Packing for a vacation with your dog

Packing for a vacation with your dog

If you consider your dog a family member (and of course you do), then taking him for a vacation with you is a must. Whatever your means of travel are – plane, your own car, or hitchhiking – it’s possible. All it takes is a little more planning ahead. And if you bring your kids as well – that can be quite of a challenge. In all that chaos it’s not unusual to forget something crucial (like your youngest daughter, for example) but the stuff listed below should make things at least a bit easier for you.

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Tis The Season For Solvit Pet Products

Tis The Season For Solvit Pet Products

It appears Christmas is just around the corner which means shopping for that perfect gift for each family member and friends.  Kirby is a member of our family so of course his name is on the list especially since he has been such a good boy all year long. I know he’s not the only dog celebrating Christmas with his family so I wanted to remind everyone of the fabulous and useful products from Solvit Pet Products, who's slogan is "No Pet Left Behind".  

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Starkville, Mississippi

Starkville, Mississippi

When you visit historic Starkville, Mississippi, you’re in “Bulldog Country” since its home to the University of Mississippi which ranks in at #142 in the U.S. News 2014 edition of Best Colleges. There’s so much to love about Starkville and since we like taking Kirby with us whenever we can, we decided to focus on the dog friendly areas, and the great news is, there’s a lot!

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The Tupelo Flea Market

The Tupelo Flea Market

The Tupelo Flea Market in Mississippi is held the second weekend of every month and consists of two huge buildings connected by a long corridor. We recently discovered dogs were allowed so we made the two hour trip north of us this past Saturday.  Alas, I only carried my phone so the pictures aren't that great and only thought to take pics of the Kirbster now and then. The shopping was that good!

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Algiers Point, NOLA

Algiers Point, the second oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, lies across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter.  It has the atmosphere of a 19th century village with a history of sugar plantations, shipyards, and railroads. Today it's noted as a great place to live with it's quiet, tree lined streets yet close to the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter 

After a traditional breakfast of coffee and beignet, we leisurely headed to the river walk. Bikers and runners dot the walkway along with tourists and several dogs.  There are benches and lots of open green grass for relaxing.  With these views what a lovely place for a picnic!


Several children were having fun throwing food to the seagulls.  Kirby was a little concerned as some seemed to swoop rather close to him so we made a point of staying back a bit from the railings. 


There was a section with no railing where wooden steps led down to the river's edge.  Why, I'm not sure?  Fortunately, we know Kirby well enough to know he wanted to jump in so Doug kept a short hold on his leash.


There are lots of leashed dogs in the quarter so I think the children here are accustomed to asking permission to pet any dog they see.  Kirby is always happy to oblige as long as they are gentle with him. Personally I think he very much enjoys the attention.


There are two ways to get to Algiers Point - by vehicle over the bridge or by ferry over the water. The Algiers/Canal Street ferry has been offering free rides from the Quarter to Algiers Point every half hour from 6 am – midnight since the early 19th century. It's a very short ride across the river on the ferry, and since dogs are allowed, we knew that was the way to go.  On the way over we rode on the second level at the front which Kirby enjoyed.  On the return trip we made the mistake of choosing to ride on the lower back part.  The loud noise of the engine and the vibrations felt through the floor was too much for him.  He hid under one of the seats and could not be coaxed out until the ferry had come to a complete stop.  


Right off the ferry landing are several restaurants and bars, as well as the historic Algiers Courthouse, and a carriage house that is being used as a temporary public library while the historic Hubbell Library built in 1907 is under repairs.


There are a variety of locally owned restaurants, cafes, and bars including the Old Point Bar where bands usually play every night of the week. We spotted the Dry Dock Cafe and decided to stop in for a cold beer.


I thought it was pretty cool how the fire hydrants are placed so high up.  I was told that even though it's a dog friendly city, they don't want dogs relieving themselves on the hydrants. True or false?  I have no idea.  I do know Kirby had a hard time realizing he had to relieve himself on concrete since grass is practically non-existent here.


The inside was quite lovely and new.  Dogs were allowed inside but we chose to sit out front under a shady umbrella.


Kirby was content to rest while we conversed with some locals who proudly told us about their neighborhood.  I took lots of notes!


He did decide he wanted to get to know this little cutie.


We found out about the community of homes just a few short blocks away so we went walking again. Most of the homes are historic ranging from Greek revival homes to Creole cottages to traditional doubles and small shotgun houses, all sitting on shady tree lined streets.  I do think I could live here.


There are two parks on the point - Delcazal Park and Confetti Park, a playground surrounded by an artistic cut-out white fence. The most popular green space is the levee which is a favorite place for dog walking and jogging with a spectacular view of downtown New Orleans.

There are four historic churches - the tiny Mount Olivet Episcopal Church built in 1854, the Algiers United Methodist Church, the Trinity Lutheran Church built in 1875, and the Name of Mary Catholic Church built in 1929, a chapel with 75 beautiful stained glass windows. 

There's also a replica of an African village and a glass blowing studio.

Walking the levee we passed a large high-rise condo sitting next to the river.   I suppose they do offer a great view of the river and downtown New Orleans but I found its modern look to be quite out of place in this neighborhood.

If your looking for a nice vacation spot, there are several rentals and a the Bed & Breakfast just three blocks from the ferry.

Year round events held in Algiers Point include art festivals, weekly summer concerts, a ferry festival, an annual home tour, the Mississippi River Fest, Oktoberfest, and Algiers Friendship Day, a St. Patrick's celebration.

The trip to Algiers Point was a fabulous day trip but our Kirby was one tired little dogger by the time we were back in the French Quarter.


In fact it's rare to catch a picture of him while sleeping so we half walked, half carried him back to our room for a late afternoon nap.


Ursuline Guest House

Are you planning a visit to the French Quarter? Do you want to take just a few steps outside your door to experience the culture, the boutiques and art galleries, the variety of Creole, Cajun, French and Italian restaurants, the unique atmosphere you can only find in the heart of the French Quarter? Then you want to stay at the Ursuline Guest House!


The Ursuline Guest House is like stepping back in time with an eclectic mix of old and new steeped in the history of the city. The main house sits right on the street with a front room used as the office with beckoning tables and chairs.  The staff was always friendly and helpful whether it was someone at the front desk or the girl who cleaned our room.  We felt like we were family!


Two guest rooms open directly onto the street itself. The main house contains 7 more guest rooms which open to the courtyard. Rooms 7 through 12 are the former slave quarters behind the main house and also open to the courtyard.

Obviously this isn't the Ritz but if you're looking for clean, comfortable accommodations you will love the Ursuline Guest House. All rooms have televisions, heating/air conditioning, and private bathrooms with showers (I'm told one guest room does have a tub). The rooms are spacious and the beds quite comfortable. The bathroom was simple but large enough that Doug and I never got in the other's way. Personally I'm a bath girl but give me a shower cap and I can adjust!

When we arrived the room we had booked was not available so they gave us an upstairs room which looked out over the courtyard.


It was a lovely room but those stairs were treacherous!  The next morning they graciously moved us to the room we had originally reserved on the ground floor.  I think they just couldn't bear to see Kirby tackle the stairs one more time since they were so steep he looked as if he would take a tumble at any step.


Both rooms were nice but being on the ground floor was so much easier to manage as we were in and out on a pretty regular basis.


I absolutely loved every historic inch of this little guest house.  We had a key to our room and a key to the gate from the street which led to the secluded courtyard, a private sanctuary from the hustle and bustle right outside. There was a hot tub tucked away in the back which we used our last night and a daily wine and cheese hour every day at 6pm. At times there were as many as fifteen people gathered in the courtyard and yet it never felt crowded.


A small door at the back of the main house led to a small guest kitchen which was fully stocked with everything you could need if you wanted to prepare your own meals.


I headed there first thing in the mornings for my cup of coffee to enjoy in the courtyard with any of the other guests who were up. They do have a continental breakfast consisting of your choice of packaged pastries and cereals, coffee, juice and milk. Nothing fancy but nice if you're hungry!


The lush greenery providing a tropical shade, the water gurgling in the nearby fish pond, and the musical sounds of the birds chirping in the trees is such a wonderful way to start each day.  We were fortunate that the other guests were friendly and fun to hang out with!  Kirby was loved by all and enjoyed visiting some of the guests in their rooms.  You would have thought he was the guest house mascot but in truth I think several were missing their furry babies back home and Kirby was more than happy to make them feel better. 


We learned this guest house had just been purchased by a hotel chain so I really hope they don't change a thing! The location, the accommodations, the price, make this a really nice place to stay. Being pet friendly is the icing on the cake since Kirby felt very much at home, so much that he had no problem wandering the rooms visiting with the guests who adored him.  He was always well behaved although he did bark a time or two at night when he heard someone wandering by our door but quickly quieted as asked. We do hope to visit this lovely gem again!

Market Street Festival 2012

What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with a day at the Annual Market Street Festival in downtown Columbus, Mississippi. This festival has it all - food, drink, music, handmade crafts, a section devoted to children, and best of all, fido can join the family!  

Market Street Festival began in 1996 and over the past 17 years has grown to be the largest special event and festival in Columbus, Mississippi and one of the largest in the state. Market Street Festival is held the first weekend in May each year and encompasses 12 city blocks and the Riverwalk in historic downtown Columbus. Market Street Festival has been named as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society for 14 consecutive years and has received many other prestigious awards throughout the years. A crowd of nearly 40,000 gathers each year to enjoy all the two day festival has to offer including over 250 arts, crafts and food vendors and dozens of special events, musical acts and activities such as 5K Run, Juried Arts Exhibit, Petting Zoo, Train Rides, Video Game Trailer, WCBI "Crank It Up" Car Giveaway, and Zumba in the Streets through-out the two day festival.  

We had so much fun so we have a lot of pictures to share...


Time for a break!


It was 86 degrees which doesn't sound very hot but add in the humidity factor, the hot pavement, and Kirby coat which made for a very hot dogger.  An easy fix as we headed to the children's section where we knew they had the fire truck set up for the kids and dogs to cool down.  We didn't have to ask twice as the children happily took turns holding Kirby's leash.


He wasn't getting wet enough from the spray so one of the fireman offered to wet him down which, contrary to the pictures, Kirby very much appreciated.


A   very happy wet rat!


Of course shopping is a must!  There was so much to choose from but I was lured to the metal yard sculptures.  It was hard to narrow down my choice but I decided I really liked these colorful flowers... $32.00 SOLD for $25.00!


Loved this quirky cat so I think I'm going to have to buy her next time I see her at another festival! Notice the pig next to her with the wings (when pigs fly comes to mind)...


BUT the most amazing metal sculpture has to be this charcoal grill pig!  We loved it!  Too bad we didn't have $499.00 in our pocket...


Another break for Kirby...


Then it was time to eat!  What can be better than crawfish and an ice cold beer on a hot summer day! $10.00 for a big plate of crawfish, corn on the cobb, and potatoes, enough to share.  $3.00 per beer.


We found a table under a canopy and dug in!  Yum!  My only complaint would have to be that there is no where to wash your hands so they smell like crawfish the rest of the day!


Kirby loves just about any seafood and crawfish is no exception.  I'm pretty sure he ate as much as we did!


He also enjoyed the shade under the table as he people watched and waited for any dropped food.


Being the race fans we are we had to check out these local race cars.  When we were asked if we wanted to take pictures of our dog sitting in one of the cars, we said "heck yea!"


Time for another break as we sat and listened to a band play


Here's one of the many pictures we took of Kirby with children who wanted to pet him.


Did I mention how Market Street Festival is truly dog friendly?  There were dogs everywhere and, I'm happy to report, we never saw any poop - good pawrents!  So many people running booths generously offered dogs a cool drink of water.  We carried a water bottle for Kirby but he gladly accepted bowls of ice from kind vendors.


 It was such a fun day!  If you are ever in the area mark your calendar for this annual event!