The Connecticut River forms half of the border of this town in south central Connecticut, and was formative in the early life of the town. Its first major industry was shipbuilding, followed by brownstone mining that took advantage of the ease of shipping on the river. The brownstone quarry is now closed, but the river continues to support the strong recreational demand of Portland with its green space, marinas and boatyards.
Dog-friendly Riverfront Park offers 40 acres along the river. It features several trails that meander through the lovely park that is dotted with huge chunks of brownstone from the nearby quarry. Known as “jumping rocks” these challenge the children in the park to climb them and jump off. Kind of a kids’ training station, but fun for dogs to climb, too. Arf! A section of deep woods beckons on the way to the river’s shore and the scenic overlook view up and down the river. The Pine Trail through the woods is a perfect dog-walking route, with the forest floor as a great walking surface. A short, 1-2-mile walk awaits you and your buddy, so get out there and enjoy this pawsome park!
With its outdoor resources and historic sites to explore, you’ll find dog-friendly Portland to be a worthy destination for your off-hours!
This Portland neighborhood is home to the dog-friendly Portland Reservoir Rim Trail, a natural hiking trail of about 2 miles that circles the reservoir. Well-marked and maintained, the trail also traverses Reservoir Brook, and further on another brook that is spanned by a wooden, hand-made foot bridge. The trail follows an old dirt road that for years has led the adventurous to several almost-mythical attractions, such as a now-closed smallpox hospital, and Cold War Nike missile sites. Open from 8 am to 5 pm every day, this is a great walk for you and your fur-baby: easy walking, spectacular views of the reservoir and surrounding woods and swamp areas with their wildlife and foliage. How much more woofderful can it get?
Here you’ll find the Portland Town Green just off the Police Department parking lot. This is not a huge area, but it’s grassy and flat, perfect for on-leash romping and socializing for your fur-pup. Take a rest in the central gazebo, or throw down a blanket on the lawn and enjoy a picnic lunch and a book with Fido by your side. In the sun, or under the shade of the several trees, a break from the day-to-day routine will be what you find here, for an hour or an afternoon. Be sure to bring something for that picnic lunch to share with your furry bestie!
Less than a mile from Portland, and just across the Connecticut River is Middletown, a good place to head to if you’re hungry with your pup. With at least 16 dog-friendly restaurants to choose from, you will surely find something to please both of you. For instance, try First & Last Tavern in the historic downtown area. Specializing in Italian cuisine but offering such American meaty fare as the Sunday night prime rib special, this restaurant’s outdoor tables are waiting for you and Fido. Or head over to the Taino Smokehouse where you’ll find plenty of doggos’ favorite meats and seafood, plus human-pleasing delicious sides, served up at your very own outdoor table. Bone appetit!
About 8 miles from Portland lies Marlborough, one of the towns that lie within the Salmon River State Forest, a 6,000-acre forested expanse along the Salmon River. This dog-friendly park features hiking trails that loop and interconnect to form over 4 miles of relatively easy walking for you and your leashed pup. Adjacent to and connecting with the Day Pond State Park, there are 4 parking areas, picnic tables and canoe or kayak put-ins for into Day Pond. Restrooms and scenic overlooks complete the picture of a pair of pawrrific parks that easily meet the outdoor-loving needs of you and your fur-buddy! If your hike has made you long for a good meal, check in to Sadler’s Ordinary, a dog-friendly restaurant that features fresh-made country cooking in the American tradition. There’s a table on the patio with Fido’s name on it!
About ½ hour from Portland lies pup-friendly Mooween State Park in Lebanon. Covering almost 600 acres, this park features geography that ranges from stream-side valleys to a hilltop in the middle of the park that is an easy climb for you and your leashed pal. With both paved and gravel surfaces, the trails include out-and-back and looped as they meander around nearby Red Cedar Lake and across Cedar Swamp Road Brook. You’ll spy waterside critters and other small mammals as you go, and the many species of birds will serenade you from above. If you’d like to set out onto the lake with your fur-baby, you can launch a canoe or kayak with him at the park entrance off Camp Mooween Road, where there is also free parking. Woofderful!