A Dog-Friendly Weekend at the Spruce Moose Lodge
Tail wagging fun in New Hampshire's Mt Washington Valley
One of the joys of having a dog in the family is that you have a companion who thrills to the little things in life – a spoonful of peanut butter, a squirrel running across the fence, a chance to get an energetic tummy rub. When traveling to a place of outdoor fun, like North Conway, in the heart of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley, it’s easy to imagine how much fun a dog could have, romping up and down hillsides, snooting through piles of pine needles, and dipping all four feet into icy streams. With that much fun in store for our favorite friends, it’s natural to want to bring Rover along.
We recently had a visit to the North Conway and stayed with Leon and Nellie Filip… and their three dogs, Whitman, Lilly, and Jed at the Spruce Moose Lodge. They welcome visiting dogs and their humans (even humans without dogs), providing a cozy and quiet cottage or room in the Lodge. The cottages have kitchenettes, and some have Jacuzzi tubs. Especially friendly and quiet dogs can stay in the lodge, in a room that has a private outdoor entrance.
The expansive main room of the Lodge has a corner here and there perfect for reading that book that somehow keeps getting put off until someday later, a gathering of couch and chairs that invites visitors to play board games near the fire, and plenty of tables for the delicious breakfast. And a very delicious breakfast – Leon and Nellie had run a popular diner in Concord before buying the Spruce Moose Lodge, so they know to make a country breakfast to remember.
Then, fueled up, it’s time for an adventure with Rover.
Cranmore Mountain is just around the corner from the Spruce Moose lodge. It’s covered with snow in the winter, but in the summer, it’s an adventureland, for young and old humans, including zip lines and lift rides to the summit. But that kind of fun isn’t very dog friendly – Rover would prefer romping along the trails in the nearby national forests, or perhaps even climbing Mount Washington.
The Mount Washington’s hiking trails are most accessible from Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center, a half hour drive from the Lodge. Even without scaling the entire 6288-foot height of the highest mountain in New Hampshire, the White Mountain National Forest offers 750,000 acres of woodlands for Rover to explore.
More sedate dogs might enjoy window shopping along North Conway’s downtown. Of course, for dogs, it’s more about meeting people and smelling stuff, but that’s an adventure from Rover’s point of view. And why not – famous Zeb’s general store is just a couple blocks away from the Spruce Moose Lodge.
You can take Rover to the Settler’s Green Outlet Village – many of the shops are pet-friendly, posting stickers on the doors where dogs are welcome, or even better, a two-mile hike from the Spruce Moose Lodge brings Rover to shopping that dogs will enjoy. Four Your Paws Only is a pet store and bakery that gives a special discount to Leon and Nellie’s guests. Dog-friendly treats, outdoor gear like backpacks and collapsible water bowls, and practically-indestructible Lupine collars and leashes are all great reasons to bring Rover shopping. Humans can pick out their own dog-themed clothing, before returning to exploring with Rover.
After hiking and shopping, why not dinner?
Of course there are plenty of options in North Conway, but sticking with the dog theme, dinner at The Sea Dog Tavern seems appropriate. The Sea Dog Tavern isn’t dog friendly, but it’s people friendly, especially for hungry people — it has creative pub fare and seafood. The tavern is one of a chain with several other Sea Dog Taverns in Maine and Florida, all of them featuring craft beers made on-site. For those who can’t decide, they offer an 8-beer sampler.
Then, after being well fed, it’s time to return to the Spruce Moose Lodge – quilts, comfy bed, and tomorrow’s breakfast awaits.
Spruce Moose Lodge — sprucemooselodge.com
Cranmore Mountain — www.cranmore.com
Settler’s Green Outlet Mall — www.settlersgreen.com
Four Your Paws Only — www.fouryourpawsonly.com
Sea Dog Tavern — www.seadogbrewing.com