Pet Travel Thursday
Destination: various sites of autumn beauty and ghostly happenings
By Pamela Douglas Webster
With a nip in the air, many Americans start thinking of spooks, falling leaves, and winterizing their homes. My thoughts turn to taking a road trip with my dog.
Summer is wonderful for travel. But pet-friendly travel is risky in the heat. One long line at a rest stop ladies room could cause terrible suffering, for your dog if you decide to wait and for yourself if you don’t.
But cooler temperatures, lovely autumn colors, and a wealth of pet-friendly outdoor activities make it time to hit the road. With the help of a few travel guides and a website or two, you can plan the dream fall road trip for you and your furry friend.
Leaf Peeping with Your Pooch
Let’s face it, dogs could care less about distant views of flaming trees. But a hike through a state park along a scenic drive turns a leaf peeping road trip pet-friendly.
Plan your trip with a guide to scenic drives. One of my favorites is The Most Scenic Drives in America, Newly Revised and Updated: 120 Spectacular Road Trips published by Reader’s Digest. The photos are gorgeous and the maps easy to follow.
Better suited to armchair travel than planning an actual trip, Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips will stimulate your travel lust. It includes the luscious photos you expect from National Geographic from familiar East Coast leaf-peeping destinations like Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Connecticut River Valley. But it travels far afield in recommending the Pan-American Highway (warning against heavily-armed guerillas) and the East Cape of New Zealand’s North Island (make sure you have plenty of gas on this isolated drive).
I’ve thumbed through Drives of a Lifetime with a mental image of my dog sniffing out the window as we passed French chalets or Peruvian relics.
Once you’ve chosen your drive, take advantage of the best fall color by using the color-coded fall foliage maps at weather.com. By clicking on the region or state you’re planning to travel, you’ll see when the the leaves are at their most colorful. Or, if your dog is inclined to hike, visit About.com’s guide to state park websites telling when fall color is at its peak.
Haunting with Your Hound
Some speculate that dogs sense supernatural beings. Whether they do or not, I know that I’d feel more comfortable walking through a dark graveyard with my Golden Retriever by my side. Let’s face it. It’s hard to be scared when you’re accompanied by a cheery, fluffy tail attached to a happy dog.
If your idea of autumn fun is more on the spooky side, a ghost walk or cemetery tour can be a fun travel destination with your pup. Most old cities have guided tours of haunted sites, notably Philadelphia, New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Chicago. And walking tours held outdoors are often pet-friendly.
To look for spooky places to visit on your fall journeys, check out the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of books. Recent titles by paranormal experts include ghosthunting books for North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan , the Twin Cities, Seattle, New Orleans and many more. The books combine history and stories of supernatural sightings.
When you’ve found a scary place to explore, do a quick web search and you’ll probably find a guided ghost tour. Don’t forget to call first to make sure pets are welcome before showing up with your dog.
Planning Your Pet Friendly Fall Getaway
Reading titles dedicated to scenic road trips or ghostly sites will help you plan a fun fall getaway. But to make sure your trip is enjoyable for both the two and four-legged travelers, do your research. I like the website Go Pet Friendly for planning trips with my dog. It’s an easy and reliable way to find pet friendly hotels, restaurants, services, and activities.
Once you’ve planned the logistics, you and your animal friend can enjoy the best parts of fall: crunchy leaves, freshly pressed cider, and maybe even a ghostly apparition.
So don’t wait. Winter will be here before you know it.
Plan your route. Pack a water bowl and some snacks. Pop a CD of your favorite ghostly songs into your player. And set off with your dog to find amazing views of fall glory, or maybe just a goblin or two.
Disclaimers: Thanks to Carrie Noar of Tales and Tails for sharing her photos. If you click the image, you can see more of Carrie’s wonderful photos and read about her pet travels. Thank you also to my fellow ATL Contributor, Jessie Voigts, for her photo of Katie. Links to Amazon provide a handy way for you to shop, and they are also affiliate links, meaning when you do your Amazon shopping through these links, I earn a few cents. Thank you for your support.