Like traveling with children, pet parents have to be contentious about the establishments they can visit. Although many big cities have stores specifically with pet families in mind, small towns like Elkin and the surrounding area also welcome four-legged family members.
“They are such an important part of the family,” said John Cheek, “why leave them at home?”
As the owner of Dirty Joe’s Coffee Shop, Cheek allows pets to visit while their owners enjoy the coffee and company provided on Market Street in Elkin where baked treats are not only for people.
“We even sell Melissa’s all natural pet treats so they can enjoy the visit as well,” said Cheek.
Like many locations including restaurants, shops and wineries, Dirty Joe’s welcomes pets with fresh water bowls where dogs can enjoy the patios even if they may not always be able to enter the buildings.
“We like it when people ask [before bringing pets inside the tasting room],” said Marge Nichols of Misty Creek Vineyards in Mocksville, “we have a lot of things in here [and] it’s best if it’s not crowded.”
Nichols, who, with her son and daughter-in-law, owns the vineyard, is known for her adventurous spirit including rescuing Rottweilers who roam about the property giving guests friendly greetings.
According to www.corkhounds.com, most of the local wineries permit pets on patios where connoisseurs can appreciate the scenery of the Blue Ridge foothills with their favorite pals as well as a few other people, although for detailed policies pet parents are asked to call ahead.
Round Peak Vineyards in Mount Airy welcomes dogs with a special fenced in run for four-legged visitors where owners can not only enjoy the dry French and Italian wines, but the fun flavors produced by Skull Camp Brewery.
In addition to winery patios, many restaurants also invite the furry to outdoor venues.
“Every downtown restaurant that offers outdoor seating has offered refuge for pets to enjoy sitting by owners who are dining outdoors,” said Elkin Main Street and Community Manager Laura Gaylord.
The Main Street Advisory Board is making a special effort to ensure a pet-friendly atmosphere including the placement of pet waste receptacles and notices on store fronts.
“The Main Street Advisory Board is sponsoring pet-friendly stickers that will soon be by the front door of any business in downtown that will welcome a dog inside or on their patios,” said Gaylord.
One of those businesses is Wanderlust Studio where pets as well as people can peruse paintings, pottery, photos and other forms of art.
“As animal lovers, Maureen [Postle] and I welcome pets of all kind into the studio,” said owner and artist Candice Brown, who is also a pet parent.
“It’s nice to look out on the sidewalk and see people walking their dogs and then tell them they are welcome to bring their furry friend inside,” said Brown. “It always brings a look of surprise and delight to the owner’s face and the pups sure enjoy it, too.”
Visitors to the area can go to www.whatsupinelkinnc.com/Dog-Friendly to find pet-friendly places including such lodging as Frog Holler Cabins where one property is specifically designated for dogs.
“We were able to enjoy our stay more knowing that Corky was with us instead of having to arrange for a dog sitter,” said Holly Trehan. “It was nice to be able to sit and listen to the sounds of the creek while I held my warm furry friend and enjoyed the frozen scenery.
“It’s nice to visit a place where they appreciate that pets are family,” said Trehan. “It makes the whole experience more enjoyable and, honestly, it makes me more inclined to stay longer and spend more money.”
Beanie Taylor is a staff reporter for The Tribune and On The Vine. She can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.