Archive for the ‘Beach’ Category

NOW is the Time to Take Your Dog to the Beach…

Monday, March 5th, 2012

If you live in the coastal US North West and East Mid-Atlantic and North regions.

A fleece and a sun hat keep small dogs comfortable in the coastal winds of March.

Why?  Mild winters have made for an early spring.  The blustery days of March are not so blustery this year.  In fact, they are downright warmish.  Most coastal towns permit dogs on most beaches on the off-season, clamping down on dog visits to humans-only beaches after May 1.  In most areas, March is still open season.  So, if your hound loves the sand, now is a good time to take advantage of acres and acres of nice soft sand and space to run in the wind.

A little caution please:

Most beaches are not cleaned during the off-season so you could encounter the detritus of  unauthorized celebrations and unraked piles of seaweed and fetid fishy bits.  Dogs love rotting seaweed, or at least Raja does.  (Sad but true.)  You’ll have to be a little watchful venturing out onto the sand.

Coastal birds are always protected wildlife, lifeguards on duty or not.  Bring a Frisbee or a fly ball to satisfy your dog’s pent up desire to chase things.  (Danger to coastal birds is one main reason why dogs are not welcome on some shore points.)

If the beach you are heading for is isolated, since there will be no lifeguards and few rangers on duty, you might like to invite a friend or two to go along.

The cooler temps will make a beach day much safer for your energetic hound.  Naturally, remember that the sun still can burn even on a cold day, so sunscreen for you and nose balm for the beast.

Hoping you can take advantage of the good coastal weather and your dog can have a beach play day before the humans swarm all over it in the hot summer sun!


Raja visits Tropea, Calabria in Italy’s Deep South

Monday, April 19th, 2010
Walking below the cliff-side own on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Walking below the cliff-side town on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Go to any travel guide of Italy and look up Calabria.  Bet you $100 the book hardly mentions Italy’s southernmost region.  What you will read is that the South is less developed economically and the Mafia got its start in the South.  How dismissive!  Proves that whoever wrote that never, ever went there, right? You gotta go there, like Raja, to see for yourself! 

Raja took two trains south from Rome: first to Lamezia and then he changed to a small local rail system to arrive in Tropea, a medieval town on a limestone cliff over the absolutely turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea.  On Italian trains, dogs do not need to be in carriers; Raja had his own seat most of the way and he loved looking out the window at glimpses of the sea through a screen of olive and orange trees. 

The antique town itself is set on a cliff far, far above a deep beach with the quietest waves in the world.   The southern beach is separated from the northern beach and its modern marina by a little warren of grottos under a convent perched on an enormous rock.  What an opportunity for Raja to explore and have some doggy fun, and, as you guessed, nobody minds a dog playing on Italy’s beaches!  Two steep, long stairs in the north and south wind up the cliffs linking to the citadel. 

Tropea would be a great place to film Romeo and Juliet.  Its stony, meandering streets are lined with great houses, now apartments, with magnificent doorways and tile roofs.  Piazzas with fountains create community and residents stroll every evening socializing and flirting.  In the summer season, the town comes to life with swimmers and sunbathers, but Raja visited just at the magical monument before the season began.  What a great moment!  A local festival brought vendors, entertainers and shoppers from all over Italy’s southern towns.  Restaurants that had been closed all winter were just opening and the famous local swordfish was in season. 

Andree and her family at the Al Centro Storico

Andree and her family at the Al Centro Storico

Speaking of restaurants, you just cannot get a bad meal in Calabria, even if you get down on your knees beg for it!  Raja had a favorite restaurant:  Al Centro Storico on Via P. Vianeo.  He loved the service, the hospitality and the wonderful pasta.  The owners have a beautiful baby and two dogs, so they welcomed Raja enthusiastically.  Dogs can sit in any café in Tropea without anybody getting over excited. 

Please go to this link and read the first hotel review to find out more about a very rustic and cozy place to stay in Tropea: The Porta Del Mare

Don’t expect chains, don’t expect fast food, don’t expect machine-made products.  In Tropea, everything is artisenal, local and unselfconsciously good.  You and your dog should go!