Happy 2011 faithful readers and lots of happy tail wagging to my canine friends.
Even though I have not posted anything recently, it does not mean that I have been lounging around, sleeping, eating, running on the beach and having a thoroughly good old time. Well maybe it does, but my friends, I have also been ‘out and about’ gathering material and exploring new and exciting pet friendly locations to talk to you about. So, as we enter 2011, I am looking forward to sharing my experiences and helping everyone get the most out of traveling (with your uprights, of course) to Mendocino County and beyond.
Keeping it local, I want to talk to you about the charming town of Boonville, located on Highway 128 in the heart of Anderson Valley, California and share with you some of its charming history. I’ll also let you know about some places to stop for a great meal, exciting liquid refreshment and fun shopping and social opportunities.
Boonville was founded in 1862 and as you explore the town you can still see lots of examples of the period and get a wonderful sense of the town’s history especially from many of the town’s original buildings. Boonville is also the home of the Boontling folk language, in fact the beer produced and bottled in Boonville at the pet friendly award winning Anderson Valley Brewing Company has the motto “it’s bahl hornin’”, which means “it’s good drinkin’” in Boontling. For more Boonville history and Boontling word examples a good site to visit is www.andersonvalleymuseum.org.
Today, Boonville continues to be the heartbeat of Anderson Valley and is the setting for many of the Valley’s cultural, art and gastronomic festivals and events. The Anderson Valley Film Festival will take place Jan 28th – 30th 2011. The Alsatian Varietals wine festival is held at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds each February. In early spring the annual Boonville Beer Festival is held at the fairgrounds, featuring beers from over 50 craft breweries. The Pinot Noir Festival is held in May. In July, the Wool-growers’ Sheepdog Trials is held at the fairgrounds. Boonville also hosts the long-running Sierra Nevada World Music Festival on the weekend of the summer solstice. Then Boonville hosts the annual Mendocino County Fair in September.
Boonville still maintains an old world feel; currently the town is home to some great wine tasting rooms, cafés, quaint shops and affordable art and craft galleries. It’s a pedestrian friendly town; many of the towns’ businesses have outdoor seating which makes sharing the Boonville experience with your uprights even more appealing.
One of my favorite places to have lunch is the Boonville General Store. With indoor and outdoor seating this friendly café creates fresh delicious breads, baked goods, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and pastry items using organic and local ingredients. We are always welcome at any of the outdoor tables. A fun story I want to share, a few weeks ago my uprights and I arrived at the Bakery for a quick bite of lunch and it was pouring rain, but luckily a few of the outdoor picnic tables are covered. At the adjoining table were two ladies and their four-legged companion. As I was jumping up to my seat, they looked at me and said in unison, “Is that Hairy Putter?” Of course upon hearing my name, I immediately had to go over and personally introduce myself. The ladies were from Berkeley and are fans of moi and recognized me immediately as they are devoted followers of my blog and use my reviews to plan their trips. How flattering is that!
A few doors further along is the Mosswood Market, again with indoor and outdoor seating, so you and your uprights can enjoy creative Panini Sandwiches, homemade soups, salads and Mexican- influenced items in a sidewalk aesthetic . Usually both of these cafés have water bowls for us, but if not, just ask and one will be brought out.
Some other highlights of Boonville are the award winning winery of Zina Hyde Cunningham. This pet friendly tasting room has a great bar tasting counter, friendly staff and of course an opportunity to taste some extraordinary award winning wines. The Boonville Hotel’s restaurant, Table 128, has patio dining (seasonal) and is a place to experience imaginative cuisine created from local and seasonal ingredients. Well behaved canines are welcome at the patio tables.
A ‘must stop’ is the Laughing Dog Bookstore where we are sure to get the attention we deserve and, if we are really well behaved, a treat is always on hand along with a very welcome bowl of cool water to quench the thirst of a bibliophile canine . This newly opened independent book store is the dream of Loretta and Dan Houck and is a haven for all things literature and dogs. The Laughing Dog has a wonderfully varied selection of new and used books, an indoor reading room along with a great outdoor patio seating area (seasonal) for us canines to chill out and join our uprights in soaking up some of the valley rays while enjoying a good read. With authors’ reading events, book club meetings, free Wi-Fi, local artists’ work adorning the walls (Feb 2011 will be a Puppy Love: A show of Dog Photography), it is a wonderful place to chill. With the blessing of Loretta and Dan’s four-legged children, MOCA and Stanley, you too will be a Laughing Dog after a visit to this most dog friendly book store.
If you plan on staying in or near Boonville for overnight or longer, a few places to consider are: The Boonville Hotel which has a couple of pet friendly guest accommodations. The Anderson Valley Inn, Highlands Guest Ranch, Ravenridge Cottages, The Other Place and the Long Valley Ranch. For a full listing please download my Visit Mendocino County Pet Friendly Travel Guide. Also, don’t forget to stop in at Yorkville Cellars Winery, just before Boonville if coming in on Highway 128 from Cloverdale, to experience some great organic wine at one of Anderson Valley’s pet friendly wineries.
When you go to Boonville you are sure to have a “Bahlest” time.