The girls and I have finally recovered enough from a whirlwind trip to Vermont to be able to write about our adventures.
I mentioned yesterday that we'd driven part way on Thursday so that we could get to VT about the same time as my sister. However, while Rye and I were struggling to go back to bed on Friday morning, my sister texted to tell me that flight had been canceled. After some back and forth with the airline, she eventually got on a fight that got her to VT on Saturday morning.
One of our big plans for the weekend was to visit 6 different breweries to get a prize from the Vermont Brewer's passport challenge. We'd missed out on an afternoon of tasting, so in order to visit 6 breweries and do all of the other activities we'd planned, we had to get started right away. The girls and I picked up their Aunt L at the airport and drove straight to the Magic Hat Artifactory.
Even though the website said that the brewery opened at 10, they didn't actually open until 11, so we went down the street to a park and took a quick walk. Magic Hat allows dogs in the tasting room, but not on the walking tour of the brewery, so we stayed in the tasting room and the girls had a blast. For the most part, the girls sprawled on the floor in front of the bar between me and Aunt L. Rye is excellent at her default down and she'll lounge if she's on-leash and I'm not paying attention to her. Barley, on the other hand, is convinced that someone should be paying attention to her at all times, so she occasionally shifted positions any time a new person entered to see if she could lure them over. Several other beer fans came over and pet the girls--surprisingly, Rye even let some of them get more than a drive-by petting. Barley befriended one of the brewery employees who told her that her name was perfect for a brewery dog and she practically crawled in his lap while he squatted beside her and gave her a good butt scritch.
I've never found a Magic Hat beer that I loved--they always seem to underwhelm me, but this was by far our favorite brewery experience. The people behind the bar were so friendly and funny and the girls were so welcome and comfortable here.
After Magic Hat, we traveled into Burlington to checkout the waterfront and have lunch at the Vermont Pub and Brewery. This is where my anxiety went through the roof. First, we were stuck in traffic for ages--there was a farmer's market, which lead to road closures that upset my GPS and lots and lots of people wandering the streets (and not necessarily paying attention to crosswalks or don't walk signs). We also encountered several completely full parking lots and had to figure out a way out with other cars lining up behind us. When I get stressed in the car, Barley starts barking loudly, so that happened and I was ready to explode. Eventually, we found a parking garage and I pulled in and vowed never to leave until we were ready to be done exploring Burlington forever.
The garage was only .4 miles from the brewery, but it felt like it was a 10-mile walk. We had to weave through large groups of people with dogs and children--and there were no incidents. I'm not sure I breathed the entire time. If my sister wouldn't have been with us, we couldn't have done this, but she took Barley so I could hold onto Rye and we walked single file with Bar and Aunt L behind us. Bar pretty much kept her nose at my side, so any time we encountered a dog or child, I'd drop my hand down and stick a treat in her nose. We finally made it to the Vermont Pub and Brewery before I passed out from holding my breath.
When we walked up, there were a ton of small round tables with people crowded in on top of each other. I was pretty sure we'd be able to order and appetizer and a sample of beer before the dogs were over the experience. I'm not sure what kind of magic my sister worked, but somehow when she went up to see if there was a dog-friendly table for us, the host took us around a corner to a large picnic table with a wall beside and behind us and several feet between us and the next table. They brought out a bowl of water and the girls laid down under the table. Rye wanted to look around and attracted the attention of a little boy--whose parents did not leave their table as he ran up to my dog. As long as I kept my hand on Bar's collar, she was fine (although I could feel a slight rumbling coming from her) and Rye humored the kid for a bit, but she eventually got tired of him and ducked under the table after barking at him (which still didn't prompt his parents to get up). I also wanted to bark at him because I couldn't hold Bar's collar and give Rye treats and drink my beer and eat my french fries at the same time. I don't think any of us were sad to see his parents finish their meal and get up to leave.
Our waitress was very sweet and asked if she could pet Rye before she took our order so that they'd be familiar with each other before she started bringing things to our table. Rye sniffed her and let her give her a couple pats. I assumed she didn't want to disturb Barley's nap under the table, but in reality Barley was so good and quiet that the waitress didn't even notice her! I left the girls with Aunt L while I ran into the bathroom, so the girls emerged from under the table to keep an eye out for my return, and when I got back, my sister told me the waitress had asked her if there had always been two dogs!
My sister and I attempted to visit Otter Creek Brewing because they have Berners on the label and those faces look like Barley faces, so I wanted to get some beer swag with a little eyebrowed dog face on it. The Otter Creek website says that you can bring dogs, but that they have to be tied up outside of the patio area although you can get up from the table to check on them at any time. I knew the girls wouldn't be ok with that arrangement, so they stayed at the apartment while we drove over an hour to get there. Unfortunately, when we got there, they were closed for a private event, but we were able to get some bottles and cans at a craft beer store in another town so we could still try the beer.
|We'll definitely be making some beer art out of this box!|
The girls and I had tried to visit Switchback Brewing while we waited on my sister to make it to Vermont, but as soon as we opened the door, some off-leash dogs started running out the door to greet us with a person running behind us saying, "They're friendly!" We turned around and walked away because I knew that I wouldn't be able to enjoy any beer if I had to spend the whole time managing my dogs and other people's dogs. Thankfully, most people we encountered kept their dogs on-leash and as we walked through the crowded streets of Burlington, people even asked if it was ok for their dogs to say hi and listened when I said no.
There were a few other dog-friendly breweries we wanted to try, but after our Switchback experience, I didn't want to try them without my sister's help and we could only visit so many breweries in the 48 hours we had together. (We did manage to get the 6 we needed to get our prize!) After their two Vermont brewery visits, my little brew dogs both have 3 breweries on their list of life experiences and I think we're all looking forward to adding more to that list!
Stay tuned for our next post on more traditional dog experiences--the Vermont trails!