Sunday, July 31, 2011

• Dog-Friendly Shopping • Tysons Corner, Va.

Tysons Corner Area
Dogs under 10 pounds are welcome at the Tysons Corner Center mall, but their feet cannot touch the ground. (Angel wings? No, in a stroller or carried.) Nordstrom doesn’t have a formal dog policy, but I understand they allow well-behaved dogs. According to one source, Bloomingdale's does too. If you get hungry, Chipotle has a patio that accepts dogs. Usual “traffic” is one or two small dogs. They do not take reservations.

Service dogs are allowed to walk in the Tysons Galleria, but other dogs must be in a stroller or carried. (No weight limit specified.) I hear Neiman Marcus allows well-behaved dogs. Anthropologie allows leashed, well behaved dogs.

The Orvis Company Store will give your dog a treat while you both peruse their Dog Shop. Pike 7 Plaza, 8365-A Leesburg Pike/Route 7, next to Staples and dog-friendly Panera. (fyi, the Sheraton charges for WiFi but at Panera it's free.)

Other Locations
In the Reston Town Center some shops, including Anthropologie (11965 Market St.), allow dogs. (Most restaurants with open patios allow well-behaved dogs, including Clyde’s).

If you need doggy daycare, A Dog’s Day Out offers cage-free daycare: 2800 Gallows Road, in Vienna. Dogtopia, also in Vienna, offers dog daycare.

This post was originally written for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference. Information is accurate as of August 2011.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

• Dog-Friendly Sundays in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia abounds with activities that welcome people and their dogs. Some of the venues below may be available only during certain seasons.

• O’Malley’s Pub hosts Paws on the Patio, 3–7 p.m., with a grassy area for dogs.

• You'll be welcomed by the resident dogs at The Barrel Oak Winery. The owners call it “BOW—as in BOW WOW! Hang with your friends and dogs (on leashes, please). Great wine and lite fare served or bring your own picnic lunch or dinner.” (Delaplane)

"On a Wing and a Prayer" colorfully describes the Flying Circus. (Bealeton)

• Leashed pets are allowed on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery is next to the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Netherlands Carillon. (Arlington)

• Dogs are welcome at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Estate and Gardens; however, they are not permitted in the Mansion, the theaters of the Ford Orientation Center, or the galleries of the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. (Alexandria)

• Although they're allowed, I'm sure you won’t want to take dogs to the military demonstrations at the Manassas National Battlefield Park

This post was originally written for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference. Information is accurate as of August 2011.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

• Alexandria, Virginia: A Dog-Friendly Town

Pat Troy's has a menu for dogs.
In 2011, listed Alexandria, Virginia, as one of the top 10 dog-friendly cities in the U.S. Ordinarily I would suggest specific restaurants or shops, but there are so many I thought it better to give you the info. (I should mention, however, that Pat Troy's Irish Pub is famous for its menu for dogs!)

For an afternoon of walking—with or without your dog—I love Old Town Alexandria. This web site links to Old Town attractions, restaurants, and shops.

To figure out which places are dog-friendly, cross-reference with the Northern Virginia Dog-Friendly City Guide, which lists attractions, parks, stores, and restaurants in Alexandria (as well as other places). FYI, dog parks in Alexandria are fenced and unfenced. Founder's Park, in Old Town, is not fenced.

This map will help you get to Alexandria, find a restaurant, park, or store, and guide you in finding a parking place. If you want a suggestion for a walking route, I'd go down King St./Route 7 from about N. Henry to the waterfront. It's heaven for people-watching and window shopping.

This post was originally written for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference. Information is accurate as of August 2011.

Friday, July 22, 2011

• Leesburg, Virginia: A Dog-Friendly Town

Dog Day Afternoon
The Town of Leesburg, Virginia, is a nice option for a day trip with your dog. You get a sense of Colonial life in its historic downtown, which provides blocks and blocks of pleasant walking. In addition, CNN Money Magazine named Leesburg Number 4 small town in the U.S.!

Dog-Friendly Dining in Leesburg
The Virginia Dog reported these places as dog-friendly, but I did not confirm. If you plan to go to one of these restaurants, please call first.
South Street Under, 203 Harrison Street SE, (703) 771-9610
Fire Works Pizza, 201 Harrison Street, SE, (703) 779-8400

Lightfoot, 11 North King Street, (703) 771-2233

Eiffel Tower Café, 107 Loudoun Street, SW, (703) 777-5142

Dog-Friendly Parks in Leesburg
• Dogs are allowed off-leash, but all dogs play together, at the Leesburg Dog Park, at the Olde Izaak Walton Park. The park has a Facebook page.
• In Leesburg you have two access points to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail—the Leesburg and Leesburg West entrances. Dogs must be leashed.
• Dogs must also be leashed at Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park.
• At Morven Park dogs must be leashed and remain in designated areas. Dogs are not allowed in buildings.
• What about the Leesburg Canine Country Club? you ask. You must be a membah. So veddy veddy sorry.

Dog-Friendly Shopping in Leesburg
Check the hours of these small stores to be sure you don't get shut out.
The Reign of Cats and Dogs, 13 1/2 South King Street, (703) 669-6920
• The Dog Day Afternoon boutique, 305 #B East Market Street, (703) 779-1333
Chase Your Tail Bakery, 305-A East Market Street, (703) 771-3019
• Leesburg aso has a Petco (200-250 Fort Evans Road) and Petsmart (510 D East Market St).
• At the Tarara Winery, dogs are allowed around the grounds, but not in the tasting room. (Hiccup!)
• If the weather is nice the outdoor Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets mall, is delightful. Dogs are allowed throughout the mall, but not in the food court.

This post was originally written for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference. Information is accurate as of August 2011.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

• The Emmy the Pet Sitter T-Shirt

Darcy looks better in my shirt than I do!
As a pet sitter, I made a T-shirt advertise my business, Emmy the Pet Sitter .

I chose CustomInk to make shirts; they have a good plus-size selection and I could buy a small quantity. I liked the quality and price of the Gildan Ultra Cotton T. Standard-colors were less expensive, but I picked a shirt to flatter my coloring. To reduce cost, I used one color of ink and royalty-free clip art. It was easy to design my shirt on their web site, but if you tell them what you want they'll do the design for you.

About 10 days later, I had six Ts in hand for about $18 a shirt. I give CustomInk an A+. Customer service was excellent and the final product is top notch.

Arlo and me and T
On its front, I placed a small design at the top so it would show in photos, but I have to laugh. I'm always photographed with an animal, and its head usually blocks the design! On the back, the name of my business and URL are large and clear.

Is the Emmy the Pet Sitter T-shirt a success? Unfortunately, no stranger has asked me to pet sit. But when I wear the shirt, people I know ask about my new business.

This post was originally for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference and titled, "BlogPaws: Learning from Each Other."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

• Best Pet Resources of Northern Va.

I was 45 minutes early for the doctor and she, in turn, was an hour late, so I had ample time to review the 2011 Best Pet Services in Northern Virginia Magazine.

• Best Pet Shop: Dog Gone Natural carries high quality holistic kibble, air-dried cuisine, and raw foods (and cat food).

• Best Dog Park: Shirlington Dog Park is one of the Arlington, Virginia, Community Canine Areas.

• Best Self-Wash for Dogs: Bark 'N Bubbles is a chain of self-service dog washes that’s easy, convenient, and affordable. Ashburn, Herndon, Fairfax, and Leesburg.

• Best Veterinarian: Clocktower Animal Hospital, in Herndon, also received top ratings from Washington Consumers’ Checkbook, Talk of the Town, and Washingtonian Magazine.

• Best Dog Walker: Woofies is a professional, award-winning pet sitting and dog walking company based in Ashburn. It services clients only in that area.

• Best Boarding Kennel: Old Mill Boarding Kennel, 91 Lawson Road, SE, Leesburg; (703) 777-4183

Thursday, July 14, 2011

• Dog Parks Near Tysons Corner, Virginia

First: Tips for dog parks

Off-Leash Dog Parks
Fairfax County, Virginia, has a number of off-leash parks, with rules. Parks closest to Tysons are listed below.

• Baron Cameron Dog Park, 11300 Baron Cameron Avenue, Reston. About 7 miles from the Sheraton.  Review and maps of the Baron Cameron Dog Park

• Blake Lane Dog Park, 10033 Blake Lane, Oakton. Open dawn to dusk. About 7-9 miles from the Sheraton, depending on route. I suggest 123 through Vienna and Oakton (avoid rush hour). Review and maps of the Blake Lane Dog Park

• Chandon Dog Park, 900 Palmer Drive, Herndon. Open dawn to dusk. About 12 miles from the Sheraton.

• Vienna Dog Park is at Moorefield Park, 700 Courthouse Road, Vienna (adjacent to Nottoway Park), less than 5 miles from the Sheraton.

Dogs-On-Leash Parks
• Behind the Sheraton is a neighborhood of townhouses and at its edge is Ash Grove Park (see Sheraton's Local Area Map; the park is at the end of Ashgrove Lane). Dogs are allowed in all Fairfax County Parks on a leash, but not in the Ash Grove plantation. This 18th -century home and other historic landmarks are a reminder that no matter how slick Northern Virginia may look, the heart of the past throbs beneath its surface. The Sheraton was built on Ash Grove land.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Dogs must be on a leash and cannot enter the theater (sorry, budding thespian dogs). Do not bring dogs during a performance. About 3 miles from the Sheraton. 1551 Trap Road,
Vienna; (703) 255-1800

Great Falls Park. Spectacular views of the Falls of the Potomac; no swimming. Guidelines for Pets. It’s less than 7 miles from the Sheraton and you should have little traffic. Take Route 7 West, right on Towlston Road. Follow Towlston to Old Dominion Dr. Go left on Old Dominion, which will dead-end at the park's entrance station. 9200 Old Dominion Dr., McLean

Chesapeake & Ohio National Historic Park. You can hike with your (leashed) dog along the C & O Canal, a wide, flat towpath. One of the closest access points from Tysons is the Carderock Recreational Area, in Maryland. (This map of the entire park shows at bottom left Tysons Corner [Route 7-Dulles Access Road-495] and Carderock.) You can get on the Canal at several places, but Carderock is fairly close to Tysons and has restrooms, picnic tables, and adequate parking. On a weekday, leave the Canal by 2:30 p.m. to avoid Beltway rush-hour traffic. About 9 miles from the Sheraton.

Sully Historic Site. Sully reflects the history of Fairfax County. Leashed dogs are allowed on the property, but not in buildings. 16 miles from the Sheraton. 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly; (703) 437-1794

Manassas National Battlefield Park. Leashed dogs are allowed in the park—the site of two great battles of the Civil War—and the hiking trails, which cover open fields and woods. The park has 6 self-guided hikes on interpretive loop trails. About 23 miles from the Sheraton. 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas

Ticks and Mosquitoes
Watch out for ticks, one souvenir you don’t want. If you have sensitive skin like mine, the mosquitoes will love you. I always carry bug spray and cooling gel.

This post was originally written for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference. Information is accurate as of August 2011.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

• Dog-Friendly Dining in Tysons Corner, Va.

 Tysons Corner
• The Tysons Corner Ruth's Chris Steak House happily welcomes dogs to their patio. 12 tables serving 2–4 each are available. Call and they'll make sure you get all the tables you need. (703) 848-4290

• The Tysons McCormick & Schmick’s patio holds 21 tables (9 on one side, 12 on the other) and dogs are welcome at all tables. You can make patio reservations! 8484 Westpark Drive,
 McLean/Tysons Corner; (703) 848-8000

• Panera Bread in the Pike 7 Plaza, Panera has free WiFi. (Dog-friendly Orvis is in Pike 7.) 8365 Leesburg Pike #B
, (703) 556-3700.

• Not only does the Lost Dog Cafe serve food, allow dogs on their patio, and deliver, owners established the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, with hundreds of successful rescues. In its McLean location, the Log Dog outside area seats 16 people. No size limit on dogs, but they don’t take reservations. Mid-afternoon you could easily get a table.
—Call if you have questions (703) 356-5678
—Address: 1690 Anderson Road, 
McLean; corner of McGarrity and Anderson.
—Lost Dog delivers. $20 minimum. Orders over $50 computer automatically adds a 10% gratuity.

• Indian Café Taj has an outside patio that serves 20 people (4 tables for 2 people and 5 tables for 4). Unfortunately, they don’t take patio reservations.  1379 Beverly Rd, McLean; (703) 827-0444

• Quiet, well behaved dogs are welcome at Kazan (Turkish and Mediterranean). The patio holds 1-2 dog-friendly tables with 4-5 people per table. 6813 Redmond Drive, McLean; (703) 734-1960

Reston Town Center has shops, art galleries, and restaurants with open patios, most of which allow well-behaved dogs. Some shops allow dogs. Clyde’s of Reston welcomes dogs at certain tables in the patio area, but reservations aren't accepted.  11905 Market St., Reston; (703) 787-6601

• Reston’s Lake Anne Center has several cafes with patio dining that allow dogs. Cafe Montmartre is one of the dog-friendly restaurants overlooking Lake Anne. Per one review, “Very good French and Vietnamese food on the plaza overlooking Lake Anne. You can sit out one of the tables ringing the patio and leash your dog to the rope surrounding the patio. Jasmine Cafe on Lake Anne was also terrific and has a relaxed dog policy." 1625 Washington Plaza; (703) 904-8080

• Reston McCormick & Schmick’s. 11920 Democracy Drive, Reston; (703) 481-6660

• Tigris Grill. Their patio seats 8 but they can make room for more. Hunter Mill Plaza, 2946 Chain Bridge Rd, #P, 
Oakton (703) 255-5950

Tips for dining with your dog

This post was originally written for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference. Information is accurate as of August 2011.

Friday, July 8, 2011

• BlogPaws 2011: Shopping

If you love to shop and have free time at BlogPaws 2011—the Pet Media Blogging Conference in Tysons Corner, Virginia—welcome to Mecca.

I’ve lived in Northern Virginia since 1963, when the Tysons meat-packing plant stood at the corner of two-lane roads. No stoplights. Drawings of three huge animals decorated the plant: a pink pig, a cow, and a lamb. Now Tysons Corner is, among other things, a major shopping destination.

Fun Shopping
Tysons Corner Center (old-timers call it Tysons I) is a behemoth. You may want to look at the mall map before you go. You’ll find name-brand stores, boutique shops, and countless places to snack, eat, and dine.
*** NEW INFO Dogs under 10 pounds are welcome, but their feet can't touch the ground (doggy stroller or carried). Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's don't have formal policies, but people have seen dogs there. If you get hungry, Chipotle has a patio that accepts dogs. Usual “traffic” is one or two small dogs. They do not take reservations.

Tysons Galleria (Tysons II) is upscale. I love to walk through Neiman Marcus and pretend I could spend $1,000 on a purse—if I wanted to. A centrally-located Starbucks offers comfy chairs where you can chill. If you want a quick bite, try the Corner Bakery Café.
*** NEW INFO Service dogs are allowed to walk in the Galleria, but other dogs must be in a doggy stroller or carried. (The Security Office didn’t specify a weight limit.) Although Neiman Marcus doesn’t have a formal policy, evidently they allow well-behaved dogs, as does Anthropologie.

*** NEW INFO Originally I said the two malls are close enough to walk between, which is true. But don't. Drivers don't expect to see pedestrians in the area and they're frustrated by being stuck in traffic.

The Shops at Fairfax Square. I’ve never had the nerve to go to this smaller mall. I’m afraid no matter how nicely I’m dressed, everyone will know I can’t afford Hermés and Tiffany’s. If you go I want to hear about it!

The Sheraton offers a free shuttle to the malls. Make a note of where the driver will pick you up.

Practical Shopping
Between the Sheraton and the Beltway on the “Sheraton side” of Leesburg Pike/ Route 7, a sidewalk makes walking possible—although between the dust and exhaust fumes, I wouldn’t call it pedestrian-friendly.
*** NEW INFO If you choose to walk here, look both ways at intersections. Drivers in the D.C. area routinely speed, "drift through" stop signs, and don't yield to pedestrians. Be careful!

Forget something for your booth or presentation? Staples, at 8387C Leesburg Pike, (703) 883-0011, is a little more than a mile from the Sheraton. At the same strip mall (Pike 7 Plaza) is a FedEx. *** NEW INFO Also at the Pike 7, dogs can sit outside at Panera. Orvis, next to Panera, is dog-friendly.

A little more than two miles from the Sheraton is a PETCO at 1929 Old Gallows Road.

The closest grocery store is Harris Teeter, 8200 Crestwood Heights Drive, in McLean, (703) 448-0132. If you don’t have a car you can order from Giant using PeaPod. The closest Giant (store #0758) is at 1454 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, (703) 893-0377. Order 24 hours in advance.

Check with your hotel concierge for any needs; he or she can give you the best advice.

Don't miss All My Posts About Northern Virginia for BlogPaws-ers, including Dog-Friendly Shopping.

What else do you want to know? Give me a shout.
@EmmySits (Twitter)

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