Prescott: Arizona’s Christmas City

Just over 3 hours from Tucson, or 90 minutes from Phoenix, you’ll find the town of Prescott, Arizona. (Pronounced like press-kit, not pres-cott) At an elevation of 5300′, Prescott has a very different climate than the big cities of Arizona, and therefore makes an excellent weekend getaway if you’re looking for cooler weather, fall color, or winter snow! Additionally, Prescott is a super dog-friendly destination. You and your pup will have lots of options for pet friendly hotels in Prescott, AZ and dog-friendly restaurants in Prescott, AZ.

Arizona’s Christmas City

Prescott is known as Arizona’s Christmas City. I arrived just a week too early to see the holiday festivities, but the preparations were in full swing. Starting with the courthouse lighting on the first Saturday of December, followed by weekly events like a holiday parade, lighting parade and musical performances throughout the town, Christmas season is a big deal in Prescott!

Prescott Courthouse LightingCourtesy of Dave Veatch, provided by Visit Prescott

(Photo courtesy of Visit Prescott, photographer: Dave Veatch)

To get a feel for the town, first take a stroll around the Courthouse Plaza.

Each street around the square is lined with shops and restaurants, and many buildings have a ton of history dating back to the 1800’s, which you can sometimes spots on plaques throughout the downtown area.

Where to Eat in Prescott

Prescott has so many restaurant options, from your favorite chain restaurants to historic saloons serving up Western fare. There is no shortage of great places to eat, and plenty of dog-friendly restaurants in Prescott, AZ.

Prescott Station Grill and Bar

I treated myself to a nice dinner upon arrival in town, after 2 days of “road trip food.” Prescott Station has a very eclectic menu – everything from seafood, pasta, ramen, poke, elk fajitas and steaks. The service and food were both excellent. What slightly irked me was the 4% “service charge” added to all bills due to “rising healthcare costs.” It frustrates me when businesses pass along business expenses in hidden charges like this rather than just raise their prices to cover the cost of doing business. I worry that customers will think this is a tip and reduce theirs accordingly. End rant. Good food, questionable pricing strategy.

Dinner at Prescott Station

Prescott Station, Gurley St & Marina St, $40 for 1 entree + wine. Dog-friendly patio in season.

The Barley Hound

If you want a more hipster atmosphere, The Barley Hound has an interesting menu and a heated, dog-friendly patio. The Duck burger seemed to be the house specialty, so I went with that. It also came with duck-fat fries, which were pretty good. Even better when I realized the weird taste was from the curry ketchup and not the fries! It was pretty dark inside, so I had no idea what I was eating! An added bonus is an actual dog-menu – yep, your pup can have his own dish (chicken & rice or steak & rice) straight from the kitchen!

The Barley Hound, Prescott

The Barley Hound, Cortez St, $18 for a burger + soda, Dog-friendly heated patio

The Palace

The Palace is the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona, dating back to 1877. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday are some of the famous patrons who used to frequent the saloon. Today, you’ll find the same old west atmosphere (including costumed wait staff) and a nice menu of typical American fare, including steaks and burgers. There is a dog-friendly patio out back, and they’ll even bring you a water dish for your pup.

The Palace on Whiskey Row, sandwiches $8-12, steaks $18-35, dog-friendly patio

 

Where to Play in Prescott

Prescott is an outdoor lover’s dream, and I anticipate returning here in the summer when Tucson weather gets too hot. There are tons of trails close to town, and if hiking is your jam, you’ll love this list the city put together complete with mileage and links to download maps here. If you feel like a drive, Prescott is just 1.5 hours from Sedona and 2.5 hours from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

Watson Lake Park

Watson Lake is super cool and deserves a spot on your Prescott itinerary. I first spotted this beauty on Instagram, and it was also recommended to me by several locals. The trail around the lake is just under 5 miles. Watson Lake also has a campground that is open from Spring through Fall. If you happen to visit in October, you might even partake in the Dogtoberfest celebrations.

Watson Lake, Prescott

Lynx Lake – Prescott National Forest

Lynx Lake is a beautiful National Forest property just 5 minutes off the main highway. There is a lovely path around the entire lake, which is just over 3 miles. In season, there are boat rentals as well. Parking is $5, unless you have a National Parks pass. This was my favorite hike in the Prescott area.

Lynx Lake hike, Prescott

Goldwater Lake

Goldwater Lake is another great spot to soak up some nature super close to downtown Prescott. There are concessions and boat rentals here as well.

Goldwater Lake, Prescott

Where to Stay in Prescott

Residence Inn Prescott

Marriott’s Residence Inn is one of my favorite dog-friendly hotel chains, but we don’t often stay in them because the $75 pet fee is a bit high for a 2-3 night stay. I love the consistency between properties and the layout of the suites always leaves me wanting to move in. I mean, I literally could live in one and be perfectly happy as there’s everything I need and nothing more! The Prescott location is just on the edge of town as you enter from Prescott Valley. It is close to shopping, dining and downtown Prescott is just minutes away. Add a hot breakfast, heated outdoor pool and complimentary grocery-shopping service – what more could anyone need? (Weekend rates starting at $179)

If you prefer a more historic lodging option, the Hassayampa Inn is a beautifully restored 1927 boutique hotel in the heart of historic downtown Prescott. Pets under 45 lbs stay for free! (Weekend rates starting at $179)

Getting to Prescott

Prescott is easy to access, no matter your mode of transportation. It’s an easy drive from anywhere in Arizona. (3 hours from Tucson or 90 minutes from Phoenix) Prescott’s airport has daily flights from Denver and Los Angeles, and the Arizona Shuttle can bring you to Prescott from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

Are you ready to start planning your visit to Prescott, Arizona? The Visitor’s Center website is a great place to start!

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I received a discounted media rate at the Residence Inn Prescott. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.

Hotel Review: Basecamp Tahoe South

In all my years of travel, I have never made it to Lake Tahoe until now! So, when I planned my career break road trip, I knew Tahoe had to be on the route.

When planning your Tahoe visit, you first have to choose between North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. (How to choose?) Both areas have plenty of dog-friendly lodging options. Ultimately, I chose Tahoe South’s Basecamp Hotel for a change of pace from the long line of chain hotels I’ve been staying in.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Basecamp Hotels

Technically, Basecamp is a chain hotel…of 3. They have locations at Tahoe South, Tahoe City and Boulder, Colorado! Their mission is “to take under-appreciated buildings in great destinations and infuse them with soul to give an alternative option on the hotel landscape.” What does that mean? Vintage, travel-lodge style motels refreshed with a funky, hipster vibe. Very similar to the Trumbull & Porter Hotel where I stayed in Detroit.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Tahoe South Basecamp Location

The Tahoe South Basecamp is in a great location on State Line Road (albeit on the higher taxed California side!) and within walking distance to both Lake Tahoe itself and Lake Tahoe Blvd with shopping, dining and casinos. Most importantly for your ski trips, the Heavenly gondola is just a short stroll away.

Basecamp Tahoe South

While waiting for our room to be ready, Bailey and I walked over to the lake, but the beach there does not allow dogs, so plan accordingly. To find the dog-friendly Tahoe beaches, we ended up driving a bit. In any case, it was a nice walk around the neighborhood and a glimpse into glamour of Tahoe’s past. (The neighborhood is an interesting mix with several older motels that have not yet been renovated)

Tahoe South Basecamp Amenities

The unique details of the Basecamp hotel are evident the minute you walk into the lobby. The hotel has a heavy emphasis on shared space, with a great courtyard/beer garden and common areas in the breakfast area and the lobby.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Even the jacket for the room key was so thoughtful and detailed – an 8-fold pocket-sized brochure that includes a map, restaurant recommendations, tips for the best photo spots, hike and bike trails and a small animal & plant identification guide. So much info stuffed into a little packet!

The hotel includes a basic continental breakfast (bagels, waffle machine, juice and oatmeal) that is served in the “barn” where you can also purchase coffee and food throughout the day. At night, there are cocktails and live music to enjoy in the courtyard.

Basecamp Tahoe South

The courtyard features an Airstream (conference room), fire pits, sand volleyball and ping pong tables.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Tahoe South Basecamp Rooms

Much like the common areas, the rooms at Tahoe South Basecamp are decorated with  minimalist, hip decor. I loved the bedding and the tapestry/map hanging behind the bed. The bathroom was new and modern, and there was a small fridge and microwave in the room.

I had a “Pet Friendly Indie King” room. For families or groups, there are lots of room configurations including some rooms with bunk beds! Weekend rates range from $159 to $199, but appear to jump significantly during ski season and holidays.

Basecamp Tahoe South

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • Wifi – my biggest issue here is the unreliable wifi. If, like most people, you’re coming to Tahoe to ski or hike, and just plan to check social media, you’ll probably be fine. If you’re a travel blogger and plan to get any work done, expect to be frustrated. Internet is fast at times, nonexistent at others.
  • Recycling Options – this has been the biggest challenge for me while traveling full-time, so it’s not exclusive to Basecamp, but what happened to hotels including a recycling bin in your room? Offer your guests a way to feel like they’re being environmentally responsible.
  • Kick housekeeping up a notch – there were several little things that indicated the room hadn’t been thoroughly cleaned. Dusty nightstands, food bits on the counter, water left in the tea kettle, etc. The room wasn’t dirty by any means, but a little more attention to detail will go a long way.

Have you ever stayed in a refurbished vintage motel? Tell me where in the comments!

Looking for dog-friendly fun in the Bay Area? Check out this pet-friendly glamping in Petaluma!

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I received a media rate in exchange for my review of the Basecamp Hotel. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.

Medford, Oregon: Heart of the Rogue Valley

After a short time in Bend, Oregon, we headed south past Crater Lake and on to Medford, Oregon. Medford is the heart of the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon and is the largest city in the Rogue Valley, followed by Ashland and Grants Pass.  Whether you love hiking, rafting, fishing, golf or wine and theater, you’ll find something to do in the Rogue Valley!

Over 200 days of sunshine abound among breathtaking terrain, making it ideal for outdoor lovers to golf, hike, jet boat, kayak, zipline and more!

Play in Medford

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Wineries

Named as one of the top 10 wine travel destinations in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Southern Oregon is a great place to plan a wine tour. There are organized tours, or you can build your own itinerary using the resources available at Travel Medford.

Roxy Ann Winery, Medford

We visited RoxyAnn Winery once learning it was dog-friendly. In addition to orchards and a tasting room, they also have an Airbnb on site! When I visited, they were setting up for a wedding – what a great spot for a celebration!

Roxy Ann Winery, Medford

If beer is more your jam, grab your growlers and check out the Medford Ale Trail! 

Artisan Corridor

Medford’s Artisan Corridor is technically in Central Point, but just 10 minutes from downtown Medford. At this small area, you’ll find Lillie Belle Chocolates, Rogue Creamery and Ledger David Cellars. I sampled lavender chocolate at Lillie Belle and had a grilled cheese sandwich at Rogue Creamery. I was bummed that I couldn’t stock up on their famous Blue Cheese, but I was headed out on a river trip the following day, and I knew the cheese wouldn’t keep. The samples were delicious, though!

Rogue CreameryArtisan Corridor - Central Point, Oregon

Rogue CreameryArtisan Corridor - Central Point, Oregon

Harry & David Factory Tour

Medford is home to Harry & David, which happens to be the largest employer in the Rogue Valley. That lush soil and temperate climate that’s great for wine is also great for pears! There is a Harry & David store in town, where you can join a factory tour for just $5. I was able to grab the last tour on a Friday (they don’t run on weekends.) It was pretty fun to see all the gift baskets being assembled, and we got to see how MooseMunch is made. (Hint: giant blocks of butter!) Harry & David ships over 1 million gift baskets and 2.5 million Towers of Treats each year! They were really ramping up for the holiday season, with major hiring events and advertising. I was ready to apply, just for the employee discount and free fruit!

After the tour, I used the $5 coupon from the tour to stock up on snacks for an upcoming girl’s weekend! Click here to shop Harrry & David’s collection at Amazon.com!

Harry & David Store in Medford

Bear Creek Park

Bear Creek Park in Medford was our first stop for some outdoor time. The park has a great playground and nice trails that follow the creek through a residential neighborhood.

Bear Creek Park, Medford

Hawthorn Park

Hawthorn Park is another Medford park we visiting during our stay. The park has a splash pad, and two fenced in dog areas, one for small dogs and one for large dogs!

Crater Lake National Park

You can’t be this close and not make a special trip to see Crater Lake National Park. Just over an hour’s drive from Medford, this National Park is a must-see on any Southern Oregon road trip itinerary. Unfortunately, I visited on the heels of some major wildfires, so the rim drive was closed and visibility severely compromised, but I got just enough of a taste to know I need to return and stay at the Crater Lake lodge so I can witness sunset and the night skies!

Crater Lake National Park

Rogue River

A visit to the Rogue River Valley isn’t complete without a spin on the river that gave the valley it’s name. There are plenty of options, from jet boat day trips to multi-day whitewater trips. A 4-day float trip with OARS is what originally brought me to the area. We had cold and rain for almost the entire time (mid-September), which can be challenging and frustrating when you are putting up and taking down a wet tent every day, putting on wet wool clothes every morning, but hey! That’s why outdoor folks like me spend so much money on gear – we may as well use it every once in a while! And a rainy day on the river still beats a sunny day in the office! (Click here to see my backcountry gear list)

Rogue River Rain

We had several cool bear sightings.

And the sun came out (or at least the rain stopped) on the last day!

Eat in Medford

In our travels, I’ve found that breweries are usually the most dog-friendly places to grab a bite. And Oregon has lots of breweries! All of the places I’ve listed here are dog-friendly!

Wild River Brewing

Wild River Brewing‘s 5 Southern Oregon restaurants feature famous pizzas & award-winning handcrafted beers. The Medford location was just 5 minutes from my hotel and offered a dog-friendly patio and great service.

Wild River Brewing, Medford, OR

Paisan’s Pizzeria

Paisan’s is a small family Italian place on a corner just a block from Main St. They have a few tables outside, but it is counter service, so you do have to go indoors at some point to place your order and pay. (They also add 0.35 for any credit card transaction, fyi) Paisan’s sells pizza by the slice, which is pretty awesome because what solo traveler needs to eat a whole pizza?!

Harriman Springs Resort & Marina

Harriman’s is technically in Klamath Falls, but chances are you will include some other towns in your Southern Oregon road trip and Harriman’s is a great dog-friendly place to stop for a meal. The place was cleared out as we just missed all the fire-jumpers who were staying here.

Harriman's Resort - Klamath Falls

Buttercloud Bakery

Buttercloud Bakery also has  dog-friendly patio, but it was jam packed when we visited, so I grabbed a scone to go. Judging by the popularity of this place, and my tasty scone, it’s worth checking out when you visit Medford.

In N Out Burger

I finally got to try this West Coast institution after seeing it on social media for years! The location near the mall has outdoor seating, so you can bring your furry friend along.

Stay in Medford

Rogue Regency Hotel

Bailey and I spent two nights at the Rogue Regency Hotel, which is pet-friendly and has no pet fees! I think that’s a first for us on this trip! The hotel offers budget-friendly rooms near the Rogue Valley Mall. There are two on-site restaurants, as well as an indoor pool.

Courtyard marriott

I also spent 1 night at the Marriott Courtyard in Medford upon returning from my whitewater rafting trip. It is not pet-friendly, but Bailey was still at the kennel and I had Marriott points to use! This was my first Courtyard Hotel in a long time, and I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the room was. I also took advantage of the laundry room to wash out all my soaking wet clothes after a wet week on the river!

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Travel Medford covered my lodging for two nights at the Rogue Regency. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.