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A green hotel that’s dog-friendly

Photo courtesy HotelFrederick.com

Looking for a Midwestern getaway with a touch of sophistication? Check out Hotel Frederick in Boonville, Missouri.

No, really.

I was skeptical, too.

My mother, a travel agent, and my stepdad, a frequent business traveler, hooked us up with a free night at the dog-accepting and environmentally conscious boutique hotel.

It was months before Zach and I ever cashed in, but the gift was a motivating factor in our decision to take a dog on the Katy Trail recently.

Boonville is a small town located about an hour and 45 minutes away from Kansas City.

Luke likes Boonville.

Hotel Frederick is located in a historic building in downtown Boonville, right by the river and a small veterans’ memorial park.

You can literally see part of the Katy from the bar deck at the Frederick.

The hotel is furnished with antiques, including a really cool old wooden icebox. Zach was enamored with a vintage Old Crow lamp behind the bar.

That’s an old Old Crow.

Very old photographs of other Boontown landmarks decorate the walls of the lobby. A public reading room/jungle is packed with houseplants that grow out of a bubbling waterfall.

The gift shop — and every room — is stocked with natural body products by Kansas City company Indigo Wild. Providing these non-petroleum based personal care products is one of many ways the Frederick demonstrates concern for the environment. Other examples include tankless water heaters for each room, solar power and recycling.

The Frederick also has an herb garden, watered with the help of a rain barrel, which provides the fresh herbs that go in delicious, fancy drinks made at the bar.

Guests can bring a dog to the Frederick for a $25 fee.

This isn’t really peak season for Missouri tourism, so the Frederick wasn’t extremely busy when we stayed. This suited Luke just fine, as the hotel staff and other bar patrons doted on him excessively.

Our appreciation for the Frederick only grew when we rolled into Rocheport, Missouri. About 12 miles away via the Katy Trail, Rocheport is an antique and wine town crawling with bed and breakfasts.

Dog leash hitches adorn the storefronts on the tiny downtown strip, but when we started calling up places to stay, they all said: NO DOGS ALLOWED.

We began to freak out a little bit due to the fact that Luke was too tired to hoof it all the way back to Boonville, and we hadn’t packed gear for a night under the stars. (Making room accomodations in advance was one of this trip’s lessons about biking with a dog.)

Luckily, the owner of the Girl’s Nite Inn, a Rocheport bed-and-breakfast that usually caters to groups of women, took pity on Luke and bent her rule for one night. Her kindness definitely had to do with the fact that she has a middle-aged rescue dachshund named Ginger.

Girl’s Nite Inn is decorated with a woman’s touch, stocked with chick flicks.

Luke and Zach got to be my “girlfriends” for a night.

There is also a nice firepit we would have gotten smokin’ if we hadn’t been exhausted from our big day of biking.

We will be forever grateful to the owner of Girl’s Nite Inn for letting us stay, but we felt a little bad for putting her out. No reservations and four-legged contraband? Really, could we be more tacky?

Maybe we should have just forgone the biking and lounged all weekend at the Frederick.

You can learn more about Hotel Frederick by visiting its website or Facebook fan page.

Tips for taking your dog on the Katy Trail

Taking a dog on your next bike trip? Here are a few things we learned about biking and dogs after taking Luke on the Katy Trail last weekend.

1. Take it slow.

We take Luke on short (2-3 mile) bike rides fairly often, but we knew from the start that 12 miles in one day would be a lot for him. And we certainly knew he wouldn’t be able to maintain top speed for that whole distance. So, we just put our bikes in the highest gear — to maximize our workout — and let Luke set the pace.

According to the speedometer on Zach’s bike, Luke seemed to like cruising at a rate of about 5 miles per hour. Every two miles or so, he let us know that he needed  a break by lying down in the grass on the side of the trail.

2. Be prepared to meet other animals.

Signs at nearly every trail entrance warn that on the Katy Trail you may encounter wild or domestic animals. Although most of the wildlife we saw was at a distance, a wayward dog did emerge as we passed a junkyard. She ran with us for a few yards before falling back.

3. If you don’t plan on camping, make room accommodations in advance.

We erroneously assumed that Rocheport, Missouri, a little winery town located right on the Katy Trail would be used to putting up people with dogs. But in fact, every bed and breakfast we contacted would not permit a dog to stay overnight. We finally lucked out with the sympathetic operator of the Girl’s Nite Inn.

4. Take plenty of water.

We know Luke is a big drinker, so we carried at least four big bottles of water with us at all times. Luckily, there’s plenty of fresh water access on the portion of the trail we rode, anyway, so it was easy to fill up if we needed to. There was also clean water along the trail for a dog to take a dip in.

5. Bring high-value treats.

I thought I was being smart by packing extra dog food — extra calories to account for all of the energy Luke would burn on the trail. But he refused to eat most of it. He did, however, seem interested in hamburgers and french fries (but not peanut butter granola bars), so next time I’m packing extra yummy meaty dog treats that he won’t be able to deny.

6. Bring pad protection.

This is something we didn’t do, and poor Luke’s feet suffered for it. Remember, while you wear padded shoes, dogs essentially run barefoot. Next time he goes on a bike outing with us, he’s getting some dog booties.

7. Check yourself and your pet daily for ticks.

Luke spent a lot of time running through the trees and tallgrass along the trail. Although he is on flea and tick preventative, he still managed to get a couple of ticks that latched on around his head. (But that just meant bath time as soon as we got home.)

Have you ever taken a dog on a bike trip? What would you add to this list?

Two Bikes and a Dog on the Katy Trail

The Wayward House exists along the Trolley Track Trail, a former trolley line transformed into a popular walking and hiking trail in Kansas City. The Trolley Track Trail stretches across 4.5 miles of urban landscape, passing through business districts, residential neighborhoods, woods and creeks.

The Trolley Track Trail is kid stuff compared to another repurposed rail line in Missouri.

Recently, Zach and I loaded up our bicycles and Luke, the most athletic canine member of our pack, and drove just under two hours away to Boonville, Missouri, where we picked up the Katy Trail.

Popular among cyclists, runners and nature lovers, the Katy Trail is part of Missouri’s State Park System.

Built on a former route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad that ceased operation in 1986, the Katy spans approximately 240 miles and passes through small towns, farmland and a diverse array wildlife habitat.

We rode only a tiny portion of the trail – approximately 24 roundtrip miles between the towns of Boonville and Rocheport, Missouri.

But our escape — from the city, jobs, housework and most of our pets — was sublime.

On the Katy, we saw turtles, frogs, toads, geese, ducks and other birds I couldn’t venture to name. We saw neon green comfrey plants, free growing garlic and wild blooms of purple, blue, pink and white.

We saw bathouses, snakes and snakeskins, a sun-bleached rodent skull in the middle of the road and little bone piles in stone caves.

It was wild.

And Luke? He had the time – and workout – of his life.

Come back tomorrow to find out some what this trip taught us about bike trips and dogs.

Do you have a favorite bike trail in your city or state?

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