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Travel With Your Canine in California

By Peter Greenberg

Can’t wait for your next trip, but are miserable at the idea of leaving your best friend behind?

traveling dog catching air - photo by Danijel Juricev

After all, who better to experience long walks on the beach with – or snuggling up on the terrace to watch the sunset with – than your pooch (especially when no meaningful conversation is expected)?

If you’ve got to get away, but can’t bear the sad look from those puppy dog eyes, maybe it’s time for a little getaway that includes Fido, too. The following are some canine-friendly cities that offer more unusual treats to lure both of you for a visit.


“But my dog doesn’t drink,” you argue. No worries. While you’re lapping up
the region’s top-notch wine, your canine pal will have plenty of things to


Cuvaison Winery
4550 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, California

Well-behaved dogs on leashes are allowed to join you in the small tasting
room and in the three outdoor picnic areas.

Clos Du Val Winery
5330 Silverado Trail, Napa, California 94558

Dogs on leashes are allowed in the enormous tasting room and on the property


Hillcrest Country Inn
3225 Lake County Hwy, Calistoga, California

Host Debbie O’Gorman runs this country home with her three dogs, Taz, Debo
and Bamboo, who are friendly and welcoming to other canine friends. The
antique-filled home is located on a hilltop with an unbeatable view of Napa
Valley. You and your pup can romp around the 36-acre property where there is
swimming, hiking and fishing, and then he has the option of staying in your
room or in a large outdoor kennel.

Beazley House Bed & Breakfast Inn
1910 First Street, Napa, California

You’ll be able to play with resident Golden Retrievers Sissy and Autumn
Beazley in this downtown Napa inn, and you’ll even receive a doggie welcome
basket with a bowl, doggie beer, bones and cleanup baggies. Three rooms open
out into the gardens, and there is a $25 per day per dog charge, with a
maximum of two dogs per room.


540 Main Street, Napa, California

This gourmet French restaurant allows dogs on leashes in their outdoor
patio, and will provide water and treats while you dine.

Bistro Don Giovonni
4110 Saint Helena Hwy, Napa, California

This laid-back Mediterranean restaurant (it’s the sister to San Francisco’s
Scala Bistro) allows dogs in their outdoor tables, but please call ahead to
inform the staff.

Los Angeles already has a reputation for being a dog-friendly city, but its neighbor down south is making steps to become the next hot dog spot in
Southern California. Long Beach is a coastal city that has recently opened three acres of its beach in Belmont Shore as an off-leash area. “The
Dog Zone” visitors must follow the rules- only one dog per adult, and pooper-scoopers are a must. The Dog Zone starts at 4800 E. Ocean Blvd., between Roycroft and Argonn streets.

Also in Long Beach is the very active Haute Dogs organization, which
arranges several doggie-centered events in Belmont Shore all year long. The
Haute (pronounced “hot”) Dog Easter Parade features hundreds of dogs
marching along in bonnets and Easter outfits, while the Howl’oween Parade
and Canine Costume Contest that includes an adoption fair, a bulldog kissing
booth; and a dancing dog demonstrations. If that’s not doggone wacky enough,
stick around Long Beach for the Haute Dog poetry contest and bulldog beauty

Several restaurants and shops along the busy Second Street in Belmont Shore
offer water bowls to welcome pets. Pet-friendly accommodations are rather
scarce (you may be better off making Long Beach doggie festivities part of a
day trip), but you can try the following:

Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, a luxury hotel that welcomes dogs of any size
for a $75 non-refundable fee. 111 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, 562-437-5900

Peter Greenberg is a preeminent expert on travel. His focus is on the journey, providing insider’s tips and recommendations to an increasingly savvy and demanding traveler. Peter is also author of The New York Times best-selling series, The Travel Detective, which uncovers secrets the airline, hotel, cruise and rental car industries don’t want consumers to know. Check out Travel Tips for more insider information.

Inns and Bed and Breakfasts – Are They For Everybody?

By Cliff Calderwood

Inns are a delightful alternative to hotels and resorts. They can be just the right ticket for your vacation, providing you understand how they work and function.

Are they for everybody?

No, they’re not. But here’s the answers to some basic questions to determine if it’s the type of accommodation that’ll work for you…


Let’s start by clearing up any confusion on the differences between inns and bed and breakfasts. And it’s not so much in the name as how they advertise themselves.

Firstly, there’s no difference in accommodation. The charm of a bed and breakfast can be every bit as good as the personality of an inn. The difference is the prepared meals. A bed and breakfast is just that… expect a bed and a breakfast, but you’re on your own for dinner. But at inns, they’re set-up to provide dinner as well, although it’s usually an option, and not included in the quoted price. The listing will be very clear if dinner is offered. But assume its just bed and breakfast if nothing is mentioned.

In many areas of the world inns and bed and breakfasts are also called guesthouses.


When an inn says kids are welcome, then you’d better believe they really mean they’re kid friendly. Now there’s nothing wrong with that (I have three myself), but don’t expect too much peace and quiet and solitude.

You’ll find a number of listings that put age restriction on children. For example they’ll say something like: 12 or older, or above 6-years old. They’re not being mean. It’s just these places are also catering to a single or couple looking for a chance to unwind and free of noise and high activity. If you’ve got high-action kids then bed and breakfasts may not be ideal for your family.


Staying in inns is very different than staying at a hotel. You shouldn’t expect a country inn to be like a Sheraton, with hordes of staff at your beck and call, and soundproof walls. Also, having a party and playing loud music after 11:00pm won’t win you any brownie points with your host or the other guests.

Remember… the innkeeper or host is there to provide you, and other guests, with a unique experience in unique surroundings, but to do that they’ll need your understanding.


Your host will go out of their way to greet you when you check-in. Usually when you reserve you’ll be told when their normal check-in period is. But most can accommodate you arrivals outside those hours.

But you need to let them know if you’ll be late so they can arrange for you to get into the house (yes, the doors are locked after a certain hour), and to your room. It’s one thing to show up at midnight at your hotel – they’re staffed round the clock – but it’s entirely another matter to roll-in after 11:00pm at an inn, and expect your host to get out of bed and greet you smiling.


You bet you can!

Just like hotels the room rate for inns is negotiable. The main difference is unlike a hotel, the person on the other end of a phone is usually the owner of the bed and breakfast, and they can make the decision on the spot. All you have to do is ask in a nice way.

Just remember the innkeeper may only have a few rooms to begin with anyway, and if your haggling over the last room then don’t be offended if it’s no dice on a price reduction. But on the other hand one room of a four-room inn without a paying guest reduces a host’s profit by 25%. So it’s always worth asking for a reduction!


Off-peak travel will save you a bundle.

Most inns can book their weekend’s months in advance. But filling the rooms during the week, particularly off-season, is much more difficult. You’ll get the best deals for bed and breakfasts traveling mid-week and out of season. Now contrast this with hotels that have the opposite problem, because they cater to the mid-week business traveler, but can’t get people in rooms at the weekends.

I love staying in inns. They’ve a lot going for them. Inns are usually very affordable, offer tons more variety than a bland hotel room, and are a great way to meet fellow travelers or vacationers. You’ll find web sites devoted to inn and bed and breakfast listings now – so crank up Yahoo or Google and get searching… and saving!

About the Author

Cliff Calderwood is the owner and contributing writer of the New England vacations guide . You can read more about New England inns and get a free travel report at his New England vacation site.

Great Vacations To Napa Valley Can Be Found Online

By Dominic Ferrara

When planning Napa Valley travel, you should understand the key areas that make up the majority of Napa Valley. Calistoga, St. Helena, Oakville/Rutherford, Yountville, and Napa are towns that offer winery tours, pleasant accommodations, and other activities that tourists can add to their Napa Valley travel itinerary. As Napa Valley is well known for its wine, adults will find plenty to do, but children may not be quite as thrilled.

Calistoga became popular in the early 1800’s when settlers discovered the amazing restorative properties of the area’s natural hot springs. From that day forward, tourists arranging their Napa Valley Travel itinerary, and who are seeking a little rest and relaxation, have flocked to Calistoga. Harbin Hot Springs is a non-profit organization that offers relaxing Napa Valley travel choices. At Harbin Hot Springs, guests can relax in any of the resort’s natural springs, attend artistic workshops, or stroll the 1700 acres of impressive landscape.

Located in St. Helena, Beringer Vineyards is California’s oldest winery in full operation. Founded in 1876, Beringer offers daily tours and wine tastings for a very affordable price. The vineyard is packed with lush landscaping and historic buildings. St. Helena is also a haven for antique shoppers. The area’s extravagant Meadowood golf course will appeal to the avid golfer. Couples needing a mix of activities on their Napa Valley travel itinerary will enjoy St. Helena.

Any movie buff knows the name Francis Ford Coppola. Formerly known as the Niebaum-Coppola Vineyards, Rubicon Estate in Oakville/Rutherford continues to produce top-notch wines. Rubicon Estate offers special estates throughout the year. The St. Helena Olive Oil Company is another “must see” on many Napa Valley travel itineraries. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are both produced daily and can be sampled in the retail section of the company.

Yountville, California is no more than one mile in length. Tourists love adding Yountville to their Napa Valley travel plans because the town can be seen by foot. Park your car, put on some comfortable shoes, and see the sites. Amazing architecture is only one of the rewards. France’s Moet and Chandon sister company, Domaine Chandon, is located in Yountville. Daily tours of the winery that specializes in sparkling wines are free. While a trip into the tasting room lets you enjoy a few samples.

In Napa, La Belle Époque remains a highly requested bed and breakfast. Romantics of all ages book rooms at this gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian months in advance. The Wineries of Napa Valley is a unique organization that offers samplings from many of Napa Valley’s wine makers. The Wineries of Napa Valley sells a wine tasting card that allows ten-cent initial samplings from each winery in the establishment.

Whether you are arranging a romantic Napa Valley travel plan or wanting to explore the world of winemaking, Napa Valley is a lavish option. Though the area can be a little on the pricey side, Napa Valley travel plans create a lasting memory.

About the Author

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