This article first appeared in the July 24, 2014 edition of the Vermont Standard.
If you like pets, you may be living in the right place.
Woodstock was named one of the top U.S. towns for dogs by gopetfriendly.com — a website that lists pet-friendly hotel and campground information so vacationers can plan ahead.
Woodstock was one of eight cities that were voted by gopetfriendly.com users in an annual reader survey. The site mentions the 20 miles of dog friendly carriage roads at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park and Sugarbush Farm, which allows you to tour the sugar house with a dog.
The village seems to embrace its pet owners. Downtown businesses like Lang McLaughry Real Estate leave water bowls outside of their shops and allow pets to go inside on a leash.
“I like seeing the pets. Pets are more than welcome in the office,” said Eric Johnston of Lang McLaughry, who sometimes brings his Labradoodle to work with him. “I see a lot of dogs come by and drink out of my bowl quite a bit.”
The Woodstock Pharmacy and banks have dog treats for customers and nearly every downtown store allows dogs to go in on a leash.
“It’s one of the nicest things about the town as far as I’m concerned,” said Woodstock Pharmacy Technician Wendy Rogers.
The Kedron Valley Inn is the only place in Woodstock listed on gopetfriendly. com as a pet-welcoming inn. The inn has allowed dogs to stay for at least the past four years — but only in one of its buildings. Recent guests from Arizona missed their four-legged companions when they saw Woodstock.
“Their first comment was, ‘We should have brought our dogs,’” said General Manager Luke Underwood.
But resident Toni Richie “would dispute” Woodstock’s 2014 claim to fame, she said.
“The town needs to do more,” she said.
Richie approached the village Trustees about a year ago about establishing a dog park in Woodstock so dogs could roam off-leash.
“So we can live up to that name of a dog friendly city,” Richie said.
The Trustees put the idea on hold due to the lack of land in Woodstock.
A village ordinance requires all dogs on public property to be on leashes.
“I think the people are pet friendly — the ordinances are not,” Richie said.
Other top dog vacations spots mentioned on the website include Bar Harbor, Maine, Bend, Oregon, Cape San Blas, Florida, Camel California, Nantucket, Massachusetts, Portland, Oregon and San Diego, California.
Photo by Mark Curran, South Woodstock