It’s only about an hour’s drive from Boston to Providence, but you and your dog can make it a leisurely day trip by hopping off the highways to enjoy the dog-friendly attractions along the way. In addition to parks and hiking trails off routes 93 and 95, you’ll find a bakery offering yummy organic dog treats and a bookstore where you can browse thousands of titles with your canine companion in tow. Once you arrive in Providence, restaurants with outdoor dining facilities will welcome your leashed, well-behaved dog for a fun, sun-soaked day out.
From Boston, take Route 93 south to Route 95 south, into Providence. It’s about 50 miles, though if you follow this itinerary, the side trips will add a few dozen miles to the journey. You should have no trouble getting all the way into Providence and back on less than a tank of gas.
Blue Hills Reservation
695 Hillside St.
Milton, MA 02186
Located only minutes from Boston via the Houghton’s Pond exit on Route 93, the state-owned Blue Hills Reservation encompasses 7,000 acres of natural woodlands, fields, meadows, ponds, quarries and hills. Leashed dogs are permitted on the reservation’s 125 miles of walking trails, but are not allowed on beaches. Wear sturdy shoes and carry water for yourself and your dog as these hikes can be a bit rough. Enjoy the trails and look out for some of Massachusetts’ endangered species on this exciting reservation.
Sharon Dog Park
30 E. Foxboro Street
Sharon, MA 02067
Take Exit 10 to Route 27 and it will take you to the Sharon Dog Park, one of only 600 official dog parks in the U.S. Part of the Sharon Greenway, it’s a place where all breeds of dogs are welcome, and where they may frolic off leash within the safe confines of a large fenced area. Dogs must be at least 4 months old, up to date on vaccinations and stay under the watchful eye of their human companion at all times. There is two-dog limit for each person visiting the park.
Borderland State Park
259 Massapoag Ave.
North Easton, MA 02356
Price: $2 parking fee
With more than 20 miles of hiking trails, six ponds, old farm roads and paths through hay fields, Borderland State Park is delightful destination for people and dogs alike. Dogs must be secured on leashes not more than 10 feet long at all times, and you’ll have to show proof of a current rabies vaccination. There are no restaurants within three miles of the park, and no food vendors within its boundaries, but there are restrooms, water fountains and a cold drink machine at the Visitors Center. There you will also find trail maps and tables on which to spread out a picnic feast for a late lunch.
Dogs in Harmony
1417 Atwood Ave.
You’ve arrived in Rhode Island now, and it’s time for an afternoon snack. Dogs in Harmony welcomes you and your dog to shop and sniff in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Its offerings include preservative-free organic dog treats and fresh-baked pastries, as well as flower essences, hand-crafted leashes, ceramic “paw ware,” pet jewelry, blankets and toys. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat and find a souvenir for your pooch as well.
Books on the Square
471 Angell St.
Providence, RI 02906
After a day of outdoor fun, shift into a quieter gear by browsing some of the 20,000 new and used titles at Books on the Square, a dog-friendly independent bookstore in the heart of the city’s Wayland Square. There is plenty of free parking behind the store and on neighboring streets. Give your dog some time to relax while you browse the racks. Snag a few books on dogs or getaways, so you and your furry friend can start planning your next trip.
Where to Eat
1060 Hope St.
Providence, RI 02906
Not only does India Restaurant welcome leashed, well-mannered dogs at its sidewalk tables, it also boasts a “Doggie Menu,” featuring small or large bowls of hamburger, chicken or sweet potato and rice, as well as a yogurt pop for dessert. The human menu isn’t bad either, with fantastic curry dishes, sandwiches and salads. Both vegetarian and dog friendly, this is the perfect place for you and your best friend to grab lunch.
311 Westminster St.
Providence, RI 02903
Click here for reservations
Join other dog people and their canine companions all summer long at Aspire’s weekly “Yappy Hour,” in its outdoor A-Bar courtyard. Co-sponsored with Furry Friends Pet Care Services, the Monday soirees welcome well-behaved, leashed dogs for food, drinks and fun in a casual atmosphere. Local trainers, nutritionists, photographers and other pet vendors are also on hand on a rotating basis throughout the season. Meet other dog lovers like yourself and give your pup some time to socialize with other local dogs at Aspire.
Just In Case
Bay State Veterinary Emergency Services
76 Baptist St.
Swansea, MA 02777
BSVES is a state-of-the-art medical facility offering 24-hour emergency care and specialty services for dogs and other companion animals. It offers specialists in surgery, critical care and internal medicine. Make sure you have its number or another vet’s number saved for this trip just in case your pup gets sick during your travels. The vets do ask that if you are planning on bringing your dog in, even in an emergency, to just call ahead and give them a heads up so they can be ready.
Maureen Harmonay wears many hats. She is a real estate agent who specializes in country estates, antique homes, and horse properties in the metrowest suburbs of Boston. With certifications in Feng Shui and as an Eco-Broker, she is keenly attuned to how energy affects the health of a home and its occupants, both humans and pets. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.