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Sitting either side of the New Haven River in the lee of the majestic Green Mountains, Bristol, VA is certainly in a beautiful spot. The town itself isn’t bad to look at, either -- the whole of Bristol’s quaint, picturesque downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a place that’s steeped in tradition -- you and your pooch are welcome to join the town’s brass band for a summer concert in the park, a seasonal weekly event that’s been running since the Civil War! Furry film buffs will be glad to know that Bristol also hosts regular movie nights in the park, and your pup is free to enjoy them with you as long as they’re leashed.
There’s no designated dog park in Bristol, but you and your buddy are sure to sniff out something to do! Bristol has a couple of community parks that are just pawfect for leashed walks. If your four-legged pal loves the great outdoors, then you’re in luck -- there are some fantastically fur-friendly hiking routes right on your doorstep. And if your pooch longs to run off leash, don’t worry -- you’ll find some pawesome dog parks just a short drive away!
If you and your pooch are looking to get back to nature, why not strap on your hiking boots, leash up your pup, and head across the New Haven River to Bristol Falls? If your pooch likes to swim, then this spot is a real mutts-visit -- your fur baby is sure to have a whale of a time splashing about in the swimming hole. Though the path up to the falls from the parking lot on Lincoln Street is a short one, you two will find some longer trails to sniff and explore by the river and around Bristol Cliffs.
Cultured canines might get a kick out of wandering around historic Downtown Bristol, but this gorgeous neighborhood isn’t just a feast for the eyes -- it’s a haven for doggy diners, too! For breakfast, try Snap’s Cafe -- their corned beef hash is excellent comfort food, and they cater to canines outside. In the mood for a beer and a burger? Check out the furrific Bobcat Cafe and Brewery, where wagging tails are welcome at their outdoor tables. Be sure to try the venison meatloaf! Afterward, you two can burn it all off with a short, leashed walk around the well-maintained Village Green.
No bones about it, the tiny town of Middlebury is a fantastically fur-friendly place! Just a twenty-minute drive from Bristol, Middlebury is home to the amazing Middlebury Dog Park. At two acres, the park might not be the largest, but there’s still plenty of room for even the most rambunctious furball to leap about and tire themselves out in. Bags and water are provided, but there’s no separate small dog area, so be mindful of your pup’s temperament. Not only that, but Middlebury’s South Ridge neighbourhood also boasts a small wooded trail system around the middle school.
Branbury State Park might not be the largest preserve in the area, but it’d still be a huge faux paw not to visit! The park sits pretty on the shores of Lake Dunmore, and even has a small beach -- unfortunately, though, pets aren’t allowed on the shoreline. Branbury State Park is ideal for fitter furry friends and owners looking for a challenge. Both the Mt. Massaloo and Rattlesnake Cliff trails feature inclines that vary from the steep to the truly punishing, and reward the persistent with fabulous views over the lake. If you’re out of breath just thinking about it, don’t worry -- the trail to Fala Falls is less taxing.
Shelburne’s East Shelburne Bay neighborhood is a real mutts-visit for pooches and their people! It’s home to the fantastic Shelburne Village Dog Park, a magical experience for you and your labracadabrador! The off-leash area isn’t the largest, but there’s still enough space for your furball to run around and burn off their excess energy. There’s a separate small dog area too, so your pooch can play and socialize no matter their size, and bags are and water are provided. Afterward, why not stop for a pick-me-up at Village Wine and Coffee? Their wood-fire roasted espresso is wonderful, and your pooch can join you outdoors.
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