Instead of camping, we decided to stay at a hotel for our last dock diving event of the season, since we are not used to staying in hotels, and because we would have to stay in a hotel for the DockDogs World Championship. We hoped that this would prep our whole pack for our trip out to Iowa in November. The Westin was attached directly to the Pittsburgh Expo Center, so we decided that would be our home-away-from-home for the weekend.
What a gorgeous hotel this was! …And the hotel staff were MORE than dog friendly! We felt so at-home here! The biggest surprise was the size of our room… it was GINORMOUS! The dogs thought they were at an indoor dog park!
View from our room
Leading into wet bar and bathroom area
Seating area and table
This hotel was very clean, the staff were not only friendly – but super DOG friendly, and the breakfast was delicious!
After all of our winery visits on the Shawangunk Wine Trail, how could we resist stopping here for a bite to eat!?!
Limoncello at the Orange Inn was opened by brothers Luigi and Victor Kapiti in August of 2006. These brothers renovated what was once a rundown restaurant and inn. The Orange Inn was a Goshen Landmark, dating back to 1790. Many historical figures were guests at the inn, especially from the Revolutionary War era. The inn’s well-known guests ranged from George Washington to James Cagney.
During the Civil War, the Orange Inn was used as a haven for escaped slaves. The building itself is built on the foundation of an old prison!
Located across the street from the World’s oldest harness racetrack – Goshen’s historic race track – many people would come to the inn (especially to the bar within the inn!) after the races.
We enjoyed a snack of fried calamari served with Thai chili sauce – which I highly recommend if you ever find yourself visiting Limoncello at the Orange Inn!
The wineries along the Shawangunk Wine Trail just keep getting cooler!
Adair Vineyards, located in New Paltz, New York, is housed in a 200+ year old barn, once occupied by cows and horses.
The winery has a stream running by with the Shawangunk Mountains in the background.
The winery also supports several animal related charities including:
Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary: a no-kill animal rescue, located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, This organization’s mission is to improve the lives of companion animals everywhere by any means possible, including rescue, adoption, advocacy, collaboration, intervention and education.
The Sato Project: dedicated to rescuing abandoned & abused dogs from Puerto Rico. They have rescued and rehabilitated over 1,200 dogs, and are working towards systemic change through education and partnerships on the Island.
The tasting room and gift shop are located in the loft of the barn and the wine making area is below – and dogs are allowed inside!
Continuing along the Shawangunk Wine Trail, we came across Stoutridge Vineyard. This winery is located in Marlboro, New York, which is about 70 miles north of Manhattan, and located in the Hudson Valley.
Stoutridge Vineyards is built on the historical foundations of vineyards planted in the late 1700’s. The old winery’s foundation wall is all that remains of the historic structure. You can see it in the above picture, as it is now the beautiful front wall for the Stoutridge tasting room patio.
This is a very unique winery!
Many of the wines and spirits at Stoutridge are locally grown, and all are from New York State sourced fruits and grains. The winery is built into a hillside, and the wine cellars are underground. This establishment uses entirely solar generated electricity, and utilizes the heat off of their stills to heat the building in the winter through a radiant system built into the floor. How cool is that?!
Stoutridge is also what’s known as a “gravity winery,” meaning the never use pumps or filters in their wine making. In addition, they do minimal chemical processing to their wines. Stoutridge does not not “fine” their wines with gelatins, tannins or clays, doesn’t add water or sugar, or chemically adjust the acidity of their wines. They also do not add sulfites or sorbates to the wines after they are made. All of this means that the wines are pretty much unprocessed, and in a very natural state. All Stoutridge wines are sold exclusively at the winery, so that they can make their wines using less processing, and retain higher levels of naturally occurring antioxidants in the wines.
We enjoyed a glass of wine on the great tasting room patio with the pups, although the dogs were allowed inside the tasting room at Stoutridge.
Orange County Choppers (better known as “OCC”) is a world-famous custom motorcycle manufacturer located in Newburgh, NY, that has been the center of the hit TV reality series “American Chopper” aired on the Discovery Channel. Founder, Paul Teutul Sr., and his team custom-design and manufacture choppers. OCC bikes are customized, and often built around a theme. Check out some of their cool bikes by clicking HERE.
Hooch was ready to go on his first-ever solo adventure!
We found it! This beach is located at the base of the Ocean Drive Bridge, on the Longport side, across from the fishing pier.
Walking on the path leading to the beach:
Along this path we saw the sweetest thing: A tribute to a dog who once loved to play on this same beach. A basket of toys were left in memory of Scruffy, so that other dogs could enjoy the beach as much as Scruffy did.
A great tribute to a dog who once loved to play on this beach!
Hooch was checking out the toys he could borrow while playing on this beach.
The beach was a pretty good size, with many families enjoying time with their dogs off-lead both on the beach, and in the water.
Hooch is not ready to be off-lead, so he enjoyed running in the water on his leash. Even though he was on-lead, he still somehow managed to steal a tennis ball from a Jack Russell Terrier!
Hooch LOVED playing in the waves:
Hooch was unsure about this “moving water” at first!
Then he decided to just go for it!
He loved jumping the waves!
Having a blast in the Atlantic Ocean!
We were both soaked, exhausted, and full of sand after this trip!
This hotel is located close to Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Ferguson, Patrick Henry Mall, Peninsula Town Center, Prime Outlets, Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, and Water Country USA. They offer a free grocery shopping service so that you can cook in the full kitchen, which is stocked with cookware, dishes, and appliances. The hotel also has an outdoor BBQ and fire pit, fitness center, indoor pool, coin laundry facility, free Wi-Fi, and free breakfast buffet. In addition, enjoy free Wi-Fi, and a convenience mini-mart inside the hotel.
Even better, this hotel is pet friendly, and has a pet “park” located behind the hotel.
This has been the third hotel we’ve stayed in since we’ve started practicing indoors for Hooch’s sake, and this is the third time we have gotten assigned to room 125 (which is also Brian’s extension at work – crazy, huh?!?!
It was such a great experience, as we had never stayed in a hotel that had a full kitchen, and provided kitchen necessities like plates, glasses, wine bottle opener, pots/pans, and had an eating area. Since it was freezing, and were weren’t going to be doing any sight-seeing, we very much enjoyed having these “extras.”
The hotel room was cleaner than clean!
The hotel offered grocery shopping free of charge, had all local take out menus on hand, and offered an included breakfast that was just as good as home-cookin’!
The staff could not have been more helpful during our stay.
We met several other people, all with four-legged children.
The sink area was separate from the main bathroom area, which made it nice while trying to get ready.
Cello and Hooch were very comfortable!
Overall, this was one of the best hotel experiences we have had, and would highly recommend staying here!
“Double Trouble,”…What an appropriately named destination for our two Hooligans’ first hike of 2015 !
There are conflicting stories about how this area got its name. The most common legend focuses on the dam at Cedar Creek. Sawmill operator, Thomas Potter, may have “coined” the words “Double Trouble” after heavy Spring rains washed out the dam twice in the 1770’s.
Another myth says that muskrats in the area were relentless at chewing on the dam. When a hole was discovered from the muskrats’ constant gnawing, workmen in the village would say, “Here’s trouble,” and rush to repair the leak. One day, two holes were discovered at once, and a village worker overheard the owner say, “Here’s Double Trouble.”
Welcome to Double Trouble State Park!
Located on the eastern edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and encompassing over 200 acres, Double Trouble State Park provides a fine example of a typical Pine Barrens community centered around the logging industry and cranberry agriculture. Isolated Pine Barrens communities such as this one (and Batsto) were built to be entirely self-sufficient, and their survival depended 100% on the success of the particular industry the community was built around. This area has a natural cedar forest, and stream, which provided both raw materials and water power for a substantial lumber industry from the 1700’s to the 1900’s. As workers cut down the timber, the cleared cedar swamps created a bog environment – perfect for growing cranberries. Cranberry culture began at Double Trouble Village in the 1860’s. By the 20th century, the Double Trouble Company was one of the largest cranberry operations in the state.
Did you know that today, with approximately 3,600 acres of cranberry farms, New Jersey is currently the third largest cranberry producing state in the United States? Cranberries in our parts are known as the “Jewel of the Pine Barrens!!” Interestingly, New Jersey’s leading cranberry farmer, William S. Haines, is located in Cello and Hooch’s birth-town of Chatsworth, NJ! Haines has over 700 acres of cranberries on his Chatsworth Pine Island Company Cranberry Farm, and his family’s history of cranberry cultivation dates back to 1895. Cello and Hooch’s birth-town also is also home to both an Ocean Spray juice company plant (one of the leading cranberry juice companies), and one of New Jersey’s largest festivals… The Cranberry Festival, a celebration of New Jersey’s cranberry harvest, offering a tribute to the Pine Barrens and its local culture. There is a huge, diverse presentation of local artists, craftsmen, and wineries – some offering demonstrations, and all providing items for sale. And of course… there’s “everything cranberry,” including cranberry jam, jelly, chutney, ice cream, cranberry wine!
Ever wonder how Cranberries are harvested? It’s really pretty cool…First, Cranberries grow in the bed of a bog. Cranberries have pockets of air inside them. Because of this, cranberries float in water. When the cranberries are ready for harvesting, the bogs are flooded to dislodge the fruit from the vines. Water reels, nicknamed “egg-beaters” are used to “stir-up” the water in the bogs. When the water is stirred, the cranberries disconnect from the vine, and float to the surface of the water! Wooden or plastic “booms” are used to round-up the berries, which are then lifted by conveyor, or pumped into a truck to be taken to a receiving station to be cleaned and processed. Pretty neat, huh?!
Cranberry cultivation still continues today in several bogs at Double Trouble State Park. Some of the bogs in the park are maintained and harvested sporadically by farmers who lease the bogs, since the purchase of the park by the state in 1964. Here are pictures of cranberries being harvested at Double Trouble State Park
Double Trouble State Park is also listed on Weird NJ for an unusual and explainable event that occurred here! The pictures below captured this “weird” event.
The water in Double Trouble State Park is “tea” colored, and known as “cedar water” – just like the lake Cello and Hooch live on – and most lakes in the Pine Barren area. This coloring is caused by the tannic acids found in the Atlantic White Cedar trees (which is what our log home is made of) — as well as the naturally occurring iron in the water.
Here is a picture of Hooch swimming in our lake this past summer. You can see the color of the “cedar water” in our lake.
Double Trouble Village has a restored sawmill and cranberry sorting / packing house, both containing working operational equipment. These two buildings were the focus of the village, which also includes a late 19th century one room schoolhouse, general store, bunk house, cook house, shower house, maintenance shop, pickers’ cottages and the foreman’s house. Most buildings are not restored, and look to be left “as is” on the inside (peek inside windows of the buildings while you are here!!) and only the sawmill and cranberry packing house are restored, and open to the public, exclusively during guided tours.
Double Trouble Village was purchased by the State of New Jersey in 1964 to help protect the Cedar Creek watershed. Double Trouble was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1977, and on the National Register in 1978.
Double Trouble School
Operated from approximately 1893-1915, this one-room school is the oldest remaining structure in the village.
If you peek in the windows, you can see the old school desks inside.
This was the home of the Burke family from 1938 until 1957.
Mr. David Burke was foreman of the cranberry processing operations until 1967.
Cranberry Sorting and Packing House
Built in 1909, This building was filled with workers who hand-scooped cranberries, sorted them according to size and quality,
and then packed the berries to be transported to a market.
(circa 1920) The general store provided the early villagers with staples such as oatmeal, flour, and
sugar. From the 1930’s until it closed, convenience items like candy, cigarettes and gloves were sold here also.
Most buildings also had an outhouse out back:
(circa 1900) Also called the “communal house”, this is where single workers lived during the seasonal
(circa 1906-1909) The sawmill produced lumber, shingles and other products for sale and for use in the village and cranberry operations.
Harvest Foreman’s House
(circa 1900) This was the seasonal home of the migrant workers’ foreman.
There are several different trails you can take in Double Trouble State Park.
Trail Guides are available at the trail heads, so that you have a printed map and description of the trail to carry with you.
After exploring the village, we chose the Nature Trail.
This was not the longest of trails, but considering the weather was pretty chilly, we were content with our choice.
The Nature Trail passes along a couple of cranberry bogs, crosses over Cedar Creek, and passes through a cedar forest, as well as a peat bog.
This is a part of the trail that runs in between two bogs:
Parts of the park are open for hunting, so be sure to check with the park office, and/or NJ’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to educate yourself on any hunting activity before you begin your adventure. In addition to hiking, visitors can canoe or kayak their way through the park, using several access points on Cedar Creek. There are also public bathrooms and an Information Center conveniently located in the Pickers’ Cottage (circa 1940), just beyond the parking lot. Pickers’ cottages in the village housed seasonal workers – including family groups. Every year 30-40 migrant workers arrived on Labor Day weekend, and lived in the cottages until Thanksgiving. These village employees worked solely in the bogs, hand-picking the cranberries.
As you can see, we all very much enjoyed the abundant history and unique sights of Cello and Hooch’s first hike of 2015.
What will be YOUR first hike of the year? Cello and Hooch would love to know…go on, now… TAKE A HIKE!
It’s the Friday Pet Parade! Don’t hesitate to join in the Pet Parade, and share your favorite post with others. Visit one (or all!) of the hosts below, and link up to the parade!
Although this is both Cello and Hooch’s first visit to Batsto Village, this historic site holds a very special place in our hearts. If you’ve been following this blog, you know the story of how we discovered the German Shorthaired Pointer, and why we knew we would eventually forever have GSPs as family members. If you don’t know the story, click HERE . Six months after we bought our dream home, Brian and I went to the Country Living Fair, an event held annually on the third Sunday in October at Batsto Village, in hopes to find some historic items related to our area to decorate our home. While walking through the Village, we saw (for the very first time) a couple with a German Shorthaired Pointer. We approached the couple to pet the dog, and to ask some questions about the breed, since at the time we knew nothing about GSPs, other than what we had researched online. When Brian asked what the man thought of the breed, the man’s exact words were, “These dogs are the biggest pain in the A_ _.”
I often think of this, with three things that come to mind:
1) I can only feel sorry for that man who didn’t understand just how wonderful GSPs are
2) I pray that the man was joking, and that the beautiful dog we saw that day is leading a family-life full of love and care
3) I thank God we didn’t let the man’s opinionated statement divert us from our desire to have GSPs in our family.
At this exact spot, approximately 5 years ago, we saw and petted a German Shorthaired Pointer for the very first time! Today, Brian and Cello stood in that same spot:
Batsto Village dates back to 1776, and is located in Southern New Jersey in the Wharton State Forrest, New Jersey’s largest state forest, located in the heart of the Pinelands (home of New Jersey’s cultural icon, The Jersey Devil!) Archeologists have found evidence of Prehistoric life in the Batsto area as well…the history dates back several thousand years!
Batsto Iron Works was built along the Batsto River in 1766. Batsto had all the natural resources necessary for making iron: bog ore from the banks of the streams and rivers, wood for fuel, and water for power. The Batsto Iron Works produced household items such as cooking pots and kettles. During the Revolutionary War, Batsto also manufactured supplies for the Continental Army. By the mid 1800’s, iron production was down, and Batsto re-invented itself as a glass-making community, specializing in window glass.
Today Batsto Village is a New Jersey Historic site, and is also listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.
The Batsto area also has numerous hiking trails, some of which connect with the 50-mile long Batona Trail (whose name derives from the words BAck TO NAture).
We decided on the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail.
To get to this trail, park in the Visitor Center parking lot. Walk past the Visitor Center, toward the Village and turn right to go past the Mansion, a 32-room home that served as the former residence of generations of ironmasters. Fourteen rooms, (including the parlors, dining room, library and bedrooms), are open to view for people visiting Batsto.
The Gristmill below was powered by Batsto Lake and processed the wheat, corn, other grains sold in the Village’s General Store:
The picture below is the Piggery. This structure was used to slaughter hogs to provide food for the Village. The tall stone and brick tower on the left provided water from a large tank, which flowed into a large processing tub where the animal parts were further processed. The cast iron tub is thought to have been manufactured by the iron workers in the village.
Other Farm structures to check out before continuing on the hike are:
Wood House: where wood for the Mansion’s cook stoves was stored here
Carriage House: used to house various horse drawn vehicles
Horse Stable: ten stalls, where riding horses and carriage horses were kept
Threshing Barn: contained a threshing machine which separated the grain from the straw and chaff
Range Barn: where the cattle were kept
Mule Barn: constructed of Jersey ironstone, it served as a team stable, hay storeroom, and an 8-stall mule barn
Continue across Batsto Lake on a plank bridge, where you will also see (and hear!) the dam. Just across the dam is the Sawmill, which was powered by Batsto Lake. The mill cut lumber and shingles that were transported by train all over the east coast, providing additional profit for Batsto.
Just over the bridge is a great place to sit and take in the views of Batsto Lake. Batsto Lake and River were the major reasons for the location of the Village and its Iron Furnace. The river provided bog ore, and the lake was produced by the dam which allowed boats to move the bog ore from the river to the Iron Furnace.
The lake also provided water power for both the Sawmill and the Gristmill.
The sandy trail then leads through a row of homes once inhabited by the employees of Batsto.
The state of New Jersey purchased the Batsto area in the mid 1950’s. At this time, there were still a few people living in the Village houses, and they were told that they were allowed to remain living there for as long as they wanted. It wasn’t until 1989 that the last house was vacated!
People emplyed at Batsto lived in cottages consisting of 2- 3 rooms downstairs, and 2-3 rooms upstairs. Each house had an attic, fireplace, and an outhouse.
Several homes are open for visitors to walk through.
Once past the cottage-style homes, a path leading to the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail and the yellow-blazed Mullica River Trail is set diagonally off to the right.
You can pick up the yellow-blazed Mullica River Trail along the way, but we decided to stick with just the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail.
Although there were many Pine and Oak trees, we also went through a White Cedar bog, located along the Mullica River. Here is a picture of Hooch and Jenny just before we went through the bog:
There were several foot bridges we crossed along the way.
Hooch did a great job keeping up!
The orange-blazed trail is very well marked. The path follows along the Sleeper Branch of the Mullica River, then loops around for your return trip to the starting point.
Not bad for Hooch’s first hike!
In addition to the historic buildings and hiking paths, Batsto hosts many events and tours. Camping and Canoeing are also popular at this historic site. Other amenities include a park office, restrooms, telephone, water, and picnic area.
Hooch had never been to a dog park yet, so we took Cello and Hooch to John Connolly Memorial Park, in Voorhees, NJ.
Hooch was having a blast chasing Cello and the Chuck-It ball – UNTIL a huge male Great Dane puppy decided Hooch looked like a cool dude to play with. The Great Dane wanted nothing but to run with and chase Hooch – but the size of this immense pup scared poor Hooch to death! He ran away barking like mad, and ended up running to his mommy for safety! The poor Great Dane had no idea why Hooch did not want to play with him! Hooch was pretty spooked at that point, so we left the dog park.
Hopefully visit #2 will go a bit smoother for the Hoochie Coochie Man!
Hooch and Cello in action:
Of course Cello wanted nothing but to chase her ball, so nothing or no one phased our ball-crazy gal!
The hotel upgraded us to a bi-level suite at no charge!!
This suite had a king bed, three entrance/exit doors (one of which opened out immediately to the outside, which was great for letting the dogs out!) two floors, 1.5 baths, a wet bar, and two sitting areas!
Cello and Hooch liked that they could keep an eye on their Pop when he went outside to smoke.
Spiral staircase leading up to the second floor:
Cello and Hooch took turns sitting on the ottoman:
The hotel was clean, and the staff could not have been nicer!
This hotel is conveniently located, and is dog friendly. Dogs stay with an added nightly fee. We requested a first floor room located near an exit, since Hooch is still not “100%” at potty training. We were given a room with a perfect location – right near side-exit door, which had a nice grassy area, doggy waste bags, and a trashcan. We were also able to park right at this door, which was very convenient.
The hotel room was clean, smelled nicely, and had extremely friendly staff, who called our room after our arrival to check to make sure we were satisfied.
In searching for an indoor swimming facility for Cello and Hooch to use during the cold months, I found The Green Leaf Pet Resort and Hotel through a Google Search. It is about a 40 minute drive from our house. We decided to give it a try in hopes that we can bring Cello and Hooch here throughout the winter to keep up on their swimming, and to practice for dock diving. We are very glad we took the drive – we have never seen anything like this place…
The Green Leaf Pet Resort is AMAZING!
The entry way was so inviting, and very festive!
When I walked inside to the front desk, I was thinking how much it looked like an upscale hotel!
They even have a boutique for your pooch:
The Green Leaf does grooming, boarding, training, swim lessons, fitness training, specialized training, and day care!
The pool room is just awesome. The pool area can be rented by the 1/2 hour or the hour. It costs $35 per half-hour, and they have package rates available. When you rent the pool area, you and your dog(s) are the only ones in the room – no others are allowed in, unless they are a part of your group.
There is a ramp into/out of the pool so dogs can easily enter and exit without having to jump in or climb out.
The facility provides pool toys, towels, life vests, and water-resistant leashes for use during your dog’s swim.
Hooch was a little hesitant at first, and just stood at the ramp, and watched Cello for a while!
Don’t mess with THIS guard!
Cello had an absolute blast!
Hooch started diving in and having a ball also!
Here they are in action!
The facility is spotless, the staff is friendly, and the amenities are endless here for your pup!
During our Thanksgiving camping stay at Island Resort Campground, we visited the town of Berlin, MD. While leaving The Maryland Wine Bar, and heading back to our car, we stumbled across Sisters. We did not find Sisters listed on DogFriendly.com or BringFido.com (two of our biggest resources for dog friendly places), but we decided it couldn’t hurt to ask. Brian went inside while I held Cello and Hooch outside. He came out giving me the “thumbs-up,” so in we went!
This was THE coolest place! It was a gift shop, and a wine bar all in one! They had comfy couches where we enjoyed a glass of wine.
If you have never had one of these donuts, you are definitely missing out! Dogs are not allowed inside this donut shop, but you can go in, and order your donut, and eat outside with your pup. They have THE most delicious donuts and so many flavors to choose from!
I chose the Morning Buzz and Brian chose the French Toast… YUM!!!
Cello has been St. Michael’s Crab and Steak House a couple of other times prior to this visit (October 2012, and November 2103)!! However, this was Hooch’s first time there.
This bar is SUPER dog friendly, the bartenders are awesome, and they make THE best Bloody Mary!
Cello at the bar in October 2012 for the first time, hanging out with the guys (Brian and Uncle Johnny):
The bartender took Cello with her behind the bar with her!
Cello at the bar in 2013:
Cello got her very own “drink” at the bar … the bartender brought her a celebratory water after she won first place in the Masters Division Dock Dogs competition at the Easton Waterfowl Festival in 2013!
LOVE this bartender!
Hooch’s first visit to St. Michaels Crab House, November 2014:
While visiting the town of St. Michaels for Cello’s Easton Waterfowl Dock Diving event, we visited Flying Fred’s!
Flying Fred’s is named after the owner’s Jack Russel Terrier, Fred, who began to accompany them to work at Five Gables Inn and Spa. The owners decided to open Flying Fred’s to display their love of animals through this pet boutique so that other animal lovers like themselves could enjoy the unique gifts and accessories.
The boutique is named after their Jack Russel Terrier, Fred, and his amazing jumping ability!
This was Hooch’s first shopping experience:
Cello and Hooch were both very excited about the toys and treats being purchased!
Cello was making sure the toys were handed over to HER:
We were very excited about the GSP ornament we found here!
In addition to a variety of pet treats, toys, accessories, gifts, and supplies, Flying Fred’s also hosts various events such as “Yappy Hour” on the 1st Friday of each month, the Jack Russell races, pooch porch parties, and more. Dogs are allowed inside, but must be under their owner’s control, leashed, and cleaned up after all times.
If you are every visiting St. Michaels with your pooch, a stop at Flying Fred’s is a must!
Right outside the store, in the sidewalk cement, we saw this (our initials!):
This 23-acre museum and park boasts incredible archaeology, and horticulture of the “lost town” of London. You can walk the Historic Area, which includes the William Brown House (circa 1760). This house is a National Historic Landmark!
There are also several reconstructed colonial buildings.
We chose not to wander the eight-acre Woodland Garden, and the seasonal Ornamental Gardens that overlook the South River. However, there are many different plants and flowers throughout the entire year. Click HEREto see what’s in bloom year-round.