Friday, September 19, 2014

Town in California's wine country stakes claim of pet-friendliness

Sometimes the most interesting coincidences just happen. Within minutes of my recent post discussing “pet-friendly” vs. “pet-tolerant” hotels, I received an e-mail on behalf of the town of Yountville, California, telling me just how darned pet-friendly it is.

Situated in the Napa Valley, Yountville is located on Highway 29, the St. Helena Highway, some nine miles north of the better-know city of Napa. However, as visitors to the region know, Yountville is hardly Napa’s poor stepsister. It is home to Domaine Chandon cellars, with numerous other wineries located along the nearby Silverado Trail; the vaunted French Laundry restaurant, Bouchon Bakery, NapaStyle and a host of other dining venues; and a wide range of cozy, welcoming hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts.

Our girl - an excellent traveler!
“This beguiling village also loves our furry friends,” the town's public relations representative gushed, noting that “Yountville is the only Wine Country town where one winery (Jessup Cellars) hosts a summertime fashion parade for the best-dressed dogs. They call it their Dress to the K-Nines Stroll.”

Cute.

Visitors to Yountville can bring their pets when wine tasting, dining, and spending the night at a number of locations, the e-mail went on to advise.

Wine tasting

Vinophiles can expect special attention for their dogs at V Wine Cellar, which offers a wine boutique and tasting lounge, and Sip and Swirl with Fifi. While visitors enjoy their private wine tasting on the patio, their dogs are treated to gourmet dog treats and water served in bowls made from recycled wine boxes. Visitors’ dogs might make a new friend at hope & grace wines, which has its own canine greeter named Romeo. Cosentino Winery boasts that it is “100% pet friendly,” and that furry guests are welcome both inside at the tasting bar or outside on the winery’s newly completed patio.

Other dog-friendly tasting rooms include Girard Winery, Somerston Wine Co/Priest Ranch, the aforementioned Domaine Chandon and Hill Family Estate.

Dining

A day or more tasting wine absolutely must include food, and visitors won’t have to leave their animals unattended while they refuel. Pet-friendly patios are open at a number of dining venues including Michael Chiarello’s NapaStyle and at Hurley's Restaurant. Pacific Blues Café welcomes dogs on the patio with a San Francisco Giants water bowl or a plain bowl for those who aren’t Giants fans.

The dog menu at Lucy Restaurant at the Bardessono includes three entrees and two desserts for dogs dining on its patio. For the second consecutive year, the restaurant is hosting a dog-friendly happy hour called Dog Bar. Running from late spring through October, guests can bring in their dogs between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., for a special promotion: $25 includes light snacks and a glass of wine from Lucy Restaurant & Bar for the owner and a cookie for their dog, with proceeds benefiting the local humane society. Of course, the luxe Bardessono hotel welcomes pets as well.

Pet-friendly outdoor dining is also available at Bistro Jeanty and at two of Thomas Keller’s restaurants: Ad Hoc’s Addendum and Bouchon Bakery. Bouchon offers two kinds of gourmet dog biscuits in addition to their regular offerings. The gourmet treats are made from freshly ground corn meal and chicken liver, then glazed with a touch of ketchup.

Lodging

The North Block Hotel offers possibly the best deal when it comes to pet lodging. Guests who bring their canine companion are provided a pet bed, bowls and special treats, all without charge.

The French country-inspired Vintage Inn also welcomes pets, with its pet fee including bowls, a pet bed fashioned with cushions, or wrought iron doggy beds with mattresses upon request. An amenity package with treats and other dog essentials is presented at check-in, and treats are always available at the front desk. Dogs are also welcome at the Champagne breakfast on the Vintage Inn patio during the morning hours.

Finally, the Lavender Inn welcomes up to two dogs per room. “Breakfast in Bed” is included in the pet fee.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photo by Carl Dombek

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