Living in New York City, like many other urban areas, can be hard for dog parents looking to enjoy some outdoor time with their pups. In the summer, it can seem like you are living in a concrete jungle, with little grass, not a lot of running space and restrictions on places you can bring your dog. Ugh.
But taking off for a road trip with your dogs can also be a bit stressful, as not every vehicle is ideal for traveling with your pooches. There are the ones that too high, making it hard for pups jump into the car. And then here ones that are too small, making you feel like you are on top of each other.
So, when we had the opportunity to drive a Buick Regal TourX for a “Petaway,” with our dogs Milo, a pit bull mix, and Lola, our senior husky mix, we jumped at the chance. The Buick adventure was to the North Branch Inn in the Catskills in upstate New York. About two hours away from our bustling borough of Brooklyn, the area is a great escape for city dwellers — especially dog parents — looking for a break.
Taking trip up there was pretty seamless. The Buick TourX is literally the perfect height for dogs to just hop in the back. We laid down the seats, put a nice, cozy orthopedic bed in the back (which Milo hogged the entire way) and added our luggage. The car was roomy enough that everything fit, including our dogs – one being 35 pounds and the other 55 pounds.
We were off! Our dogs loved putting their heads out the window, taking in all the new scents and watching the world pass them by.
We are very fortunate that both are dogs are acclimated to traveling: Lola has gone with us cross country and Milo has a weird obsession with car trips. However, if they weren’t, it would be important to prepare them for our adventure.
“When traveling by car, make sure your pet is acclimated to the car by taking shorter trips beforehand,” says Dr. Mark Verdino, the Chief of Veterinary Staff at rescue organization North Shore Animal League America.“In general, they tend to acclimate. If not, speak with their vet to discuss medication for motion sickness.”
While the drive was beautiful and literally a breath of fresh air, for those people, including myself, who have a small addiction to their phone and the web, it was a nice perk that the TourX had Wifi. I tried it out, tuning into Dog TV. While it was able to stream videos, Milo and Lola were not really into it.
Once there, it was heaven.
The North Branch Inn is situated on five acres and consists of only 14 rooms, divided in to three houses. Each house has an old, warm feel to it, with luxury amenities like lush towels, a claw foot, soft linens and wood furniture. (There is no TV, electronics or clocks in the room, which is very refreshing.)
Our room sat on the first floor and opened up to the North Branch Inn’s garden, where Erik Kinealy-Hill, the executive chef, gathers much of his ingredients for the menu at the Inn’s restaurant.
Past it there was a well-maintained field where our dogs could run offleash to their little hearts’ content. Literally, they were so happy, which of course, made me so happy.
We were the only ones out there and took great advantage of the grassy area – running around, playing chase and walking to the creek where they took a dip into the water.
Back inside, the dogs crashed – hard.
Night time included an amazing dinner at the North Branch Inn’s sister location, the Arnold House. I had fresh, local trout, and my boyfriend, Geoff, enjoyed chicken confit.
Back at our quaint house, we sat in the communal area, read and our dogs, still exhausted, relaxed next to our feet. But before bedtime they got their little homemade biscuits provided to them in their room.
The next day, Geoff and I made our way to the breakfast buffet. This was no ordinary buffet. There were fresh hardboiled eggs, delicious cured bacon, salmon, arugula that you would trim from a small planter, quiche, delicious fruit and so much more. Honestly, I am sure some people just book the rooms for the breakfast (included in the room rate).
Then, we were off to our next adventure. In the Buick, our dogs hopped right in like pros. We used the Android Auto feature, which allowed Geoff to use his phone in conjunction with the touchscreen dashboard in the vehicle to navigate to our hiking spot: Crystal Lake.
About 10 miles away, the lake is so secluded, we were the only people there. It was stunning with pristine water (I, along with dogs, took a dip into the lake), various terrain – including tall grass, stunning trees and open areas.
Our dogs had such a great time – possibly too much fun. Our senior dog, Lola, decided she didn’t really need us, so she ventured on her own. We called her our “wild” dog during this trip, a pup who could probably survive on her own. (Milo…not so much.). Luckily, she didn’t stray too far, but she definitely had a pretty large radius of where she felt comfortable roaming.
Back at the North Branch Inn, we enjoyed another divine dinner at the restaurant, got a tasting of the local hard apple cider and did some old-school bowling.
We then made our way outside with our dogs, under the stars and next to the bonfire, just looking up at the sky and being thankful for the quietness.
Before we headed back the next day, we let the dogs run one more time in the field, before we wished our sweet Inn goodbye.
Getting back in the car, the dogs, once again took in all the scents, before both settling down for a relaxing nap.
See some highlights of our adventure here:
This trip was a sponsored experience by Buick.