With a population of only 700, Hamilton, VA is as close-knit as it is quaint.Though Hamilton may be small, its citizens are proud and civic minded, and in the summer there’s an annual parade to celebrate the founding of the town. In the late nineteenth century, this charming settlement was a tourist destination, with the Washington and Dominion Railroad bringing in well-heeled travelers from DC and Baltimore trying to escape the stale summer city air. These days, Hamilton is mostly residential, though its rural, idyllic surroundings still attract those looking for relief from a fast paced modern lifestyle.
And it’s easy to see why -- now in the heart of Virginia wine country, Hamilton is surrounded by many beautiful natural and historic trails, most of which are pawsitively ideal for you and your pooch to explore! There’s no designated dog park in Hamilton, so you’ll need to roam a little to get the best for your buddy. However, there are some exercise options available. The Hamilton Community Park is a lovely little spot for leashed walks, and is well-shaded by mature trees, so you don’t need to worry about your buddy overheating on a summer’s day. And don’t fret -- you’ll find plenty of places for your furry friend to run free in the surrounding area!
If your dog likes hiking, they’ll go off the rails for the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park! Part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project, the trail is a whopping 45 miles long, and runs through some of the most fantastic scenery Virginia has to offer. Don’t get steamed up about the length, though -- there are many entrances and exits, and there’s only a slight incline, so whatever your fitness level, you’ll find the regional park is just the ticket! On the way back, you two can choo-choo-chow down at the Vino 9 Market, a fantastic BBQ joint that welcomes wagging tails at outdoor tables.
Leesburg makes for a fabulously fur-friendly day out. The Leesburg Dog Park at Olde Izaak Walton Park is a real mutts-visit for off-leash adventures! The park is well-shaded and has a mostly chip bark surface, so your pup can play come rain or shine. There’s a separate area for large and small dogs, and water and bags are provided. It’s also worth it to walk through the wider park, which welcomes pets on-leash along its lake and creek trails. The real gem of Leesburg, though, is the Chase your Tail Dog Bakery, where knowledgeable staff can help you pick out the best healthy treats for your buddy!
While you’re in wine country, it’d be a huge faux paws not to go for a tasting! Though many wineries in the Hamilton area are happy to cater to canine companions, 868 Estate Vineyards in Mechanicsville is a real stand-out. Located only eleven miles from Hamilton, the dog-loving owners of this vineyard are happy to do all tastings outside, so there’s no need to leave your pooch alone while you sample the many reds and whites on offer. The winery also hosts an annual pet friendly ice-cream social during the summer months!