Pet Friendly

Our Dog-Friendly Guide to Des Moines

If you read our previous post, you’ll know that we’re newly obsessed with Des Moines, Iowa. (And if you haven’t read our previous post, read it, and then you’ll know why.) This city is a dream for so many reasons - for humans, and for pups! We’re realizing that the Midwest in general is extremely dog friendly, and Des Moines is no exception.

If you’re headed this way with your fur baby in tow (and you should be), here’s our Dog Friendly Guide to Des Moines!


Downtown Farmers Market: Every Saturday from May to October, one of the biggest (and best) farmers markets takes place in downtown Des Moines… and it’s dog friendly! There’s multiple vendors selling dog treats, leashes, homemade food, and more!

Pappajohn Sculpture Park: One of our favorite parks to explore in Des Moines is not only fun for humans - but fun for pups! There’s 22 iconic sculptures to admire, and an unlimited amount of absolutely adorable photo opportunities. Just make sure you keep your dog on a leash!

Ankeny Dog Park: This 7.5-acre park is a dream for dogs of all sizes - with fenced in areas for small and large pups, a picturesque pond, and plenty of open space to run free!

Racoon River Dog Park: Another epic option when it comes to getting your pup’s “wiggles out”, this sprawling dog park is over 10 acres - bring a ball (and some water), and your dog is sure to leave exhausted, and oh-so-happy!

Walk the downtown:  It may be obvious, but we just have to include a walk around Des Moines beautiful and bustling downtown! We took our Bernedoodle Sally with us all over the city - whether we were walking to coffee or admiring the sights, it’s such a fun place to explore with your four-legged friend!

We loved exploring Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Sally chasing sticks at Raccoon River Dog Park


Gazali’s (patio):  Looking for healthy, fresh, and authentic Mediterranean cuisine that you can enjoy with your dog in tow? Head straight to Gazali’s! Their outdoor patio is dog-friendly and their lunch and dinner options are affordable and really delicious.

Smokey D’s BBQ (patio):  If you love BBQ, you’ll love Smokey D’s BBQ. (I mean, anything that’s been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has to be epic, right?!) Best part is, they have a dog friendly patio!

Snookie’s Malt Shop (patio): We’ll take any excuse to get an ice cream cone, and the adorable Snookie’s Malt Shop is not to be missed… whether you’re a human or a dog! They serve free “pup cones” - little puppy size ice cream cones with any purchase. Win/win!


Confluence Brewing Company (patio): We can’t think of a better way to spend a Summer day then at Confluence Brewing! Their dog friendly deck and beer garden sits right along the Gray’s Lake Bike Trail - order a few brews, pack a bully stick for your pup and a deck of cards for you and your friends, and you’ve got the makings for a perfect afternoon!

515 Brewing (patio):  Another great brewery that allows pets on their patio is 515 Brewing. This friendly and innovative craft brewery is a favorite among Des Moines locals, and it’s sure to be your pup’s new favorite, too!

Tipsy Crow Tavern (patio):  Cornhole, live music, games, strong drinks, and they welcome dogs… you can’t beat the patio at Tipsy Crow Tavern! Stop by on a Saturday afternoon for a drink and some appetizers after you’ve enjoyed the downtown Farmers Market!

Sally likes brewery hopping too :)


Embassy Suites:  We recently stayed at the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines and absolutely loved it. Not only is the location ideal, but the rooms are spacious, the included breakfasts are amazing, and Sally was ushered right in without a problem!

Why the Shenandoah Valley Should be on Your Bucket List... And Why Your Pup Should Tag Along

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you’ll know that our family changed dramatically in the summer of 2016. We had know idea how a little 4 pound bernedoodle would change our home and our hearts, forever. Since then, Sally has grown into a fluffy, snuggly, 60 pound dog who loves travelling as much as we do.

For that reason, the way we travel has changed quite a bit. We are constantly on the hunt for destinations where Sally can tag along. Not that she needs to be with us 24/7 (our travels almost always involve a visit to the closest doggy daycare), but we love seeing the world through her cute little puppy eyes!

We just returned from a trip to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where we did exactly that. And whether you decide to bring your pup along or not, the Shenandoah Valley deserves to be on your bucket list. In this blog we’re going to share exactly why this place is so special, and highlight some of our favorite “Sally approved” spots along the way. Here we go!

Exploring the cute downtown areas throughout the Shenandoah Valley were definitely Sally approved!


Located across the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, the Shenandoah Valley is extensive (over 200 miles long), and brimming with history. Nicknamed “The Breadbasket of the Confederacy” during the Civil War, there’s battlefields, historical sites, plantations, museums, and more!

:: SALLY APPROVED :: The quaint town of Staunton happens to be the birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson, where you can visit his beautifully maintained Presidential Library. Leashed dogs are allowed to walk around the gardens and the gift shop, resulting in a fun, informative outing for all three of us! (Keep in mind that while dogs are allowed inside the gift shop and grounds, they are not allowed inside the library.)

A few of Staunton’s other notable attractions are the American Shakespeare Center and the Frontier Culture Museum. The American Shakespeare Center is the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s famous indoor theater, and their rotating, nightly performances are absolutely spellbinding. The Frontier Culture Museum is a living history museum that tells the story of thousands of people that migrated to colonial America, and the life they built for themselves. From West Africa to Ireland, it’s a trip back in time that will captivate all ages!*

*Dogs aren’t allowed at either of those attractions (which is fine - they wouldn’t understand the historical significance anyway ;), so thankfully there are several outstanding doggy daycares closeby. Rainbow Springs Kennels and Home Away From Home Dog Boarding are both great options. You can get your history fix, and your pooch can get their wiggles out - it’s a win-win!

Family photo in front of Woodrow Wilson’s home

A working blacksmith at the Frontier Culture Museum

We loved exploring the Frontier Culture Museum

Amazing talent at the American Shakespeare Center


Adventure seekers, chances are if you name a mode of outdoor recreation, the Shenandoah Valley will have it. You can go tubing in the summer and ski in the winter, and mountain bike in between! And you better believe your pup will adore all of the wide, rolling hills and picturesque parks!

:: SALLY APPROVED :: We spent some time in the breathtakingly beautiful Shenandoah National Park, where there are over 500 miles of trails to explore - with Sally, our Bernedoodle, in tow!  We hiked to waterfalls, scenic vistas, and deep into the lush forest - all in one day! We highly recommend spending at least a night at the Skyland Resort, the stunning resort located in the park… Sally even had her own bed! (Leashed dogs are allowed on most trails, and the Skyland Resort has a pet fee of $25/night.)

Another must-see is the largest (and most popular) caverns in Eastern America, the Luray Caverns.* Guided tours lead guests through towering stone formations and rooms that are over ten feet high! There’s even the world’s only “Stalacpipe Organ”, which produces varying tones by tapping stalacpipes. It’s unheard of (hehe)!

*While dogs are not allowed inside the Luray Caverns, the neighboring Mystic Pet Resort & Spa will take incredible care of your pooch!

Family photo on Skyland drive!

Our view from the Skyland Resort!

The Luray Caverns were mind-blowing


If you’re a wine-o (like us), you’ll adore the many picturesque wineries scattered throughout the Shenandoah Valley. The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail has 22 wineries, many of which have award-winning wines and sweeping views of the mountains - AND many of them welcome dogs!

:: SALLY APPROVED :: Some of our favorite dog-friendly wineries were CrossKeys Vineyards, OxEye Vineyards, and White Oak Lavender Farm (visit in June and July for peak lavender season)! All of these charming spots welcome pups (leashed, of course) on their outdoor patios. They even have water bowls out and ready, ensuring everyone gets a drink! ;)

Sally doesn’t want wine… just the snacks.


Maybe you’re more of a beer connoisseur? If so, you’re in luck too. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail has 13 fantastic breweries, all within an hour from each other! Many have on-site restaurants or rotating food trucks, and many are kid and dog friendly!

:: SALLY APPROVED :: The Shenandoah Valley Brewing is a brewery and tap house in Staunton that is popular with locals and visitors alike,  and dogs are welcomed on their patio! Pop by on the weekend, and chances are you’ll even catch some live music!

Another fantastic brewery is Stable Craft Brewing, at the beautiful Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables.* Located on a working farm, guests can enjoy their ales in their modern tasting room or exploring the expansive grounds. And be sure to come hungry, their Farm Hand Burger is not to be missed!

*Since Stable Craft Brewing is situated on a working farm, it’s unfortunately not dog friendly. Luckily, Home Away from Home Dog Boarding is just minutes away - and they’re great! Our dog Sally spent an entire afternoon there, and loved every minute!

Delicious lunch at Stable Craft - and tasty beer of course

They had Clydesdale horses at Hermitage Hill Farm!


Shenandoah Valley’s culinary scene is extremely impressive. Farm to table is taken seriously here, as many of the amazing restaurants source produce and livestock from independent farms across the state of Virginia. And everything we ate was really, really good.

:: SALLY APPROVED :: If you’re looking for the ultimate dog-friendly dining experience, head to Staunton and go straight to Table 44! This friendly bakery and restaurant just opened their new dog-friendly patio, cleverly referred to as the “Doggio”! They even have a special menu just for pups - complete with dessert!

Another Sally-approved restaurant is Moonshadows Restaurant in the quaint town of Luray! We brunched on flavorus eggs benedict and fresh vegetable omelettes, and Sally basked in all of the attention she received from the hostess, our waitress, and even the chef!

If you decide to drop your pup off at the local pet boarders  for a “paw-rents night out”, we highly recommend going to Zynodoa Restaurant, where they have phenomenal craft cocktails and locally-inspired small bites, then end the night with fancy artisanal grilled cheeses at Yelping Dog Wine. (Both are in Staunton.)

Love the bar at Zynodoa

Date night without Sally :)

INSANE Grilled Cheese at Yelping Dog Wine

Yummy brunch at Moonshadows!

Waiting for our table at Table 44

Sally got her own meal at “Doggio”

As far as we’re concerned, planning a trip to the Shenandoah Valley, and bringing your pup along for the adventure is a no-brainer. We’re convinced that if our Bernedoodle Sally could talk, she’d agree! From hiking the many dog-friendly trails in Shenandoah National Park, to sipping wine with Sally by our side, to exploring Woodrow Wilson’s scenic gardens, we were amazed at how often Sally could tag along!

(And as we’re sure every dog owner can relate, we also enjoyed the times where we dropped her off at doggy daycare, too. ;) Just make sure that your dog is up-to-date with their vaccinations, and to always travel with their paperwork!)

So? Have we convinced you to plan that road trip yet? And do you have room in your car for three more?

Sally was so sad to leave the Shenandoah Valley :(

We’ll be back soon!

We See You, Knoxville

We’ve gotten a lot of questions this road trip, everything from “Why did you bring your dog along?” to “Do you two fight ALL the time?” but two of the most frequent questions we’ve gotten are “What’s your favorite stop so far?” and “Has anywhere surprised you?”

While it’s too hard to pick a favorite (every city has been SO different, you really can’t compare), we without a doubt can answer which city surprised us.

Knoxville, Tennessee.

Now, we could say the typical “It’s really up and coming!” and “It’s such a foodie city!” (which is all true), but Knoxville deserves more than that. It’s special. It has the charm and approachability that we would assume Nashville had before it really commercialized. It’s a small town, yet modern, and the people are all so incredibly kind and proud of their city. (And after having spent a couple of days there, we felt proud of Knoxville too!)


Instead of trying to convince you on just how epic Knoxville is, we figure we’ll let our experience (and the pictures) do the talking. Here’s what we did:


If we’re being honest, we’re probably still full from Knoxville. This city has more restaurants and cafes than it knows what to do with - and they’re good, too! From modern taco shops like Chivo Taqueria and Good Golly Tamale, to artisan pizzarias like A Dopo Sourdough Pizza, to mouthwatering bakeries like Wild Love Bakehouse and Paysan Bread, the Knoxville foodie scene has a little of everything. And if you don’t end the day with a dipped cone at Cruze Farm Ice Cream, you’re doing it wrong!

Morning bagel deliciousness at Paysan Bread (and Remedy Coffee right next door)

Good Golly Tamale has some golly good tamales

Sally wanted the tacos at Chivo Taqueria

Yassin’s Falafel House is a great quick dinner

A Dopo may have been our favorite meal!

Can you see the SPARKLES?!?!?! Cruze Farm is AMAZING!


If you love beer, you will have a serious love affair with Knoxville. There are 15 local craft breweries in town, and every brewery has a story and a theme. Schulz Brau Brewing Company serves German style beers in a castle, Pretentious Beer Co serves their ales in hand-blown glasses that are made on site, and Last Days of Autumn has the best taco tuesday in town! (Paired with a habanero IPA, of course!)

How do we know so much about these breweries, you ask? We took the famous Knox Brew Tour - and we highly recommend it! This 3-hour tour took us through four craft breweries, where we not only learned more about the beer-making process, but we enjoyed twelve tastings, and made some new friends along the way. (No joke - we all went out to dinner together after!) We can’t say enough about how fun the tour is, and how great the people are that run them. The next time we’re back in Knoxville, you better believe we’ll be doing another Knox Brew Tour.

And while beer was definitely a highlight, we would be remiss to leave out our daily fuel - coffee. Of course there are amazing coffee shops in Knoxville. Some of our favorites are Honeybee Coffee, Remedy Coffee, Wild Love Bakehouse, and Awaken Coffee (and there were more that we wanted to visit - next time!).

Hand blown glass can be found all over Pretenious Beer Co, and you can buy some amazing glasses!


We learned something new at every stop!

Our guide Zack, aka Taco, is a beer guru that makes the tour so much fun!

We left with more knowledge of beer, but also some new pals!

Honeybee Coffee :)

Wild Love Bakehouse for coffee and treats!

Honeybee is bright, spacious, and has some yummy coffee


Thanks to the folks at Navitat Canopy Adventures, we were able to see Knoxville in a whole new way… from the trees! We spent an afternoon conquering their tree-based zipline and aerial course, and it was quite the thrill! USA Today has called their zipline course “One of the best in the nation”, and it definitely lives up to the hype. Adventure seekers, this is reason enough to put Knoxville on your radar!

Prefer walking on solid ground over balancing on ropes? You’re in luck too! Knoxville’s downtown is incredibly walkable. We rarely used our car while we were there, which we loved! We stayed at the Hilton Downtown, which was just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Market Square, where there were plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore. Oh, and we can’t forget about Strong Alley (just parallel to Market Square)! This colorful artist-designated alley has dozens of unique and expressive murals - our favorite was the painting of the iconic Dolly Parton!

Before we embarked on our adventure at Navitat Canopy Adventures

Bobby flying through one of the more challenging courses!

Beautiful night to explore Market Square

Dolly Parton is one of the first to greet you as you stroll into Strong Alley


Knoxville is just about as dog friendly as they come. Not only do most restaurants have dog friendly patios, but many downtown shops allow dogs inside! We had the best time shopping with Sally in Mast General Store, where she got ample attention from friendly shoppers, and we were able to stock up on some needed roadtripping essentials.

Popular pet brand Pet Safe has their headquarters in Knoxville, and has outfitted the city with spacious dog parks and even a pet resort and spa! We frequented the Pet Safe Downtown Dog Park, where Sally was able to get her wiggles out and make some new friends.

Most breweries are dog friendly, including Alliance Brewing Company, Balter Beerworks, and Elkmont Exchange (see a full list here). Many of which will bring water bowls to your table and have puppy treats on hand, that’s true Southern hospitality right there!

Sally getting her wiggles out at the Pet Safe Downtown Dog Park

So many friends for Sally…

Mast General Store has treasures everywhere

Sally at Mast General :)

More treasures…


So many great spots for Sally to get her photo taken!

Moral of the story? Knoxville is really cool. It surprised us, and we think it will surprise you too. We can’t wait to go back.

A Festive, Pup-Friendly Staycation in Surf City USA

Last week we spent a few days (a “staycation”, if you will) in a wintery, Christmas-y beach side town we love... Huntington Beach! Okay, so maybe it’s not thattt wintery, but it’s definitely a festive spot during the holiday season. Huntington Beach is a short 15 minute drive from our home, and a perfect destination to escape for a weekend and soak in the relaxing surf vibes. Staycations are our hassle-free way to appease that travel itch - and if you forget your toothbrush you can always go home!

Anyway - let’s talk about Huntington Beach. This surfer’s paradise has been termed “Surf City USA” and it’s easy to see why. The pristine, white, sandy beaches, the iconic lifeguard towers, the picture-perfect pier (complete with a bustling Ruby’s Diner).. it’s all like something out of a surf movie. The activities are endless, and with hip restaurants popping up left and right, it's quickly becoming a foodie's destination. It’s about as California as you can get - and we love it for that. We were there in mid-December, so an added bonus was all the holiday decor and sparkling lights around town. It was magical!

We stayed at the Shorebreak Resort, a Kimpton property just steps from the water. We partially chose it because of its proximity to the beach, and partially because of just how dog friendly and accommodating they are (there's no additional pet fee - insert praise hands). In typical Kimpton fashion, every need is met - even extra doggy items such as dog bowls, toys, beds, and more. Sally even made their VIP board!

For us humans (haha), they do an insane job of making your experience as special and memorable as possible. The Shorebreak has a nightly wine hour, complimentary s’mores (yes please!), bicycles to ride around town, even hot coffee and cold pizza (a true surfer’s breakfast) in the morning! You better believe Bobby had pizza for breakfast every. single. day. We also tried their on-site restaurant, Pacific Hideaway for dinner... and their Latin/Asian influenced cuisine blew us away! (Make sure you try the Samurai Old Fashioned and the Tea Pot Pork!) The real highlight of our stay was the picture-perfect view from our balcony. If it wasn't for all the things to do, see, and eat we might not have left! 

Nightly s’mores? Yes please!

Being on a "staycation" gave us the excuse to try some of the hot Huntington Beach restaurants we’d been hearing so much about! Tanner's (located at the Pasea hotel) has a stunning outdoor patio that has an ocean view and welcomes pups. And the FOOD! Alli likes to say that you can judge a restaurant based on how good their salmon is - and Tanner's has one of the best salmon entree's we've ever had. This just might be our new date spot. Located right on the beach is Sandy's Beach Shack, a fun and festive restaurant for lunch and dinner. Prices are affordable, the food is great, and they even have a dog menu! Order a Mai Tai and some fish tacos, and you'll feel as though you're in Hawaii! Milk and Honey is a fun little coffee shop just a short walk from The Shorebreak. They have light and healthy breakfast options, their coffee menu is extensive, and their grassy patio was a hit with Sally. Another great breakfast option is the pup-themed Sit Stay Cafe, with made-to-order coffee and bagels. You can even bring a framed picture of your dog to hang on their (very) full doggie-lined walls! We'll be back shortly with a photo of Sally. ;)

Sally trying to get a bite of Bobby’s burger at Tanner’s :)

Yummy dinner at Sandy’s

Sally begging for a bite of bagel at Sit Stay Cafe

It can sometimes be challenging to find things to do with Sally when we're on the road. Not the case here! We took her to the Huntington Beach Dog Beach daily, aka her favorite place in the world. She could dig, swim, and frolic around leash-free... and the look on her face says it all! The Pasea Hotel has a brand new dog park called PawSea, where she had the chance to run around and play with other pups, and we got a kick out of all the quirky little features. On Tuesday nights they have the Surf City Night's Weekly Street Fair, with live music, vendors, snacks, and more... and a good portion of it is dog-friendly! 

Lifeguard on duty at Paw-Sea :)

Our staycation may have only been for two days, but we packed a lot in, and we truly felt like we'd gone away. Bobby had a chance to surf (while Alli watched from our balcony), Sally got to play on the sand, and Alli got her foodie-fix. It was perfect. Whether you're a So Cal local like us, or in the market for a California getaway, we highly recommend a trip to Huntington Beach. We'll meet you for drinks at the Shorebreak. 

See our Huntington Beach guide HERE.

Bend Lived Up to the Hype

Bend is one of those cities that our friends RAVE about.

The river, the hiking, the friendly locals, the epic breweries, the food trucks… We’d heard it all. When we set our minds on doing a road trip, it was one of the first cities we decided on. It was about time we saw what all the Bend hype was about… and wow, our friends were right.

Out of all of the places we’ve visited on our roadtrip, Bend is one of the few spots we actually said, “We could live here”. It really has it all. Beautiful weather, incredible scenery, awesome locals (for real - Bend attracts cool people), and some of the best food we’ve had on our trip! Because there was so much to see and do, our stay in Bend was one big dreamy whirlwind, but we’ll do our best to share what stood out!



Tetherow is a resort in Bend that borders the forest, has an 18-hole golf course, has a pool, three restaurants, and is minutes from downtown. Oh - and they’re dog friendly!! It’s incredible.

Some of our highlights were sitting on our porch watching golfers tee off, or watching the sunset behind the mountains. Tetherow felt like our own little oasis.. It was peaceful, cozy, and had all the luxuries of a 5-star resort. Their beds are SO plush and comfy, even Sally couldn’t resist them!

We could’ve easily spent our whole time there! But like we said, there was too much to see, do, and eat in Bend, so we tried to pull ourselves away from the amazing Tetherow Resort at least once or twice a day! ;)



Oh man, the food options in Bend are limitless!! We did the best we could for only being there for 3 days, but there are soooo many other places we have yet to discover. For now, here’s what we tried (and loved):

  • The Sparrow Bakery: Delicious coffee, mouth-watering pastries (try their famous Ocean Roll!), and breakfast sandwiches we’ll be craving for months.. This place is a must.

  • Backporch Coffee Roasters: Solid coffee, chill vibes. You can’t go wrong.

  • McKay’s Cottage: If you love a good hearty breakfast, you’ll die and go to heaven at McKay’s. It took us a solid 20 minutes to decide on what we were going to order, everything sounded amazing… And it is. (Don’t leave without a chocolate chip cookie!)

  • Fix and Repeat: The cutest little juicebar (that even has smoothies for dogs)! Order a toast or two while you’re there because why not? It’s healthy! (And SO GOOD)

  • Crux Fermentation Project: Probably our favorite brewery in Bend (that we’ve been to so far, at least.) Crux has awesome drafts in a really fun, chill, and dog-friendly environment. Bring a deck of cards and chill on their lawn for a few hours, just like the locals do!

  • Spoken moto: What do motorcycles, good coffee, craft beer, live music, and food trucks have in common? Not much - but you can find them all at Spoken Moto! It’s laid-back atmosphere is perfect for a Saturday afternoon, or pretty much any day really!

  • Spork: Global cuisine that is crave-worthy. This place is popular (be prepared to stand in line for 30+ minutes), but it’s worth the wait. Order the Lomo Saltado and the Spicy Fried Chicken and mmm.. You’ll thank us later!

  • Thailandia Food Truck: Best pad thai we’ve ever had. Fresh, healthy, and full of flaver. Oh, and it’s from a food truck. That’s Bend for ya!


To be honest, we mostly ate our way around Bend.

We did walk a lot, and enjoyed meandering our way along the Deschutes! We also went to the Oregon High Desert Classics, which is a free horse show in Bend. Dogs are allowed, so we had a blast introducing Sally to some horses… she wasn’t as entertained as we were!

These are some awesome trails that we heard about from some friends, and definitely some fun spots to float along the river, but we just didn’t have enough time. We have to save some things for our next trip, right?

Not only does Bend have it all, it still has the small-town charm that makes it relatable. We quickly learned our way around town, and numerous times we’d recognize people or run into someone we’d already met! We left feeling like honorary Bend locals. (Even though there is still SO much we have yet to discover.)


Winter road trip to Bend, anyone?

Sidenote - for those of you that love road tripping in an RV, Bend is the PERFECT destination. One way to cut hotel costs (and add to the adventure!) is by renting an RV with RVshare. They're the largest, safest and most trusted RV rental marketplace with wide ranging inventory from affordable pop-ups to luxury motorcoaches. Whether it's just you and your significant other out on the open road, or you're planning a trip with your family - they have something for everyone! They even have pet friendly RV rentals too! RVshare also has 24/7 emergency roadside assistance on every booking, making it a very safe and trustworthy travel option. Head to to learn more!