Archive for Cities/Towns

Lesson Learned

This morning while starting off on a very familiar trail near my house Brya was spooked for the first time in her life. I thought she was afraid of one of the dogs approaching us and for the first time in her life did not come to me when called. Like any dog owner, I was embarrassed in front of the people with dogs near me as well as worried that she would run further away from me so I panicked.

I collected her and leashed her to continue our walk. Where than halfway through our route we heard it whining in the woods. I quickly remembered hearing of an injured coyote in this area from a few days ago.

As I thought back, Brya did not leave my side for the entire walk. Why didn’t I trust her instincts? We are fine but even old trainer can learn new lessons.

I have always thought of Brya being a good judge of character for both dogs and people. Why had I doubted her? Because it was early in the morning and I just want to get my walk done. Next time I will heed the warning and pick a  different trail.

Just goes to show you, if you really listen dog’s instincts teach lessons every day.

Happy Trails!
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At least I got this picture :)

15 Towns in 12 Months-December

Brew-Cliff Pond -1 2014December finally arrived! The weather on Cape Cod has been so mild this fall (now technically winter) that we have been crazy walking fools. Last but not least, we headed to Yarmouth!

First on the docket: Historical Society Trails You can find the trailhead at The Faith Tufts Gatehouse behind the post office on Route 6A in Yarmouthport.  These trails maintained by the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth. A generous 50 acres of conservation was once the first golf course on Cape Cod.  Built in the 1890s as a private course for the Thacher family, the course was used for several decades until generously donated to the historical society by Mr. Guido Perera, a descendent of the Thacher family.
If you look closely, you can still catch a glimpse of the golf course landscape.  We lingered too long at Miller’s Pond losing track of time.  Time in December goes fast, and we were losing daylight.

So we headed straight to Grays Beach.  I had heard a lot about this beach since my town of Sandwich has a boardwalk and this one rivals ours.  It was beautiful in its own way, however dogs are NEVER allowed on the beaches of Yarmouth which shocked me!  We had our photo op and were on our way. IMG_2436

Very disappointing  :(

We had just enough time for a quick walk, so we picked Dennis Pond Conservation area. With parking on Willow Street and Summer street, the trail is a quick out and back with nice view of Dennis Pond. This pond is shallow so there are many opportunities for viewing of wildlife.  A very pretty walk with option of a Power Line addition to the walk if you are looking for extra mileage.  Cute!

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Trail map: http://ma-yarmouth.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/701

 

 

 

 

15 towns in 12 months-November

November is here! Am I running out of steam? YES! Even though I am having 20 people for Thanksgiving dinner and family staying at my house, this challenge forced me to get out there to a new location and out of the local rut I tend to give in to this time of year when there is no “time” to go out of town.

Orleans is a connector town in my mind. This is where the rotary links the mid cape to the towns of the outer cape. My first trail was the Three Ponds Conservation Area. This 2 mile trail was interesting in its layout. It winds around Meadow Bog Pond and Sarahs Pond as well as a few house lots and streets, so keep your pup close by for safety.

Seabury Farm WBarn-1 Dec 2014 I parked at the Meadow Bog Entrance: From the intersection of Rt. 28 and Main Street in Orleans, follow MA-Route 28 toward Chatham for 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Quanset Rd and veer right at the Y to stay on the road. Follow Quanset road to trail head on left (1.2mi). There is a 1-2 car designated parking area on the corner or park at the Town Landing 200 yards farther down the road on the right.

map was helpful http://orleansconservationtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/trails-three-ponds.jpg

Next Brya and I Headed out to Kents Pond Conservation Area. Another Orleans Conservation Trust property, the trail is about 1 ½ miles long. The outside loop of what is basically a finger peninsula in the northernmost part of Chatham Harbor and is intersected by several connecting trails to make the outing longer by winding around and around. There are benches to watch the beautiful scenery and a boardwalk with access to the water. STUNNING!! A Must See!!Parking is a lot at the end of Frost Fish Lane (watch for signs to Kent Point).

Barn-Sandy Neck stroll jan 15

Trail map: http://orleansconservationtrust.org/kents-point-conservation-area/

There are several other areas we did not get to but the two that peaked my interest were Ice House Conservation and Bakers Pond Conservation, both owned by the same Orleans Conservation Trust www.orleansconservationtrust.org

In season, the Main Street in Orleans has outdoor patio seating ripe for dining with your dog, but one can usually find a picnic table on a sun filled winter day to enjoy a salad. Don’t forget the beach policy for Orleans is Sept 16-March 14 dogs ARE allowed on all town beaches. Check out Coast Guard Beach for sure!

 

 

15 Towns in 12 Months-October

Brewster was the town of the month for October. What this town lacks in industry, it makes up for it in beauty and charm. This is a town that is reminiscent of “old cape cod”.   You won’t find a chain grocery store or restaurant in town, but there are many charming boutique shops and mom & pop stores. Make sure you pop into the Brewster General Store and you will feel as if you were transported back in time.

My first not so hidden gem of a nature trail is the Nickerson State Park. This park packs a big punch. With many fishing, biking and hiking trails, Cliff Pond was a perfect start! We started on Flax Pond Road at the parking lot in between Cliff and Little Cliff Ponds. Keeping the pond on our left, we made our way around the 3+mile loop    Brew-Cliff Pond May 2014-2        Brew-Cliff Pond April 2014

where there are many opportunities for the dogs to swim any time of year, and towards the end of the loop is a beautiful sandy beach where we stopped to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Trail map: http://www.mass.gov/eea/images/dcr/parks/trailmaps/nickerson.gif

Running through Nickerson is the Cape Cod Rail Trail which is a beautiful walk in itself!

The next trail we hit is adjacent to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, at 869 Main Street (Route 6A). Just west of the museum you will find a map at the trailhead. Dogs are only allowed October 1-April 30, so this was the perfect addition to our month! The weather cooperated, and although the trail is not long it is full of gorgeous scenery. You should be sure to check the tides, as the plank walkway across the marsh will be flooded at high tide

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As you transition from woods to marsh through another section of woods,

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you will eventually land on the beautiful stairway to the infamous Brewster Flats  that can go on for miles at low tide.

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Simply breathtaking!

http://www.ccmnh.org/The-Trails-of-the-Cape-Cod-Museum-of-Natural-History

Be sure to check out the Brewster Conservation Trust properties for more wonderful trails!! There are too many to list, so check them out for yourselves:

http://bct.capecodgis.com/ or http://brewsterconservationtrust.org/index.php/category/walking-trails/

All private land trusts are run by volunteers and donations, so consider possibly giving some time or perhaps money to save our open space!

Brew-Cliff Pond -1 2014      HAPPY TRAILS!

 

 

15 Towns in 12 Months-September

EASTHAM

 What a beautiful town in this beautiful month of September! This was a perfect pick as we transition from Summer to Fall here on Cape Cod.  Containing about 14 square miles and with a population of 5600 people, Eastham is home to the Nauset Regional High School. Interesting fact: this is the only school on the East Coast located within a national park –Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS)

IMG_7155The town of Truro allows dogs Labor Day- June 15 on beaches, so check out Dyer Prince Road and Rock Harbor beach. A recent update from the town: dogs are no longer allowed to run free on this beach, even though they had this freedom for a decade –Brya and I found it to be quite enjoyable in spite of the new rules

For a full list of Truro beaches, see the town web site (download the pdf) listed:  http://www.eastham-ma.gov/public_documents/EasthamMA_Recreation/index

 

IMG_7819       IMG_7598On the contrary, the National Seashore allows your pup on their ocean beaches all year long (on leash of course)!! Our favorite in Eastham is Nauset Light Beach. As the name hints, there is a beautiful lighthouse on the property. In season, the bath house is a nice addition to a very sandy day.

IMG_7814However, I was sad to learn that the CCNS does NOT allow dogs to walk on any trails in the reservation. I did double check this fact with a Ranger at the Visitor Center, and she did reluctantly agree with my findings. This is apparently due to the delicate wildlife that lives along the trails.  We need to share with all animals right?   :)

Do you recognize our clue to the right?  This was a hard one!  This bone is by the Fort Hill trail (dogs prohibited, but photos allowed)

 

Not to be disheartened by the bad news, we were off to locate our new trail find!! We headed out to Cottontail Acres.

IMG_7781 The parking lot for this trail is well hidden so keep your wits about you. Heading down Samoset Road, when you get to the intersection with Lawton Road on your left, start to take the turn but do an almost u turn into a paved road just before the property at 875 Samoset. Immediately you will run into the small turnoff which is the parking for this trail. Cottontail Acres is a short, cute hike that is well shaded with trees and beautiful by itself. If you are looking for more, cross Samoset Street on foot in the crosswalk and enter into another larger parcel named Wiley Park.IMG_7798 The trails in this 40 acre parcel not only surround Great Pond, but also several smaller ponds for multiple swimming opportunities-Yay! All in all we walked 3 ½ miles total and not only was it beautiful, it was very interesting with a few picturesque spots along the way

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Eastham didn’t appear to have too many spots for outdoor eating, but we did find Red Barn Pizza with picnic tables outside (pretty good pizza too); and Ben and Jerry’s for a treat after your lunch. Both located on Route 6.

A great resource when visiting Eastham with your dog is the Eastham Dog Owners Assn web page :

https://www.easthamdog.org/id30.html

Get out and enjoy!!

15 Towns in 12 Months-August

Summer has FLOWN by! Brya and I enjoyed our month in these two lower cape towns. They both are what we could classify quintessential cape cod summer towns. Their population more than doubles in the summer months and even with traffic, we always feel like it’s worth the drive.

Truro

This tiny town incorporated in 1709 boasts over 15,000 people once summer hits. With over 75% of its land designated as National Seashore, no fast food restaurants and no stoplights, some say Truro is the forgotten town between the popular Wellfleet and Provincetown tourist areas, but it is truly a gem worth exploring!

We started by hitting the Smalls Swamp trail. This loop around the swamp is a quick trip rich in plant life and history! This swamp was the set in the bottom of a former glacial kettle hole. This is just one of the numerous walks in the Cape Cod National Seashore which stretches from Eastham to Provincetown. Visit their site to see what else lies in store for you!

Smalls swamp sign        Smalls Swamp steps

How to get there: From the intersection of Routes 6 and 6A in North Truro, take Route 6 north for 2.1 miles, then turn right on an unnamed road signed Pilgrim Heights. Go 0.5 miles to a large, paved parking area on the left side of a one-way loop. Two trails depart from a trailhead at the northwest side of the one-way loop. The trail to Small’s Swamp goes left (northwest) toward the interpretive shelter. The trail to neighboring Pilgrim Spring veers right (northeast)

Brya and I love the water, so Truro is perfect for us! Your dogs are allowed on all National Seashore beaches YEAR ROUND on leash. All Truro town beaches welcome your pet after 6pm in the summer. We loved Coast Guard Beach, but there are so many more to sample, we will be back! Here is the list to choose from: http://www.truro-ma.gov/beach-office/pages/beach-list-information

Mayflower Bch 2014-2

While in town, be sure to check out Truro vineyards. A must see! http://trurovineyardsofcapecod.com/index.php

If you’d like to stay in this beautiful town on near the tip of the Cape, the Outer Reach Pet Resort is set on 12 acres in the National Seashore and perched atop a bluff with beautiful panoramic views of Provincetown and Pilgrim Lake http://www.outerreachresort.com/

 

Wellfleet

Being from the upper cape, I did the touristy things for 20 years. Wellfleet has an outdoor flea market by day and drive in by night-done it! The National Seashore has Marconi Beach with great wave action (most every time we see seals, yet where there are seals…….sharks do tend to follow)-done it! But to explore this town with Brya was such a great experience.

I really didn’t know that all National Seashore beaches allow pups all year long! Hard to believe, but I really didn’t. The deal is simple. You must keep your pet leashed and move past the life guard protected area. It is a little walk (so remember all your things in one trip) but it is truly a better spot! The beach is less crowded and we were able to get cell service. Be leery that most beaches require a lot of stair climbing/descending so it may not be a great place for an elderly pooch. Brya wasn’t a fan of the big waves at first, but soon grew to LOVE them! She actually body surfs!

Marconi waves 

Just this month we received some wonderful news!!! A trail once off limits to dogs is now dog friendly, and a must do! The Great Island Trail is just that, on an island. Therefore, you must watch the tides as it is inaccessible at high tide. Leashed dogs are allowed only on the trail from the upper Great Island main lot and the lower “gut” parking lot to the first dune and out to the beach….year round. Laminated maps are available at Great Island to direct pet owners to the newly opened areas.

Great Island sign     Great Island picHow to get there: Turn left off Route 6 to Wellfleet Town Center. Turn left onto Commercial Street. At town pier, turn right onto Kendrick Road, then left onto Chequesset Neck Road to the Great Island parking lot, 3-1/2 miles from traffic light on Route 6. Driving hint: Water view will generally be on your left.

Be sure to check out PJ’s family restaurant, Rte 6 & School St if you are looking for some good eats with your dog. (508-349-2126)

Paw House Inn, VT

ADVENTURES IN VERMONT

The Paw House Inn is located in West Rutland, VT.  Close to Pico an Killington Mountains and about 5 minutes to the bustling town of Rutland, this Inn is a perfect location for all dog lovers.  The Inn’s motto is “we cater to dogs, we tolerate humans”………and they mean it!

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We were welcomed by the resident dog, Stanley, and were given a tour of the grounds.  The owner told an interesting story about the eccentric neighbor who is an art collector of sorts and has many “interesting” sculptures surrounding the Inn’s property.  Here are just a few:

 

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This Inn is SPOTLESS!! I am a clean freak, so for me to say that is something, especially about a house with dogs in it!  The mud room after entering allows the humans to take their shoes off and towels to wipe any dirty dog paws.  So many cute touches throughout!

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Our room was on the second floor and immediately knew we were in good hands.  There was a framed dog bed with a bowl and towel for water, a towel in case of rain or an impromptu swim, and even a sheet to put over the bed in case your pup joins you for sleeping.

IMG_5573   We headed out to the fenced in “dog park” next and met our neighbors and their pups before hitting the sack.  Fun was had by all.

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Saturday we dined on the back porch with Brya and most of her friends for a gourmet breakfast which was delicious, then headed off to the indoor farmers market (dogs are invited)

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Since it was spring, the weather was just warm enough for a hike  The staff at breakfast was so helpful in giving us a list of possible trails. We finally settled on Pine Hill Park and it did not disappoint !!!!!  Breathtaking landscape and views awaited us at every turn.  Brya found several rocks to climb throughout our hike:

 

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Another great feature of the Inn is the on site kennel.  This separate building has kennels to keep your pup safe and cool/warm (depending on the season) if you have to go somewhere that isn’t dog friendly or just want an afternoon of human sightseeing. Although we didn’t use this service for Brya, it was nice to know it was available!

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It was so wonderful to be in a place that reveres these animals that are our family as much as we do, and to be around fellow dog lovers was such a treat.  Brya made wonderful friends and I know we will be back!

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Check them out for yourselves:  http://www.pawhouseinn.com/

 

 

15 Towns in 12 Months-July

So its summer…..dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, right? Wrong!

In Provincetown, one of the most dog-friendly towns on the cape, dogs are welcome on the beaches on leash all year long. In fact, you may have your well behaved dog off leash from 6-9 am AND 6-9pm. But be sure to pick up after your pooch, if you know what I mean 😉 We have to keep the beaches clean so our furry friends don’t lose this invitation.

Ptown Beaches April 2014

Sometimes in the “dog days of summer” I get lazy. Not really, but I am definitely less motivated for a long walk. I think Brya feels the same way. Being near the water always helps! Just walking down the main drag of Commercial Street is a trip. Several stores and banks allow dogs inside the store, plenty of watering holes line sidewalks, and you can even get a dog cookie like we did at Paws & Whiskers Dog Bakery.

Ptown Aug 2014-4                       Ptown Aug 2014-5

If you are feeling adventurous, head out to the breakwater at the absolute tip of the Cape. You can walk for what seems like a mile, but I’m sure is a bit less, across this stone jetty and make your way over to the lighthouse. Be warned, this trail is 4.93 miles long, so make sure you time your tides right so you don’t get stuck……that’s right it almost happened to us, yikes!

https://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=XMR016-043

ptown breakwater

If you aren’t as adventurous of just feeling a bit on the lazy side, Beech Forest Trail is a cute trail that is just over a mile:  http://www.hikingcapecod.com/beechforest.html

Lastly, Try walking the neighborhoods of this hustling summer city and you never know who you will find! We walked by the Pilgrim Monument and realized we hadn’t actually appreciated the significance in a long time, probably since visiting in grade school! For those of you who live off cape, check out the story as we know it:         http://www.pilgrim-monument.org/overview-faq#.VbDB_nLbLj0

Ptown Aug 2014

I would be remiss without mentioning the Provincetown Dog Park, located at the intersection of Route 6 and Shank Painter Road     http://www.pilgrimbarkpark.org/

I didn’t see a lot of shade, so maybe not a great location for a mid day romp, but a great looking park.  Its nice for folks to have some human interaction as well!!   The dog park site also give you a great selection of hotels and restaurants that are dog friendly:     http://www.pilgrimbarkpark.org/Ptown.html

One fact remains, BRYA AND I LOVE PTOWN!!!!  Come down and enjoy!

 

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Does it take a little extra effort to bring your pet on vacation? Yes.

But it pays you back tenfold! After my son’s recent college graduation, we decided to try and have a family vacation ON Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire before he heads off into the world.  With some on line research, were able to find a house on VRBO.com that would accommodate a dog  (there were actually many listings with different amenities).

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This home in the beautiful town of Meredith was smack on the banks of the quiet, picturesque Fish Cove.  Abutting a loon sanctuary and tucked away in a residential area, we had the best of both worlds!  We had quiet peace in the mornings for jumping off the dock and kayaking, and yet we were a quick boat ride out to the main part of the lake for tubing and sight-seeing. This was not our first visit to Lake Winni, but certainly our best!

IMG_6435           Brya in kayak in NH

Seeing the lake from the water was so much fun and interesting—we decided they may need some signs for navigation out there…it’s so huge!  The boating was a bit of a challenge from a newbie’s perspective as the lake is known for the massive amount of rocks to maneuver around. Our Navigation Map purchased at the local Mobil station helped immensely!  NH isn’t called the Granite State for nothing!!  Donning her life vest, Brya came everywhere on the boat with us and there was plenty of public docks to stop and walk around in each of the main towns around the lake.

Lake Winni 3               Lake Winni 1

We found many eateries when we docked the boat that would take the dog. All patio venues will allow dogs to dine and some even offer water bowls and treats. Many ice cream spots will give you a doggie cup J  When in Wolfeboro, we dined at Dockside with a covered patio and great simple but tasty summer foods.  My kids tell me the fish & chips were awesome! I was amazed at how many dogs we saw in our travels boating this enormous lake.

Lake Winni 5

The water was definitely the draw to this vacation.  Although we walked our area of Stonedam Island daily, Brya LOVED kayaking with us.  We usually get in the kayak on Cape Cod from the shore, but by day two in NH she was jumping in from the dock into her spot in my kayak ready for our next adventure. We found a few islands that were purely conservation that we got out and explored.  My favorite spot was “Sally’s Gut”, a little canal that is VERY shallow and boats must be careful and slow but is a kayakers dream!

Lake Winni 4                 Lake Winni 2

In Brya’s 2 ½ short years of life I have found that not only has traveling made her a happier dog, but she is so easy to take anywhere!  By being exposed to so many different situations, we have increased the bond of trust between us ………never mind it brings both of us a lot of joy !  Give it a try!

Therapy Dogs Rock!

Brya and I just wrapped up our first season as a Therapy Team at CAP (Companion Animal Program).

Brya in scarf

I must say I have been drawn to volunteer work my entire life, and this job did not disappoint! After being certified, we visited nursing home residents, college students, rehabilitation patients, as well as the awesome middle school students at the Wixon School in Dennis Brya Wixon 4

People wonder (and we get asked frequently) how just bringing a dog in to a facility is therapeutic. Many studies have shown that Pet Therapy :

-Reduces anxiety, loneliness & helps people relax

-Stimulates communication, increases mental stimulation, and can act as a catalyst in emotional therapy process

-Makes reading easier for a child with a dog present and it is shown to reduce self-consciousness, it also helps to practice reading in a less stressful environment

-Lowers blood pressure and could reduce the amount of medication and not only slows your heart rate and decrease blood pressure, but the animal’s does as well!

-Helps with physical therapy by encouraging increased movement in joints, maintain & increase motor skills, and helps stroke patients exercise longer (studies show they walked up to 35% farther and 35% faster with pets than human therapists)

All of the facilities Brya & I visit bring a different aspect to the reward we get from being there.  Can’t wait for next season!

Brya Wixon 1  Brya Wixon 1

You wonder how dogs are allowed into such sterile buildings? The biggest concern, particularly in hospitals, is safety and sanitation. Most hospitals and other facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules to ensure that the animals are clean, vaccinated, well-trained and screened for appropriate behavior. In fact, there is a process for all dogs to go through to be certified as a Therapy Dog.

To shed a little light on this wonderful organization; around since 1986 over 200 members and over 130 Therapy Teams visiting 35 facilities and 7 libraries. If you are interested in becoming a therapy team on the Cape, feel free to contact CAP:

http://companionanimalprogram.com/join.html