Now that the hectic holiday season is over, it's time to book a getaway for the new year. If you received a new puppy for Christmas, or if you already own a dog, you needn't leave his behind. A number of inns and hotels - even high-end lodgings - welcome tail-wagging members of the family.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Although many hotels are advertised as "pet-friendly," some merely admit your pet and then shuffle you off to a cramped room or the annex. Avoid places that charge an extra nightly fee. You should, however, expect to accept responsibility in the event of damage.
Like you, your dog deserves creature comforts. Look for dog-centric services, large guest rooms and spacious grounds to walk and play.
BEFORE YOU GO
Make sure your dog is used to riding in a car. If this will be your pet's first longer road trip, you'll need to allay his anxiety.
Gradually desensitize him with short rides for positive reasons, like a fun walk in the park. Let him chomp on chew toys.
At home, practice for the journey by getting him accustomed to relaxing in a matted, well-ventilated crate. Praise and reward his cooperation. He may need the crate in hotels that prohibit dogs on the bed or left alone in the room uncrated.
WHAT TO BRING
To help Fido feel secure in strange surroundings, pack his familiar blanket or cushion, favorite toys, clothes, bowls and usual foods.
Add your home and vacation contact data to his collar tag and leash.
Remember medications, a brush, vet records, up-to-date vaccination papers (for interstate travel and hotel rules) and plastic bags for waste cleanup.
ON THE ROAD
For everyone's safety, restrain your dog in his crate or with a harness held by the seat belt.
Maintain a comfortable car temperature to avoid overheating or dehydration.
Keep your furry traveler's head inside the window to prevent eye and ear injury.
Feeding him a light meal before you leave home and minimal food while driving can help prevent tummy trouble. Also, bring a jug of water from home and slowly introduce him to local water along the way.
Take frequent rest stops and keep your dog on a firm leash so he won't bolt out of the car without you.
Here are some year-round destinations within a six-hour drive of New York that cater to four-legged guests and their two-legged companions.
The Lazy Dog Inn
201 White Mountain Hwy., Tamworth, N.H.
RATES $120-$190 (no fee for dogs)
FOR THE HUMANS This B&B is a restored 19th century farmhouse in the White Mountains region of Chocorua Lake. The six guest rooms and two suites have country decor, some with canopy beds. Bathrooms are private or shared, some with claw-foot tubs. President Franklin Roosevelt once stayed in the Little Fala room, named for his famous terrier. There is an enclosed porch, exercise room and living room with fireplace. Includes country breakfast. Human guests must be at least 14 years old.
FOR THE DOGS Stays at this inn, which has won pet-friendly B&B awards from BedandBreakfast.com, includes day care in the climate-controlled Doggie Lodge, where the staff exercises and plays with the animals. Each dog has its own run to enjoy while you are out, or for overnight. A fenced outdoor play area has jumps and a seesaw.
WHAT'S NEARBY Mount Washington Valley has 13 ski resorts. The villages of Madison, North Conway and Jackson offer dog-sledding, ice climbing, snowboarding, tubing and sleigh rides (mtwashington.org). From May to October, you can take a moose tour to spot wildlife along the Androscoggin River in Gorham (877-986-6673).
Nine Zero Hotel
90 Tremont St., Boston
FOR THE HUMANS This luxury boutique hotel is right downtown. Deluxe rooms have queen or king beds with Frette linens, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi and private baths with robes. Upper rooms have city views. Includes free wine reception nightly. Kids under 18 are free.
FOR THE DOGS The complimentary "In the Doghouse" package includes a designer welcome treat made especially for your dog, pet bowls and a doggy bed in your room. Pet-sitting, grooming, walking and massage are extra. Crates are recommended but not required - if you leave your dog alone, hang the "Dog in Room" sign on your doorknob.
WHAT'S NEARBY Head for the 50-acre dog-friendly Boston Common across the street. For fun, go to Peters Park, an off-leash dog park at Washington and East Berkeley Streets, where owners sometimes dress up their pooches. Although state law forbids dogs inside restaurants, they can accompany you in the Faneuil Hall food court. Come warmer weather, most eateries will seat you both on their outdoor patios. Meanwhile, your dog will lead you to Polka Dog Bakery, where he can choose his gourmet goodies or a made-to-order birthday cake at the counter (polkadog.com).
The Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast Inn
195 Main St., Montgomery Center, Vt.
FOR THE HUMANS This romantic Victorian B&B is a restored farmhouse on Trout River. Named after a cherished bulldog, the inn is decorated with antiques and dog-motif furnishings. Features include an outdoor hot tub, library, music room with baby grand piano, river sitting area, gardens with a gazebo and a fireplace room with stained-glass windows. Suites have one to two bedrooms - some units have full kitchens, Jacuzzi and fireplaces. Includes full gourmet breakfast, plus coffee and pastries all day.
FOR THE DOGS Dog beds, food and water bowls, special towels and treats are provided. So are dog-sitting and walking. The "Deluxe Dog Spa" package offers two nights in a suite, plus pet massage, grooming and other perks ($699.99). Come summer, dogs may swim in the river.
WHAT'S NEARBY Pubs, antique shops, craft artisans and restaurants with live music on the weekends are within walking distance. Jay Peak has 60 trails, plus the state's only aerial tram for panoramic mountain views (jaypeakresort.com). From spring to fall, canoe on Lake Memphremagog. The vast American folk art collection at the Shelburne Museum reopens in May (shelburnemuseum.org).
East 50th Street and Lexington Avenue, Manhattan
FOR THE HUMANS The boutique hotel, housed in a renovated 1927 building in midtown Manhattan, offers guests such luxe touches as their choice of 12 bed pillows (and a Sleep Concierge who can advise the indecisive) and specially designed mattresses.
FOR THE DOGS Pooches who check in under the hotel's "Dream Dogs" program are lavished with complimentary treats and use of a doggy bathrobe, food and water bowls during their stay. Their owners can request a dog bed from a menu of choices that include orthopedic and overstuffed options. Room service includes several varieties of homemade dog food. Services for dog-walking, day care - even a pet psychic session - can be arranged with the concierge.
WHAT'S NEARBY From Times Square and the Theater District to Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, the hotel is within walking distance of midtown's top draws. The hotel also has a list of pet-friendly eateries and activities.
READER'S PICK: The Paw House Inn and Resort at Mount Snow
West Dover, Vt.
WHY My husband and I are the proud owners of a beautiful and loving Samoyed dog, Glacia. When it came time to plan for a family vacation, we didn't want to leave her out of it.
Upon arrival, we were happily greeted by the gracious staff, and Glacia was (lavished) with welcoming gifts. The staff was so friendly and really made our stay enjoyable. Glacia loved playing at the dog park with other dogs throughout the day. She had her own bed in the room and treats were left for her each morning.
Overall, it was an interesting and unforgettable experience. Our pet was treated like royalty, which made us both happy. -- - Tara Nystrom, Holbrook
The Paw House Inn
145 Rte. 100, West Dover, Vt.
RATES $175-$315 (no extra fee for dogs)
FOR THE HUMANS Nestled on four valley acres in the Vermont State Forest, this resort features 18 tail-proofed guest rooms and suites named after famous canines. All have private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, cable TV, DVD, VCR, queen or king beds. Some rooms have a Jacuzzi, balcony, fireplace and garden views to accommodate two to four people with up to two dogs. Includes gourmet breakfast.
FOR THE DOGS Guest rooms have custom-built dog beds and complimentary homemade doggy treats. Since dogs may not be left unattended in your room, the rate includes unlimited use of Mario's Playhouse. This eco-friendly self-service doggy care facility, open 24/7, has radiant heated floors and individual runs. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the staff (including a dog trainer) can entertain four-leggers with games and agility training while their owners enjoy local dog-less activities. The TV is tuned to Animal Planet. Outside, hike the trails with your dog or watch him frolic unleashed in the Paw House Park.
WHAT'S NEARBY Head two miles to Mount Snow for skiing and snowmobiling (mountsnow.com). Shop the artsy villages of Newfane and Brattleboro. In quaint Wilmington, author-cartoonist Skip Morrow invites dogs and their owners to explore his Art of Humor gallery (skipmorrow.com).