2011 - The Year in Review

2011 - The Year in Review

Tether Talk
Over the year we kept you informed on the political battles raging over off-leash access to public lands, particularly Fort Funston, Crissy Field and other parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area long open to untethered romping. Our leash wars coverage morphed into Paw Press, a section of our website devoted to happenings in the Northern California dog world.

Lola in the GrassBreath of Fresh Air
America’s national forests are oh-so-relaxed about canines, at least in comparison to state and national parks. We reviewed the rules and sought out dog-friendly trails and shorelines you might never have considered in a summer issue devoted to the National Forest Advantage.

Choo Choo—Who Knew?
Excursion trains have long been popular with families, but until we started checking around, we had no idea that quite a few scenic railroads in Northern California allow dogs to ride, too. You can add Mendocino County’s Skunk Train to that list as well. All aboard!

We’ll Toast to That
Winery excursions aren’t just for people. Over the past year we’ve sniffed out dozens of dog-friendly wineries, including many that allow furry visitors not just in their picnic areas, but in their tasting rooms. A few, like Mutt Lynch and Topel in Healdsburg or Dutch Henry in Calistoga, are so dog-passionate they even give their wines canine-themed names and stage fundraisers to benefit dog charities and attract the woofy set.

Wide Open Spaces
One of the features that sets the Bay Area apart from other large urban areas is the amount of open space preserved for recreational use. If you live in the Bay Area, you probably know about the East Bay Regional Park District, which encompasses 65 parks and 108,000 acres in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Just visiting? Make time to check out some of the many dog-friendly trails, shorelines and campgrounds in the East Bay’s back yard.

Small Open Spaces
Twenty years ago, nobody ever heard of a dog park. Now they’re everywhere, offering a great way for pooches to play while their humans socialize. For those who are new to dog parks, we created a list of  “Dog Park Petiquette” tips to ensure a fun and safe visit.

Kimpton DogOvernight Digs
Sure, we knew coming in about dog-passionate hotel chains such as Joie de Vivre and Kimpton, which welcome dogs of all makes and models. But not until we dug our paws into the subject of canine-accommodating lodging did we realize what a mine field is out there when it comes to restrictions, exclusions, fees and rules. That’s why we put together a “know before you go” list of questions to ask before booking. You’ll find some of them quite surprising.

Fur Flies When You’re Having Fun
What’s the most dog-friendly county in Northern California? Our research reveals a toss-up between Monterey and Mendocino, both of which are exceedingly rich in the kinds of places, from beaches to restaurants, that in other parts of the state are posted “no dogs allowed.” The Monterey County town of Carmel hasn’t lost its crown as the No.1 dog-friendly community in California, but it had best look over its tail, as North Coast towns like Fort Bragg are nipping at its heels.

Lift-off At Tahoe
Unless you live at Lake Tahoe or are a frequent visitor, you might not have known until we spilled the kibble that in summer, dogs are welcome to join their humans on the cable car at Squaw Valley and the gondola and Vista lifts at Northstar. Lift-assisted hiking with Rover is also an option at at paw-friendly Mammoth Mountain.

BodieFun in the Foothills
If you live in the Bay Area, you probably blast through Gold Country on your way up to Tahoe without giving it a second thought. But get off the highway and you’ll discover what we did: vast tracks of public lands for hiking, hundreds of small-production wineries and small towns where the welcome is as warm as sunshine on a summer day.

Posted on: December 29, 2011

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