Ridgeback dog enjoying ride in car looking out of window

The Perfect Fall Road Trip with Your Dog

At the Digest, it’s no secret that autumn is our favorite time of year – and what better season for a road trip with your dog? Between the colorful fall foliage and your best friend at your side, it’s almost impossible for any drive to be mundane. And if you’re like us, you take your dog just about everywhere: the office, grocery store, vacation, even out to dinner (amen for outdoor patios). But as any dog owner knows – whether you bring your furry companion along or not – getting away, even for a road trip, requires a little extra planning. This means, you should have a vehicle, hotel and agenda that are cohesively pet-friendly.

This September, the Digest set out to visit Vermont – as we do every fall and winter. Though the leaves weren’t quite ready to turn just yet, the scenic beauty of this state is perfect for all seasons. For our road trip, we test drove the 2018 Chevy Equinox, a notoriously safe, dog-friendly ride – especially with its new Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Foward Collision Alert, to name a few. In addition, it’s sized to meet the needs of those interested in a more compact SUV (Hudson County parking anyone?). Before you leave, it’s almost important to make sure your dog gets out any excess energy. The Equinox is great for pets, but you definitely don’t want them wound up when you’re ready to hit the road. But even if you stop, the Equinox’s interior offers a denim-like seat fabric option (leather is still available), that makes bringing a dog seamless. The fabric is durable, easy to vacuum and incredibly resistant to scuffs and stains. Even the leather seat option is designed to resist pet stains or bleeding from clothes like dark wash jeans. Overall, the stain resistant seats were a huge plus, especially considering our dogs love to run around outdoors. The Equinox is one great example of a car that will forgive pet mess. Another fun feature that made the 2018 Equinox convenient and pet-friendly, is its cargo space.  With 30 cubic feet of space (64 cubic feet with the rear seats stowed), there’s plenty of room, even for a sizable pup, to relax during the ride up. Chevy has also created a nifty mechanism for getting those seats down, with just the pull of a lever (removal headrests be damned), giving it more room and ease than say the 2018 Jeep Cherokee. The bottom line, for us, is that there was room enough for our luggage, gear and a medium-sized dog to fit comfortable – a nice feature for a compact SUV. And remember, it’s always a great idea to get a harness or doggy hammock in the backseat to create a safe space for your pup.

It’s also worth noting that, during our trip to Vermont, we were surprised with how well the Equinox handled – despite the fact that it’s 400 lbs lighter than the outgoing model. Overall, when it comes to taking road trips, regardless of your vehicle, it’s important to plan pet-friendly routes. The scenic drives up north are ideal for bringing your dog along – and those rest areas come in handy for them (and you) to stretch your legs.

While there’s an endless amount of destinations to visit in Vermont during the fall, it’s easy to recommend a visit to 506 On The River which is set in the quintessential Vermont town of Woodstock. Just a few hours from NYC (and 20 minutes from Killington if you’re coming out in winter), 506 is a luxury boutique inn with more than its share of breathtaking views and fall delights. It also serves as a great hub to take in the rolling hills of New England, with lots of open space for you pup to run around. You can also visit the property’s 506 bistro, which is a local hotspot serving up delicious seasonal cuisine with ingredients from local Vermont farms.

Beyond their standard accommodations, 506 also offers what they call, Farmhouse Suites. These five brand new houses are located separate from the main hotel, but are each outfitted with their own eat-in kitchen and living room. The suites will definitely give you more privacy and you still have access to the property’s indoor pool, sauna, game room and kids playroom (if you’re planning on bringing the kids as well).One of just many great Vermont getaways in the fall, Woodstock is the perfect little village for a road trip with your dog. Here, there are expansive fields and farms to visit, as well as seasonal farmers markets nearby (yes that means plenty of cows to bark at). Of course, if you go late enough in the season, you’ll get to witness the falling fall foliage in all its splendor. Here are some other things to do while in Woodstock via our friends at 506.