Many years ago, when New York Magazine was still in its infancy, I had a business luncheon with one of their editors. We went to a wonderful little restaurant, located upstairs on Second Avenue above a bank of stores. As we ordered, the restaurant slowly filled up, but was never crowded. And the food was delicious. Those were the days when I would have been called a “foodie,” if that term existed back in the late ‘60s, and I recognized that this was a very unique place. I asked the editor why the magazine hadn’t reviewed this restaurant, since most of the staff ate there on a continuing basis. He said, “Once we review a restaurant, everybody comes, and we won’t be able to get in anymore.”
Keeping that in mind, I wanted to tell you about my favorite pet-friendly place in Vermont—North Cove Cottages. Fortunately, I’m good friends with the owner, Karen Rockow, and even if everyone flocks to her cabins in Spring, Summer, or Fall (there are only a few winterized cabins), our family won’t get shut out. We’ve been staying there since our daughter was a toddler (and she’s now in college).
North Cove Cottages is located on beautiful Lake Dunmore, which is a quick 10 miles outside of Middlebury, VT. There are 11 housekeeping cottages of varying sizes. During the summer there are a number of teachers who come with their families, while they are studying for various graduate degrees at Breadloaf Workshop, part of Middlebury College. They’re normally there for the 7-week summer session. And then there are the loyal returnees of all professions, ages, and interests.
Every cabin has a picnic table and barbecue in addition to full kitchens complete with pots, pans, dishes and glasses so you don’t have to cook outside if you don’t want to. And of course there is a great selection of restaurants in Middlebury, Brandon, or up north to Burlington. The cottages range in size from three to seven rooms and can sleep up to five people. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and watching the sun reflect off the lake as a family of ducks slowly glides by.
Down the road is a general store, so whatever small things you need—they’re available. Middlebury (up Route 7) has two large supermarkets, a movie theater, and plenty of other shopping, including a wonderful bookstore and several gift stores. It’s about a 40 minute ride north to Burlington, if you want to spend a day shopping or visiting someone at the University of Vermont or even visiting the Shelbourne Museum and Farm. There’s nearby skiing if you venture there in the winter. There’s occasional theater in the summer in Middlebury and Weston. There are a number of restaurants in town and nearby, and you can golf on the Middlebury College Golf Course, which is open to the public.
The highest recommendation comes from our dogs. They love the place. Lola and Charlie are free to wander, especially since I know that they’ll come immediately if I call them. Many people bring their dogs—all sizes and shapes, and some are leashed, some run free. As we get out of the car when we arrive for the week, Lola immediately heads for the lake. Charlie, on the other hand, approaches cautiously, dips his toes in and then retreats to lie in the sun. On constant patrol is Karen’s Yellow Lab, Widget, who just wants her belly rubbed and is the unofficial welcome committee. And there are always a number of other dogs there, large and small. It is truly a pet-friendly place. We’ve also been getting our exercise by walking the dogs on the Middlebury College campus, and then enjoying a cup of coffee and a roll at the local Otter Creek Bakery.
If you’re interested in a week-long summer vacation with your pet, or just a long weekend to enjoy either the fall foliage or a few days on the slopes, visit the North Cove Cottages. It will undoubtedly become an annual tradition for you, your family, and your pet!