Get Out and Play…With the Dog!

A Great Dog-friendly Weekend Itinerary

Combine hiking, wine tasting, gourmet food, exquisite lodging and a beautiful slice of countryside north of Charlottesville, Virginia!


Leave the big city behind and point yourself toward a gorgeous country inn. The Inn at Meander Plantation (Orange, Va.) offers comfortable lodging with rooms specifically designated for guests with dogs. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and stroll the 60 acres of beautifully maintained grounds, including several nice walking trails to explore. Your hosts are an enthusiastic and welcoming young couple who are both innkeepers and chefs. Dinner is available, featuring local specialties with ingredients sourced from neighboring farms.


After breakfast at the Inn, head out to the mountains, for a hike up to a waterfall. White Oak Canyon and Falls Trail (Syria, Va.) is one of only a handful in Shenandoah National Park that allow dogs. From the lower trailhead, this easy to moderate trail winds along the river’s edge for about 2 miles to the first of several spectacular waterfalls. Linger there, play in the water and return to the trailhead, for a total trip of about 2 hours.


Head around the corner for an outstanding boutique wine tasting.

DuCard Vineyards (Etlan, Va.) beckons, just a mile from the trailhead.  Start with a wine tasting and then relax on patios overlooking mountains, well-tended vines and a small stream gurgling on by. Cheese, salami, baguettes, chocolates and more are available too—all locally sourced, gourmet offerings. Dogs are welcome throughout the property. Be sure to pack up a bottle or two for an after dinner treat back at the Inn.

DuCard has been named the greenest winery in Virginia for its environmental stewardship and is the #1 top rated winery in Central Virginia on Trip Advisor, so you can be sure of outstanding hospitality and service to accompany the wine.


Return to Meander and after a little downtime on the veranda, you can either dine at the Inn or get recommendations for local cuisine nearby.


After a great Sunday brunch, perhaps even in bed, head on back to the ‘real world,’ but be sure to make a stop along the way for that special four-legged someone. Reigning Cats and Dogs (Culpeper, Va.) carries a wide range of treats and toys in a comfortable shop on the man shopping and strolling street just 10 minutes north of the Inn.

For more information, visit and

Places to Go, Things to See: