Pack the ski gear, load the car and head North, just don’t forget to bring the dog. Because this New England ski trip is pet friendly not just pet tolerant. Too many times in the past we have cut our ski trips short because of the dog. This weekend that changed when we drove into Jackson NH with our dog’s head happily hanging out the window. Jackson sits in the center of New Hampshire’s ski country and happens to have one of the most pet friendly bed and breakfast inns I have come across thus far. So pack your snowshoes, skis, snowboards or cross-country gear because here is a dog friendly New England winter vacation for the “Whole Family”.
First A Little More About Dog Friendly Jackson New Hampshire
Jackson is a quaint New England Ski town which sits in the center of New Hampshire’s ski country and the White Mountains. Jackson is most widely known for its world-class network of x-country trails of which one center sits right in the middle of town. Jackson is also accessible to most of New Hampshire’s down hill skiing as well. Ski Resorts such as Wildcat and Attitash are just around the corner. For the hardcore, the legendary “Tuckerman’s Ravine” is just nine miles up the road. Jackson also happens to have one of the most pet friendly inns you could ask for.
The Village House, A Very Pet Friendly Bed and Breakfast
The Village House is a very pet friendly bed and breakfast in the heart of Jackson NH. The innkeepers are Sally and John Partoon who run a wonderful bed and breakfast where bringing your dog on a ski trip is a wonderful experience.
Two years ago Sally and John Partoon moved from England when they purchased the 150 year old colonial inn bringing their daughter Rebecca and Staffordshire Terrier “Jack” along for the journey. Since then they have been restoring the buildings and making friends with dog owners from Boston and beyond.
Now if you read my article on how the Liberty Hotel in Boston defines pet-friendly you will understand I have very high standards for the moniker pet friendly. Far too many businesses call themselves pet friendly whilst merely achieving pet tolerant. Sally and John Partoon absolutely go out of their way to accommodate pet owners and their companions on vacation.
Anyone who has traveled with their dogs knows there are times where fido needs to be left behind. Sometimes being left in a strange room is a little unsettling for dogs, if not their owners. At the Village House Sally and John will watch over your dog while you are out enjoying dinner or while at the ski mountain.
After joining Sally and John for cocktails in the parlor while our dogs played. (kinda like the dog park, except cocktails and a warm fire) we realized if anything should come up they were more than able to take care of our dog. I can’t tell you how relaxing it is to know your dog is in good hands while you are enjoying yourself. We noticed this sense of security in the other guests as well; most of which have stayed at the Village House in the past.
It is the care of your dog while you are out that truly defines the level of service at the Village House Inn. Even if you are going skiing or snowboarding for the day, you can arrange for the Partoons to pet sit your dog. Pet sitting can range from just taking the dog out for a few walks during the day to letting the dog hang out in the office with them and their dog. If you are really lucky you can hire their daughter Rebecca to play with your dog all day for the tidy sum of $5 dollars a day. This even includes arts and crafts where Rebecca and your dog may make paw print cards together. Try and find that in Boston, for $5.
Some readers might be thinking at this point; With all these dogs, what about the hair, drool and barking? When we checked in we found a spotless room in a quiet inn. The industry standard for cleaning a room is evidently 30-45 minutes. The Partoons take anywhere from 1-2 hours per room, cleaning each one for the next guest who may well be part of the 30% who do not have dogs or might have an allergy. They strip and clean everything leaving me to believe if 20/20 came here to film with their black lights they would have found clean bedspreads for once.
In the end, what you will find is a bed and breakfast inn nestled in a little New England ski village where your dog is as welcome as you are. This inn is run by a gracious British family who will go out of their way to make sure you and your dog have everything your need. You will find 70% of the guests have dogs as well. This makes for great conversation in the parlor as dogs play and new friends are made. One thing I noticed was a surprisingly high percentage of other guests I had met have come for years. One couple was staying here while skiing Sunday River during the day, Sunday River is about forty minutes away. I would argue that says a lot about a place.
Nordic XC Skiing With Your Dog, Skijoring
Just up the road the Bear Notch Ski Touring Center has all of its 65km network of groomed dog friendly trails. They were also voted the most scenic XC ski area in NH with a good portion of their trails running along the river and frozen waterfalls. You will also find lessons, rentals of Nordic ski equipment and snowshoes. If you are looking to explore the sport of dog skijoring this will be a great place to start.
Nordic or XC skiing is a great way for both you and the dog to cover some ground. The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is located at the center of town. They do have the largest trail system, however only 5km are open to dogs. The rest of the system you will have to explore on your own.
Downhill Ski Mountains, Ski While The Dogs Play
When you go back out through the covered bridge by the Village House if you make a right you will find the Wildcat Ski Mountain just up the road; make a left and you will quickly find the Attitash. Or would you like to go to Black Mountain, Cranmore, Loon, Bretton Woods? One couple we met staying at the inn spent the day at Sunday River in Maine. It only took them forty minutes to get there. Heck, I have spent forty minutes looking for parking on Newbury Street. I created a little Google Map to help you get an idea where things are located.
Regardless, while you are skiing and enjoying yourself, John and Sally will watch over the dog. You ski, the dog plays and at the end of the day you and the dog can discuss who is more tired.
Snowshoe and Hiking
If you really want to break away from the rest of society head over to the Tin Mountain Conservation where you and your dog can beat your own path through the wild. John and Sally at the Village House can help point you in the right direction if you want to go snowshoeing with your dog. The Tin Mountain Field Station Trails navigate 211 acres of forest, 40 acres of fields and four ponds; bring a compass.
Now don’t forget The Village House sits on five acres and has a riverfront beach. The beach is more of a summertime thing where you and your dog can go for a swim. You will find your dog’s beach towel rolled up on their dog bed when you check in.
And if you really want to attack one of the legendary mountains of New England, Tuckerman Ravine is up the road a bit. If you want to ski it you have to hike it first; just make sure you know what you are getting into before you go. Tuckerman Ravine is a fantastic place to take your dog for a hike and a swim during the summer months.
Eating Out, Even With Your Dog
Believe it or not, the Wildcat Tavern in Jackson dog’s are invited to dinner on a Tuesday nights. At the Wildcat there is both a patio garden, where your dog can come along in the summer months, or a cozy bar with a fireplace in the winter. Otherwise, while you are out to dinner John and Sally are back at the The Village House taking care of business.
A few miles away from Jackson you will find plenty of shopping opportunities in North Conway. I am not going to delve into going shopping in this article but just thought I would mention it.
Although if you need supplies for your dog while on your trip; Four Your Paws Only located in North Conway. They have a range of dog foods if you run out. They also have a nice selection of dog toys, coats and leashes etc… You will also find a dog treat bakery and doggie ice cream bar.
The Nearest Veterinary Hospital
If things do go wrong and your dog becomes sick or injured the North Country Animal Hospital has two locations one just North in Gorham and the other just South in North Conway.
Adding More Dog Friendly Skiing
I hope you enjoyed this article. I have to say I am shocked by the amount of research and time spent putting this little guide to dog friendly skiing in New Hampshire together. We are not done though, as I learn about and visit more places in this area I will add them to this article. You can expect an article on going skiing in Vermont as well. Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions or things you feel I might have missed.
Otherwise, have fun and go something fun with your dog this weekend; your dog is waiting for you….
I would like to thank Sally for the pictures in the gallery below…