If you think of your four-legged companions as family members, do the right thing and take them on vacation. Ideally, vacation in Maine, where you'll find plenty of pet-friendly activities and lodging venues. While most establishments charge a pet fee, it's still cheaper than overnight boarding. Pet fees usually range form $25 to $50, but avoiding separation anxiety is priceless. Pet rates are as of December 2010.
The words "pet friendly" are often subject to interpretation. Some hotels have breed, size and weight restrictions, so your cat, bird, monkey, snake or Siberian husky might not be greeted with open arms. Check the hotel's pet policies. Some hotels do not allow you to leave your pet unattended, but most Maine towns offer some sort of pet daycare.
Pampered in Portland
The Eastland Park Hotel in Portland not only welcomes pets, but also wants your pets to feel welcome. Pets receive a treat and a toy at check-in, and pet moms and dads get a map of Portland's pet-friendly parks, beaches and trails. If some of your vacation activities do not include pets, arrange with the bellman to walk your dog. Planet Dog in Portland is a must-visit store. Buying its products supports the Planet Dog Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides grants for programs that train and place dogs who work to help people in need. The store offers grooming treatments, so consider planning a spa day. While your dog gets a full beauty treatment, go back to your hotel and indulge in a massage from Massage Medicine. The Eastland Park Hotel, opened in 1927, also appeals to history buffs. Charles Lindbergh was one of its distinguished guests. The hotel charges a $30 nightly pet fee.
Freeport Shopping with Fido
Shopping outlets are Freeport's claim to fame, with stores such as LL Bean and Pet Pantry featuring large collections of pet products. Dozens of small motels and hotels sit near the major shops, but Captain Briggs House B&B offers pet-friendly lodging with a bit more character. The owners understand pet behavior. While they would prefer that you pet not share your bed, it is not a hard and fast rule. The same applies to the breakfast room. If no other guests are present, well-behaved dogs may sit near your table, provided that they don't try to steal the sausages, pancakes or waffles. Rooms, with their floral wallpaper, have a Victorian flair. There is no pet fee.
Presidential Pets in Kennebunkport
Stay at the Yachtsman Lodge on the Kennebunkport Marina and you might catch a glimpse of George and Barbara walking the family pet near the Bush Complex. Rooms, with their seaport decor, feature glass doors, offering enticing views of the marina. Rates include free continental breakfast and afternoon tea. The hotel charges a $25 a day pet fee.
Skiijoring at the Telemark Inn
Skiijoring is Nordic skiing with your dog. If the concept appeals to you and Fido, consider a skiijoring weekend at the Telemark Inn in Mason Township. The staff train dogs and their human companions to enjoy Maine's winter wonderland, but only dogs participating in the program may stay at the lodge. The property also has a herd of llamas and a Siberian husky dog-sledding team, so this is probably not the best choice for aggressive dogs. The lodge, with its wood walls, mineral stone fireplace and 7-foot antique cherry table in the dining room, has an authentic mountain ambiance. Organic vegetables grown on the premises appear in breakfast, lunch and dinner, which are included in package rates.
Pet-Friendly Ski Lodging
The Sudbury Inn in Bethel is convenient to the Sunday River Ski Resort and the Mountain Explorer, the free shuttle bus to the resort. This pet-friendly inn sits in the middle of Bethel Village, on a block lined with restaurants and small boutiques. The Sudbury Inn, with its four-poster beds and floral fabric, oozes Victorian charm. A breakfast featuring gourmet selections such as Maine blueberry pancakes and herb omelets is included in the rates. There's a $15 nightly pet fee and cats are welcome. Those traveling north to the Sugarloaf Resort will find pet-friendly accommodations at the White Wolf Inn, located eight minutes from the mountain. Owner Sandy Isgro describes her inn decor as "early Maine recycle" without the "cutie stuff," but with winter rates as low as $50 and a $10 nightly pet fee, many folks willingly forgo the Martha Stewart touches typical of Maine inns. The restaurant, with selections such as lobster-stuffed haddock wrapped in smoked salmon, displays the owner's innovative cooking talents.
Down East with Dogs
When traveling to Acadia National Park, the good news is that you can get there from here and you can bring your dog. In fact, your dog might even make some new friends at the Rose Eden Cottages, a pet-friendly cottage complex. It charges a $10 a night pet fee and offers a pet treat upon arrival. Pets may not be left unattended, but the nearby Acadia Woods Kennel offer daycare. Some Acadia National Park trails allow dogs. Check Resources for listings.
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