Heaven is just a tank away!
For most people in the Northwest, the coast is a powerful magnet, calling us to play for a day, or an extended stay. For pet lovers, the adventure just keeps getting better as ever more destinations, shops and lodgings declare themselves pet-friendly. Nearly every coastal town is pet-friendly to a degree, but some towns really stand out for putting out the welcome mat in a special way. Please join Spot in exploring some of these destinations over the spring and summer months. This month we visit Lincoln City.
Pet-friendliness is king here. With a plethora of options for lodging (at last count, 26 hotels and inns welcomed furry friends), and most shop owners welcoming dogs, it’s a favorite destination for pet lovers.
Sandy Pfaff, executive director of the Lincoln City Visitors and Convention Bureau, agrees. “Pets are part of the family, and we wanted to give people an opportunity to travel with their pets so they don’t have to leave them behind.” Pfaff continues, “I travel with mine all the time . . . and the beach is such a great place to be with your dog.” Katera Woodbridge, event coordinator for the bureau, says, “Lincoln City is a very, very pet-friendly place. There really is no place pets can’t go.”
May is a great time to visit the beaches of Lincoln City — not only is the weather warm but not yet too hot, but the popular Mutt Masters Dog Show and Olympics is happening May 15 this year. If you’re thinking formal competition, think again! The 5th annual event is anything but serious.
“There’s nothing formal about it!” says Woodbridge, who organizes Mutt Masters. “The competitions are all pretty silly,” she says. “Having fun is pretty much the goal.” While plenty of purebreds do participate, no dog is judged on showmanship. These champions are celebrated for dominating in contests like Sweetest Smoocher, Best Handshake, Best Tail Wag, and Best Dressed — which encourages pups and their peeps to go all out with costumes.
If you’re not sure your dog is up for competition, go anyway — participation is casual, and sign-ups last until just before events begin. “Some people come with their dog, unsure their dog will participate,” says Woodbridge. “They’ll be watching the first competition and want to sign their dog up for the 6th category, and we allow that.” Sign up for as many or as few as you feel your pup will enjoy.
New this year will be a pool for a dock jumping. Owners can let their dogs jump just before and just after other competitive events, but no actual dock jumping competition is planned. “It was almost 80 degrees last year, and we had some dogs that got a little warm,” says Woodbridge. “It will be a nice refreshing splash for the dogs.”
Refreshments, gifts, and goodies for both pets and people will be available. Arrive early for a shot at free caricatures on a first-come basis — for people or pets. Admission to Mutt Masters is $5/person, kids 12 and under free. A bag of dry pet food gets all spectators in for free. All proceeds and pet food will go to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter and DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, which is opening a clinic in Lincoln City.
Paws on the Sand pet boutique is celebrating 17 years in Lincoln City this month. Pop in to help celebrate, and grab a little something delish for the doggie dish. The shop stocks top quality holistic foods and supplies, and gifts for people and pets. “We specialize in unique supplies and gifts that you don't see anywhere else,” says owner Patty Morgan. “We of course encourage pets to shop with their people.”
Paws on the Sand is located in the fun, eclectic part of downtown Oceanlake — where most shops are dog friendly. Here your pup will get treats and attention nearly everywhere you wander. (Always ask before entering if the pup can go in. Keep your pets on leashes and clean up after them!)
While spending the day with your pup’s paws in the sand is a ton of fun, it’s not so fun taking sand home — or even to your hotel room. Take your sweetie to The Doggy Day Spa and wash that sand right out of her hair, before heading out for your next coast adventure. You can bathe your dog yourself, or schedule a full-service grooming. “People can drop their dogs off and get them cleaned up while they go check out Lincoln City,” says owner Chris Winn.
There’s more to discover in Lincoln City than beaches. There is a popular glass blowing art market where you can buy glass floats and other glass art objects. Lucky explorers sometimes discover hidden floats on the beach. While floats washing up from ships are rare, Lincoln City has a tradition of hiding over 2000 glass floats mid-October through Memorial Day — 2,009 hidden in 2009, 2,010 in 2010, etc. for “finders keepers.” If you find a float, notify the visitors center — they’ll register it and send you information about the artist who created it.
The Jennifer L. Sears Glass Art Studio, located in the historic Taft District of Lincoln City, offers free glassblowing demonstrations Wednesday through Sunday. Artists in residence will share their art with you and help you blow your own glass float, paperweight or bowl.
If you find yourself at the coast on a rainy, windy, no-fun-at-the-beach day and just want to go to a movie or shopping, check out the Tanger Outlet Center. Critter Comfort N Care is there to care for the baby while you shop and bop. Pups love this daycare and kennel. “We have a big indoor room and big back yard with a human being with them,” says owner Jane Kleinman. They are off leash all day, are played with and cuddled, and allowed to run and enjoy their day.” With water, treats, bones, comfy beds and crates, your sweetie won’t at all mind letting you run on your own awhile.
When the weather clears up, as it always does, head to Devils Lake State Recreation Area, just minutes from downtown Lincoln City. Here adventures await in bird watching, hiking, water sports and more. While pets haven’t previously been allowed in the 10 rental yurts, that might be changing! A trial period allowing pets in yurts and cabins in Stub Stewart and LaPine State Parks has been extended through Sept. 30, 2010.
If somehow you tire of the 7½ miles of Lincoln City beaches, shake a paw to the hiking trails. From easy to difficult, the area boasts many hikes with water views (North Lincoln Hospital Optimist Trail, easy), through wetlands (West Devils Lake State Park, moderate) and high elevation waterfalls and forests (Pioneer Indian Trail, difficult).
Vanessa Salvia lives with her two kids, one very sweet, fluffy cat (named Fluffy), and a husband (also very sweet), in Eugene, Oregon. When not clickety-clacking on a computer, you can find her browsing the farmers markets or feeding ducks from her patio. A freelance writer for more than 10 years, Vanessa has written extensively about music and entertainment in the Northwest. As mom, wife and companion to countless animals over the years, she has vacuumed more than her share of pet fur.