Katouche and I set out for the Berkshires for some serious forest bathing and exploring. When I started researching places to visit with my dog, I couldn’t get over how much there was to do… a dog-friendly museum?! Restaurants with a dog menu?! Amazing hotels that pamper your pooch?! I could barely contain myself. We did a straight shot down Route 2 with a nice little stop at Shelbourne Falls to see the Bridge of Flowers.
Once we got into North Adams, we took a trip up to The Natural Bridge State Park to see the only white marble arch in all of North America. Don’t be fooled if you see a sign that says that the park is closed for the season. If that sign is there, it just means you can’t drive up. It was only about a 10 minute walk up to the abandoned quarry which was a beautiful meadow lined with birch trees.
From there, you have to walk up a steep flight of wooden stairs to get to the Bridge. Keep your dog on a leash for safety. While most of it is fenced, there are some precarious drops. We walked along the walkways that went on each side of the bridge and it was just amazing to see the beautiful formations created when water cuts through rock and shapes the land over millions of years. We sat at the picnic table and had a sandwich we had grabbed from the little Mom and Pops place down the street called Linda’s Cafe. We only stayed there for about an hour. Katouche enjoyed having a dip in the river on our way back.
Next we headed to the Museum of Dog which was lovingly created by David York. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to bring Katouche with me so I called ahead and they assured me that not only are dogs welcome, but they can run around off leash! I couldn’t believe my pup was running around an original William Wegman or jumping on their nice settee but it was encouraged and the staff couldn’t have been more kind. They gave me a tour around the museum which had bowls of water and yummy treats around to keep the dogs happy.
I loved hearing about David’s story of how he adopted a little dog named Sophie who had been found chained to a tree in the woods. It’s amazing how a chance encounter can steer your life in a whole new direction. The museum is made up of art and antiques he has purchased over the years as well as gifts that have been given to him. Just as we were about to leave, David himself walked in the door. He was so wonderful to talk to and his passion for all things dog is so evident. They have great plans to add to the museum- a cafe, easels by the river for kids to paint their pets, and fully restoring the building back to it’s former glory. I can’t wait to go back and see what they have accomplished. This is a must- see for any dog lover.
We checked into our hotel, The Porches Inn, which was so amazing, it deserves a post of its own! Since dogs were not allowed at the Mass MoCA, Katouche rested comfortably in the hotel room and dined on the bowl of bones they had left for him.
For dinner, I had to check out a dog- friendly restaurant I had heard about in the neighboring town of Williamstown. The ‘6 House Pub has welcomed some famous visitors such as Paul Newman, Mary Tyler Moore, Angela Lansbury, Count Basie and it is even where Chistopher Reeve met his soon-to-be wife, Dana. It was only a 10 minute drive and it was well worth it to sit out on their patio and try their beer sampler. Our waiter brought us a bowl of water for the dog and- get this- his very own DOG MENU. Seriously, I couldn’t believe it. He recommended the gourmet meatballs. I thought my dog would devour them but when they were placed in front of him, he just looked up at me like it was some kind of trick. I ended up having to cut it up for him and serve it to him piece by piece. Who knew I had such a proper dog. They were so nice there, they even offered to give him a different meal if he didn’t like it.
The next morning we set out to hike to the Cascades Waterfall. It was a little confusing because you can no longer park at the trail head. They want you to park at the YMCA and walk through a small residential area to get there. Just follow the blue blazes and you will be there in 10 minutes. The hike along the river was really beautiful and the reward of the waterfall at the end was just amazing. It only took about 20 minutes each way. It was an easy hike, but there are a long of trip hazards (roots and rocks) if that is a concern.
Back in town, we visited this great pet store called Bark N Cat. The owner was so nice and lavished Katouche with treats. He loved the Sojos freeze dried turkey treats so much, we left with a whole bag. It is a perfect place to get your pup something to keep him busy in the hotel room or long car ride.
Our last walk of the day was along the Hoosic River. You can park at Noel Field by the skate park and walk down to the riverbank. It’s a flat grassy path and while it is a beautiful view, you have to listen to the sounds coming from the scrap metal yard across the river. It is one mile if you walk down and back again.
I don’t know who loved the Berkshires more- me or my dog! It was such a nice relaxing time. We really just wandered and took in the views. The Porches is definitely the place to stay and I can not wait to get back there!