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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Virginia is for Dog Lovers

By Carol Bryant
Social Media and PR Director, Writer/Blogger
FIDO Friendly magazine

courtesy C. Bryant
Dexter Pays Homage to
Those Lain to Rest at Arlington

Sightsee. Shop. Salute. Sniff. Stay. Something for the two-legged and four-legged variety all rolled up into one heart-shaped slogan. You already know this state loves you, but did you know Virginia is for dog lovers, too? Prestigious enough to earn itself a recent spot on Madi­son Avenue’s Walk of Fame in Manhattan, the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” pertains to Fido and his guardians. Pack up the leash­es, water bowls and lip balm and pucker up for a love affair with a state so Fido friendly , you’ll be barking to return time and again.

Amidst glorious mountains and sandy beaches, Virginia offers a historic vista to our country’s origin, as many of our national conflicts found resolution here. Arlington National Cemetery, located in the northern part of the state, is the final resting place of more than 300,000 people. Beginning with the American Revolution, veterans from each of our nation’s wars along with astronauts, sports figures and dignitaries are buried in Arlington. The tree-lined walkways and pristine grounds reflect a silent dignity while exploring, paying homage and saluting this sentimental landscape. Of special interest, the Tomb of the Un­knowns is guarded 24 hours a day, year-round, by the elite 3rd US Infantry. Plan a tour and locate must-see gravesites by visiting the official website at

Take the road less traveled and rest weary paws on a real working farm. Coupled with the modern conveniences one anticipates on vacation, Elmo's Rest is a nineteenth century farmhouse located on 250 acres of land at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pri­vate simplicity is housed within this 1900s-style structure boasting its own apple orchard, winery, farm animals (cattle, horses, pigs, goats) and access to breathtaking walking and hiking trails. During the month of July, check out their Horse & Hound Wine Festival. For both the young and young at heart (of the human and Fido variety), agility dogs, muskrat racing, a horse parade and wine tasting are offered against the backdrop of the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains. Shop and sniff amongst the many food, art and crafts vendors while listening to live entertainment. (Is this a love affair in the making?)

In Fairfield—nestled on 38 acres at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains—is the Fox Hill Bed & Breakfast. Enjoying the many walking trails and playing Frisbee with Fido in one of the meadows is made extra easy by the B&B’s three outdoor washing stations, complete with doggie shampoo and towels. In the vicinity, leashed dogs are welcome at Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden featuring 7,000 trees and shrubs on 15 acres. Remember the days gone by of outdoor movie theaters? In the spring and summer, take in a double feature at nearby Hull’s Drive- In, where the entire pack can watch the stars both on the screen and in the sky.

courtesy C. Bryant
Carol Bryant and Dexter
 at Arlington National Cemetery
Overlooking Washington D.C.
Sniff out a bargain with your two best friends, Fido and a charge card, about two hours from Fairfield at Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond. Described as a “dog-friendly center,” many of the more than 90 stores at this unique open-air mall welcome your four-legged bargain hunter (designated with a “welcome dog” sticker in their front windows). An eclectic blend of stores in an intimate, park-like setting offers Fido-friendly pit stop areas and clean-up supplies to enhance any shopping excursion.

But don’t drop after shopping; have a bark in the park and let Fido channel his inner vacation  puppy. Virginia is home to several dog parks, one boasting the distinction of “Best New Fa­cility in Virginia” award. Located in the heart of the Hampton Roads region and conveniently located within driving distance of Virginia Beach, the Chesapeake City Park welcomes larger and smaller dogs in two separate play areas.

It is written that falling in love is the easy part, but staying in love is the challenge. Whether you choose to explore Virginia’s mountains and beaches, historical sites and exhibits and take lodging amidst the country air or city lights, this is one canine love affair you’ll long remember.

Read more FIDO Friendly destination and health/wellness articles and get the latest and greatest in where to go with your pooch at: FIDO Friendly magazine.
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