10 Reasons Why Virginia is for Dog Lovers

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

August 3, 2016

Virginia has a reputation of being known as the “lovers state,” but have you ever thought of inviting your dogs to tag along? Here are 10 reasons why you should take a romantic getaway to Virginia WITH your dog:

1. The Wineries:
Did you know that Loudoun County is considered the wine country of Washington D.C.? Their motto is “if wine is an art form then Loudoun County is a gallery.” From boutique wineries to major vineyards, there are so many different grapes to taste in this region. We were introduced to the wonderful staff at 8 Chains North, a small family-owned and operated farm winery located in the town of Waterford, VA. This winery has a reputation for being THE most dog-friendly tasting room & grounds around. The proof comes with having their very own fenced in dog park overlooking the picturesque vineyard. Our dogs were able to play safely outside while we enjoyed a beautiful tasting paired with chocolate.



2. The Farms:
Has your dog ever wanted to take a tractor ride or scour the land in search of fresh berries? Well you’re in luck! Great Country Farms in Bluemont, VA, allows dogs to join in on any activities the farm has to offer from pick-your-own fruit to wagon rides to a dog festival in the spring. Their resident dog, Sandy, will be in the farmer’s market to greet you and your pooch upon arrival before you head out on your fruit picking expedition. Don’t forget to take home a few of their homemade delicacies such as cider donuts or homemade syrups.



3. The Breweries:
When you travel to other states, it allows you to taste different flavors of beers that are locally sourced. Most breweries in Virginia are brewing beers using fruits grown right on their own grounds, just like Dirt Farm Brewing, a family owned and operated farm brewery in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. From plow to pint, their focus is small batch, hand crafted beer right from the fresh ingredients of their family farm, Great Country Farms (see #2). Their brewhouse and outdoor patio are all dog friendly, offering fresh water for your pooch in several spots along the grounds. The views alone cannot be beat! Set on one of the highest points in Bluemont, you can see the Washington Monument in the distance on a very clear day. Yes, we saw it!


4. The Beautiful Accommodations:
Whenever we are in search of a dog-friendly hotel, it’s important that the dogs love it as much as we do. The Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, VA stood out for a few reasons:

the wonderful welcome: when a hotel has a welcome package of toys and treats specifically waiting for your dogs, you already get a feel for the above-and-beyond service that they have to offer!

their weekly Yappy Hour gatherings: every Tuesday (seasonally), hang out with your best friend on their Grand Lawn, enjoy drinks, snacks and of course dog treats! 10% of the profits made during the Yappy Hour event are donated to the Middleburg Humane Foundation.

their beautiful grounds: take a nature walk on one of their many trails or explore their Equestrian center with fido. Set on 340 acres, you could literally spend the day exploring the grounds themselves.

their outdoor dining: each of the restaurants at the Salamander Resort offer beautiful outdoor tables & couches where your dogs are welcome to enjoy any meal by your side.




5. The Restaurants:
In the summer, it is not uncommon to find some restaurants who offer outdoor seating.  Being from Manhattan, however, what is rare is finding a state where almost every restaurant allows dogs to join you (some even inside). Restaurants in Virginia seemed to beg us to bring our dogs, and everywhere we went the staff was thrilled to meet them and hear about the other places we had visited. One restaurant stood out as having the complete package: savory food, dog friendly patios and a wonderful staff – The Red Fox Inn and Tavern. Everyone we asked had highly recommended this restaurant (which is also a small inn and pub) to us and now we understand why. Their culinary team creates seasonal menus using ingredients indigenous to both Virginia and the South, offering dishes that are simple, genuine, and feature many ingredients sourced from local farms.


6. The Scenery:
Driving around Virginia was one of our favorite things about the state. There was not one road that left something to be desired. Stunning estates, horse farms, vineyards and distant mountains are all things you will see from the many routes that make up this state. Many of the vineyards and destinations that we visited offered views that were more than instagram worthy!


7. The Main Street Vibe:
It’s comforting to step outside of a big city sometimes and walk around a quaint town lined with local shops, bakeries and hidden gems. The town of Middleburg, VA is absolutely adorable and each shop welcomes your dog inside with open arms. There is even a boutique pet store in town called Wylie Wagg offering delicious goodies and toys for dogs of all sizes. If you want to make a coffee stop, Middleburg Common Grounds allows dogs inside and even has fresh treats waiting for them.


8. The Relaxation:
You might want to consider taking a spa day to unwind during your getaway. Don’t feel guilty. Your dog will happily nap back in your hotel room while you get in some “me time.” The Salamander Resort and Spa offers quite a few packages and even a private adult pool for its spa guests.


9. The Nightly Activities:
An evening stroll, a post-dinner drink or a bonfire are only some of the relaxing activities that you can enjoy in Virginia with your dog. Depending where you stay and what you do, find out from your concierge what goes on after the sun goes down. Our hotel offered fire pits with plenty of comfortable seating and even a s’mores package which was a delicious way to unwind after an entire day of exploring.


10. The Seasonality:
We met many local residents of Virginia, and even many out-of-towners who all told us the same thing: “you have to come back in the fall” or “you have to attend this festival in the spring.” Virginia has so much to offer year round, so in my opinion, every time is the perfect time to visit, because every season can be desirable, depending on what you are looking for.

To learn more about Loudoun County, VA, check out:

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

August 3, 2016

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