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10 top pet-friendly resorts in Northern New England

Enjoying the bed at The Wilburton in Machester, Vermont A pooch enjoys a room at The Wilburton in Manchester, Vermont. | Photo courtesy The Wilburton

Pet parents: Start planning a getaway that includes every member of your family. These Northern New England inns and resorts not only welcome your dog and perhaps even your cat, they also anticipate their needs. And that means you can take a cue from your little yappers and meowers about how to really vacation in this always-on world. You won’t truly experience the wonders and benefits of a Maine, Vermont, or New Hampshire vacation unless you unplug from the digital realm, allow your senses to lead you to new adventures, stay playful and curious, and nap like there’s nowhere you need to be.

Inn by the Sea

The Inn at the Sea

Photo by Kim Knox Beckius

If you leave Inn by the Sea with more dogs than you brought, you won’t be the first. Pet-adoring staffers at this eco-conscious retreat are proud of their partnership with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. There’s always a rescue in residence, so you’ll have an eager playmate even if you arrive dog-less. More than 150 of these furry hotel guests have found new homes since the program’s 2015 launch.

Your own dog may be reluctant to depart with you after days spent ordering meat “roaff” and other restaurant-caliber doggy menu selections, crunching on Maine-baked turndown treats, and snuggling into an L.L.Bean blanket.

Crescent Beach, a stroll away, is open to leashed dogs off-season. Pet-sitting is available when you crave an adventure in sustainable dining at the inn’s Sea Glass restaurant: the one spot on-property that’s off-limits to pups.

Info: 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 207-799-3134; Dogs stay free in designated ocean-view rooms and suites.

The Wilburton

Ever since Jetson the canine concierge joined the Wilburton’s fun-loving innkeeping family, this mountain-view estate has welcomed all dogs. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels—like Jetson—stay free. Jetson is often lying belly-up across the mansion’s threshold, the first to welcome guests. Your dog can share in breakfasts on the patio, romps on the lawn, and Farm Night dinners on summer Wednesdays. Vermont-made Wagatha’s dog biscuits are a bedtime treat. Legendary Doggie Slumber Party weekends celebrate Mother’s Day, Howloween, and the kickoff to Christmas. Dogs in their jammies may be the photogenic stars, but these parties are about people coming together to bond in the warm, nurturing setting of a country inn.

Info: 257 Wilburton Drive, Manchester Village, Vermont. 802-362-2500; Dog fee is $40 per night in 16 pet-friendly rooms, $125 per stay in vacation homes.

You may also like: 5 romantic getaways in New England

Basin Harbor

Basin Harbor

Photo courtesy Basin Harbor

If splish-splashing in Lake Champlain would make your puppers happier than kids on the last day of school, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Fanny’s Beach is a dog’s own swimming spot at Basin Harbor.

With a pet-friendly policy that dates back to its founding in 1886, this 700-acre resort is known for boating, golfing, and myriad other activities on land and water. It has 74 individually styled cottages where dogs and cats can vacation with their families. Kitties love birdwatching through sliding-glass doors and catnapping on provided pet blankets. Some even venture out on leashed walks.

Your dog can tag along on a Button Point hike or claim a restful spot on the lawn while you read a book. Wagatha’s organic dog biscuits are a nightly reward.

Info: 4800 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, Vermont; 802-475-2311; Cats and dogs stay for $20 per pet, per day.

The Paw House Inn and Country Cottages

“Pet-friendly” doesn’t adequately describe this one-of-a-kind resort near the four-season recreational mecca of Killington. Conceived to be dog-centric, it’s a place where humans are accommodated primarily because dogs can’t drive. The farmhouse itself has a pedigree: It was built in 1786 by Capt. John Smith’s grandson, Elijah. Dogs sprawl on the dining room’s wide-plank floors while their families drizzle “woofles” with Vermont maple syrup.

Then, it’s playtime. The inn has an off-leash park, and every Vermont experience—even kayaking—can be shared with your dog, thanks to the inn’s relationships with nearby outfitters. Be sure to visit the dog-friendly Vermont Country Store and the Dog Chapel at Dog Mountain. Want to bike? Or see a Paramount Theatre performance? The inn team adores entertaining dogs at Mario’s Playhouse, where pet-sitting is free for guests.

Info: 1376 Clarendon Avenue, West Rutland, Vermont. 802-558-2661; Up to two dogs stay free; guests without dogs pay a $10 upcharge.

Getaway Blake Brook

Getaway Blake Brook

Photo Courtesy Getaway Blake Brook

Getaway is a new concept in vacationing that was hatched as a Harvard Business School project: Dogs are part of the equation. To truly detach and unwind, after all, you need to know your pet is safe and happy. Getaway Blake Brook—a collection of 42 cabins in the New Hampshire woods—is all about providing an opportunity to tune out the real world and rediscover your natural rhythms. Inside your cute nest, you'll find activities designed to bring you closer to the people—and pets—you cherish.

Park your cell phone in the provided lockbox, and let your dog show you when it is time to venture out on one of the dog-friendly hikes described in your in-cabin guide, when you should gaze meditatively at wind-tickled trees, and when you should sleep. Dog bowls, treats, waste bags, and an outdoor lead are provided for a fee.

Info: 76 Mountain Road, Epsom, New Hampshire. Guests with dogs pay an additional $40.

You may also like: 5 waterfront New England spots for a romantic winter weekend

Huttopia White Mountains

If “ruffing” it isn’t your thing (or your cat wouldn’t hear of it), you’ll discover wondrous, pet-friendly glamping options at Huttopia’s White Mountains outpost (two others operate in Maine and Canada).

Choose a platform tent or chalet-style cabin, furnished in homey, minimalist style: Some even have private bathrooms. Dogs and cats aren’t allowed on beds and couches, but they’re welcome to share this rustic vacay on the forested bank of shimmering Iona Lake. Laze on the private beach, paddle, fish, swim in the heated pool, or take your dog for a trail walk.

Huttopia’s a place where family getaways are gentle on the Earth and joyful in the simplest of ways.

Info: 7 Pine Knoll Road, Albany, New Hampshire. 603-447-3131; One cat or dog allowed per unit with a $5 nightly fee.

Sebasco Harbor Resort

Getting a treat at Sebasco Harbor Resort in Maine.

Photo by Melissa Morbillo / Courtesy Sebasco Harbor Resort

Dogs up to 70 pounds are VIP(et)s at this 450-acre resort, which has made families feel at home on the Maine coast since 1930. Staffers bring their dogs to work, so your precious pooches will have canine company.

Its 10 pet-friendly cottages are furnished with dog beds, food and water bowls, and clean-up supplies. You’ll find spots throughout the property where leashed dogs can feel the salt air ruffling their fur. In the summer, the resort’s ice cream stand has pup cups for canine customers.

Known for its golf course, spa, and saltwater pool, Sebasco Harbor also offers the sort of simple pleasures that bring families together, from lobster bakes on the lawn to old-school games and candlepin bowling in the Quarterdeck recreation center.

Info: 29 Kenyon Road, Sebasco Estates, Maine. 866-389-2072; Pet-friendly cottages accommodate up to two dogs for $50 per dog up to 70 pounds each dog, per night.

Wolf Cove Inn

If your puppy likes to third-wheel on your romantic escapes, you’ll all adore this inland-Maine inn owned by dog-loving couple Sue and Roy Forsberg, who always keep dog snacks on-hand. Three rooms and the Eagle’s Nest Cabin are dog-friendly and outfitted with pet blankets and bowls on request, and all have views of Tripp Lake.

Your pup might want to take a plunge, but that will have to wait until after breakfast in bed. Sip Maine-roasted coffee, enjoy sweet or savory entrees made with farm-fresh local ingredients, and ponder the day ahead. Perhaps take a 6-mile drive to Range Pond State Park. Trails there are open to dogs year-round; the beach can be their play place off-season.

Info: 5 Jordan Shore Drive, Poland, Maine. 207-998-4976; Up to two dogs can share your pet-friendly room for a fee of $30 per night.

You may also like: Legendary lighthouses in Northern New England

Woodstock Inn and Resort

A pup in a basket at the Woodstock Inn

Photo courtesy Woodstock Inn

You know that feeling of nestling into a plush hotel bed? At the Woodstock Inn and Resort, dogs and cats can experience that cloudlike comfort, too, in one wing of this classic hotel on the green. Four-legged guests are greeted with treats and pampered with Orvis beds and bowls.

Exhilaratingly fresh Vermont air awaits just outside your room, which has easy access to the dog-walking area. You also can take your leashed dog along for breakfast at Soulfully Good Café, hikes on Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park trails, a climb up Mount Tom, and souvenir shopping at F.H. Gillingham and Sons general store. If you love snapping pictures, you’ll find perfect New England backdrops nearby: waterfalls and maple groves, covered bridges, and classic farms.

Info: 14 The Green, Woodstock, Vermont. 802-332-6853; Cats and dogs of any size may stay in designated rooms for a fee of $150 per stay of any length.

Samoset Resort

Stay at this storied Opal Collection resort, which traces its origins to 1889, and your pooch will be pampered with extras including a take-home Canine Care Kit with gourmet biscuits, fresh-breath chews, and waste-disposal bags. A dog bed and bowls await in your room. 

From the small beach at Samoset Resort, the walk atop nearly a mile of tightly packed, rough-hewn hunks of granite out to Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is an iconic Maine experience that locals and vacationers enjoy sharing with obedient dogs. The 230-acre property’s indoor and outdoor pools, high-tech fitness center, four restaurants, spa, and “ultimate backyard” make this feel like a small village in the heart of one of Maine’s best destinations for active, arts-loving travelers. Midcoast Maine is a paw-fect spot for pets, too, with off-leash parks and outdoor-seating restaurants where you can have your lobster and bring your dog, too.

Info: 220 Warrenton Street, Rockport, Maine. 207-594-2511;  Guests may bring a maximum of two dogs for a fee of $75 per dog, per night.

Kim Knox Beckius is a contributing editor at Yankee Magazine.

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