooches, there are free outdoor “Concerts on the Green” all summer. It’s music to every pet parent’s ears.
Woodstock also has plenty of places to take your dog on a hike. You and your pooch can visit Overlook Mountain to look for the fire tower, or visit the old Overlook Mountain House ruins to let your dog chase the numerous squirrels that run across the grounds. Those with paddling pups can go for a swim in the Little or Big Deep Swimming Holes.
Once your pup is tuckered out from a long day of shopping, hiking or swimming, drop him off for a nap at your rental or hotel while you enjoy a delicious meal at my two favorites, The Garden Café or Oriole 9. There’s also fun for pup parents to be had at nighttime while their pooch is snoozing [or with a pet sitter]. Check out the events at the Bearsville Theater, Maverick Concerts, Woodstock Playhouse or Upstate Films.
Phoenicia is probably the most rural and mountainous of these three towns, with the smallest downtown. Take your pup out to breakfast and grab an outdoor table to enjoy the most amazing pancakes I’ve ever had from Sweet Sue’s. Then, to burn off the calories from those pancakes, take your pup on a hike to the Mt. Tremper fire tower.
After your pooch is tired from hiking, let him nap at your rental while you cool off with a water-tubing trip down the Esopus Creek. For dinner, I recommend the pizza at Brio’s. You can end your night by catching a movie or show at the Shandaken Theatrical Society.
Woodstock, Saugerties and Phoenicia are all within a 20-minute drive of each other, so stay in one town and you can still explore the others! You and your dog will love the country escape!
To learn more about Susie DeFord, woof on over to her website.