beautiful downtown philo…

we camped out at paul dimmick’s campground, south of albion and the redwood forest… it was nice, a few campsites, you do hear the noise from cars driving along highway 128 though… the weather was quite nice and warm compared to the coast.

the next morning, it was peaceful and quiet, and we watched as a deer fed her baby doe by the side of the road.

we drove to navarro’s, where cici got her cookies and stalked lizards… and we listened to the baa-ing of the sheep, watched the chickens scurry around, and the flowers bloom… navarro’s has lovely bouquets of flowers from their gardens in each of the bathrooms, what a sweet touch… Andrea, Jackie and Pat are all very friendly helpful and knowledgeable.

it was time to drive into philo for our next adventure… imagine a town not even the size of mayberry… one restaurant called libby’s mexican, one store, lemon’s market, one gas station, and phillip’s hill winery … naturally, we went to the winery and asked if they were dog friendly and they are… and the man’s name has a dog but it was not on site, and he told me to go to toulouse winery a mile or less north of philo, he said that they were really dog friendly and fun… ok, so we drive to toulouse and the signed said closed but the gate was open, and then a car drove out of the winery, so i figured what the heck and was welcomed by a lab and a tiny dog and the owners of Toulouse…

what a fun winery ! cici ran around and sniffed everything including the dogs, and was given sour dough and asiago cheese crackers, while i chatted with the owner Vern Boltz… if you’re tense, visit Toulouse (too loose)… it’s a funny name with a strange looking goose on the label. great marketing / branding… and what a breath of fresh air from those snooty wine tasting rooms. He could have made fun of his name, too, if you’ve got a few boltz loose and need some fine wine…

he gave me a map of the anderson valley wineries, and told me which ones are dog friendly (see below), plus he insisted that i sample some of his wines… now I am not a wine drinker but he did convert me by giving me some English licorice with his 2006 Pinot Noir and it was really good (almost as good as port wine and chocolate) and the cheese crackers were tasty, too… he also gave me a sheet that suggests pairing this wine with dried cranberries, ripe red cherries, rhubarb, ginger, mushrooms, mild curry, anise seed, molasses, lamb, beef, duck, ham, salmon, coconut milk and more.

onto the Highland Guest Ranch, located about 40 minutes south of Mendocino. It is a dude ranch kind of atmosphere where you can kick back and relax, get a massage, do yoga in a fully-equipped woodland yoga yurt, ride horses, swim and sunbathe by the pool, go fishing, play tennis or ping pong, paddle the canoe and kayak in the lake, and/or go hiking. There is a herd of between fifteen and twenty geldings to ride on more than 100 miles of trails and two horseback rides a day leaving at around 11:00 AM and 2:30 PM.

When I was a kid, every summer we visited resorts in the Catskill Mountains in New York State, Pennsylvania, various places in New England and New Hampshire. We stayed at resorts where a family could have an all inclusive vacation with all sorts of activities and meals in natural surroundings. This reminds me of those places without getting dressed up for dinner and without the regimentation of schedules. At Highland Ranch, there is a free and easy pace. Picture yourself swinging and swaying in a hammock under a tree reading a book. Lazy days.

the road is not paved most of the way for a couple of miles so be careful. we were greeted by three dogs, harvey, canon, and bessa when we got to the ranch… cici fit right into the pack and sniffed and explored the property after we were shown to our log type cabin #5, with a king size bed, fireplace, bookshelf filled with books, a few flowers in a vase, telephone, and couch plus towels, dog cookies and a blanket for cici. there are eight guest cabins on several acres of land and all are pet friendly. No pet fee and the rates include all meals and snacks. They also have weekly rates, group discounts and do weddings, yoga retreats, and workshops. And you can bring your horse, too…

while cici had fun with the dogs, i looked around and found a nice garden filled with flowers, herbs and some veggies including radishes, carrots, artichokes, broccoli, thyme, chives, mint, and tomatoes on the side of the main house. The main house is where three meals a day are served buffet style. Lunch the first day consisted of two salads (bean and green) and two types of pizzas, one with pepperoni and a veggie one with spinach and mushrooms. Plus, there was lemonade and chocolate cookies for dessert.

Breakfast is made to order (you have your choice of an omelette, eggs cooked however you like them, pancakes, or waffles with potatoes and bacon), fruit salad, cereals and freshly squeezed orange juice. Lunch the second day was hamburgers and veggie burgers, with freshly made sweet potato chips, salad, and oatmeal cookies for dessert. Lunch could be homemade chicken pot pie and asparagus soup. For dinner, Rob, the chef, cooked mahi mahi, with salad, green beans and quinoa. Dessert was a delicious cheesecake. The second dinner was a very tasty chips and guacamole with chicken enchiladas and beans and rice and dessert was strawberry shortcake. Dinner is served family style around 7:30 PM.

While I ate my meals, cici played with the dogs, swam in the pond and explored the land including visiting the horses. It was great for her to have the freedom to roam in a safe environment and to play with canine companions. truly an idyllic setting and doggie heaven…


pet friendly wineries in Anderson Valley include Navarro’s, Toulouse, Brutocao, Lazy Creek Vineyards, Phillip’s Hill and Foursight Wines.

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Filed under dog friendly, dog travel, horses, K9 approved, K9 travel, pet friendly lodging

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