ASPEN: IT’S A PET-FRIENDLY PARADISEDownload File
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ASPEN, Colo. (Spring/Summer 2012) - No one likes to leave family at home when going on vacation, and fortunately Aspen caters to those furry, four-legged loved ones. Hotels, restaurants, retailers and even local banks all have amenities specific to dogs traveling with their owners, making Aspen a heavenly spot for man's best friend.
CURLING UP WITH YOUR CANINE - Many of Aspen's hotels welcome canine guests with open arms. Options for dog-friendly, high-end accommodations include Aspen's finest. The Little Nell, a five-star, five-diamond hotel, provides in-room water and food bowls, menu selections, plush beds, personalized ID tags and a pet-walking service while owners are out. There's even a Puppy Jet Lag Kit if the altitude isn't suiting your Airdales. Expect the same service from the neighboring Residences at the Little Nell. Additional canine luxury can be found at St. Regis Aspen Resort, which underwent a $35 million renovation in 2011, and Hotel Jerome. Aspen's original dog-friendly hotel, the Limelight Lodge, was rebuilt in 2008, and continues to welcome four-legged friends with in-room dog bowls and a superb location across from dog-friendly Wagner Park. The trendy Sky Hotel, which is close to the dog-friendly Silver Queen Gondola and Glory Hole Park, welcomes dogs at no additional charge and also offers dog-walking. For budget-conscious travelers, the conveniently located Aspen Mountain Lodge is friendly to Fido.
DOG-FRIENDLY DINING - Never dined with your dog? The Little Nell's Living Room and Terrace Bar invite dogs to join their human companions for five-star dining. With gourmet selections, the pet menu ensures their tastebuds will be tantalized as well. In addition, al fresco dining options abound during summer months. Grab a to-go salad from The Big Wrap or soak in the sun with a gourmet panini at The Cheese Shop, or sit on the patio at many of the restaurants in town, where they'll allow you to tie up your dog just outside it, and give you a bowl of water to boot.
FROM DOG BONES TO BEDS - CB Paws is a specialty boutique featuring gifts for dogs, like homemade cookies, and the people that love them. Rocky Mountain Pet Shop provides food, treats and a huge selection of dog toys, and now has a self-service dog wash too to clean up the pooch after a long hike. Looking for something truly decadent and one-of-kind? Visit Aspen's Moncler boutique, offering down doggie coats and other fashionable, technical outerwear. (970.544.5558; 432 East Hyman Ave.)
HIT THE TRAILS - Aspen has an endless chain of parks, trails and streams to play with the pooch. In Aspen, Wagner Park, Paepcke Park and Rio Grande Park, there is plenty of room for a pick-up game of Frisbee, swimming in the Roaring Fork River, or just relaxing with a favorite four-legged friend.
Aspen offers miles of hiking and walking trails, including the beginner level Rio Grande Trail, the popular Smuggler/Hunter Creek Trail, and the challenging yet shady Ute Trail. In 2010, Smuggler Mountain Road on the southeast side of town, became an official off-leash area for dogs, making this challenging hike for humans an open-space dog park, too. Dogs are allowed on the Silver Queen Gondola in the summer, so hikers can take their pooches to the top of Aspen Mountain and out Richmond Ridge. For more information and rules, check with the Aspen Ranger District. (970.925.3445)
INSIDER'S TIPS - Many of the city's bellman like to make nice with dogs, and are eager to offer up something delectable in return for a tail wag. Or do some in-person banking at Alpine Bank, where tellers are quick to dole out biscuits to well-behaved pups. Roll over, please!
FEELING LONELY? - For travelers who left their pets at home but still yearn for some canine attention, the Aspen Animal Shelter's ‘Rent-a-Pet Program' allows visitors to spend a day with an eager companion. Many participants end up going home with a new adopted friend.
ANIMAL HOSPITAL - Should something go wrong, or if a dog needs a vacation check-up, Aspen Animal Hospital is a quick jaunt from town, and offers a full array of veterinary services.
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