Not the Dominick: Staying in Airbnbs with a Dog

Just like that, the couple becomes “the couple with the dog.” Traveling with her, taking her to meals, shopping at Bloomingdale’s with her. In our defense, we are nomads and while we aren’t carrying everything on our backs, we do move in a cluster more than we have ever before. So if we’re going away for the weekend to give our housemates (i.e. my in-laws) some space, it’s fair that we take the dog, too.

Harrigan’s Historic Hideaway in Kearneysville, W.V., got Cappie’s seal of approval

We’ve had very good luck taking her to Airbnbs, with one epic miss. In all, bringing a dog increases the sense of community, and we’ve spent more time talking to our hosts in these than most other places we’ve stayed sans-Cappie. Generally I like that and think it reinforces the idea of connecting the world. But it’s certainly different than an anonymous getaway.

In Charlottesville we stayed at a charming house in Belmont that wasn’t just pet friendly, but offered built-in pet care. The owner of the home also had dogs, and she repeatedly offered to feed Cappie or let her out while we were out and about at wedding festivities. In the last two months, I’ve tried to accept help more often. When someone offers twice, I say yes. It was awesome. Accepting kindness feels good. Cappie liked the attention, too. Cappie went swimming in the Rivanna River on this trip, and since Charlottesville is a college town at heart, she was welcome just about everywhere we went.

In Kearneysville, W.V., we went for the hikes, stayed to play with other dogs. The bedroom and living space on the second floor of the late 1800’s farmhouse were cozy and clean. The owner had two dogs herself and another visiting, all three were eager to show Cappie around their backyard and fields. In the morning the owner took all three of us upstream and helped us drop her kayaks into the water for a very fun, really easy paddle back to the farmhouse. Later the three of us enjoyed lunch outside at Blue Moon Cafe in Shepherdstown. Matt and I have eaten here a few times before, each time we love our simple food and really dig the ambience. It’s a little college-y cafe with an earthy vibe, the staff is great and something about drinking a Blue Moon at Blue Moon always just tastes great.

In Newport, R.I., my mother-in-law caught the dog-traveling bug, and talked with the owners about Cappie coming to stay. With a few conditions, he was happy to host her (reasonable ones — crate the dogs when you’re out of the house, and take the dog to the dog park directly across the street for bathroom breaks). Newport is a surprisingly good town for dogs. In the mornings, Third Beach becomes dog beach. From about 6:45 until 8:00 a.m., dozens and dozens of dogs descend on the long curve of beach. They form packs and create little societies: The big shaggy dogs that like to run after each other, the big athletic dogs that like to run after balls, the smaller dogs that just like to run, the dogs that just like to sniff. They govern themselves while their owners chat mildly about real estate and new restaurants. After three days at Dog Beach, I was able to ask about kids and birthdays. There’s nothing like a dog to forge a bond. After mornings at Third Beach, grab breakfast at Cru Cafe (where the sunrise special drink, “OJ and a shot of espresso” is in fact, OJ and a shot of espresso mixed together and served over ice and shockingly very pleasant). Later that day, snag an outdoor table at Clarke Cooke House for an old school Newport experience, drink a martini and order the lobster salad.

Our one epic failure of a pet-friendly Airbnb? The home was lovely, the hosts were definitely dog people. Alas, they were watching a friend’s dog, who was not a dog’s dog. The dog was so high-strung and wigged out by Cappie’s presence that we ended up taking Cappie to board nearby — a $110 surprise. The hosts were trying to live up to their listing, but it would have been better for all parties if they’d just said in advance that they’re usually pet friendly but that weekend they weren’t.

The yard in Newport wasn’t suitable for potty breaks but it did see it’s share of tree climbing breaks.


Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

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