North Carolina wins the prize for most dog-friendly state thus far. Not only are dogs allowed in regular stores where it shouldn’t be an issue (like hardware stores, auto parts stores, etc.), dogs are allowed in some bars. Dogs are a part of the family here. Campgrounds haven’t uncharged us for having a dog. Dogs pretty much are able to do everything short of voting (and what a better world if they did have the right to vote…).

We visited three establishments that were all especially welcoming:

First we stopped at TreeRock Social Cider House in Asheville. The gentleman who ran the place loved dogs and played a special song for Jolene when we sat down. The living room atmosphere of the place was inviting and warm and intimate—the sort of place where you could sit and sip, have a conversation. Impeccably decorated and serving up the widest variety of ciders I have ever seen, this was a perfect stop after a long day on the road. If you’re not a cider person, they also serve mead, wine, beer, and kombucha. 

The evening before, when we camped out at Stone Mountain, we stopped by Round Peak Vineyards (check out their website; it’s wicked cool). Not only do they allow dogs on the property, they have dog park on site. So Jolene could run through the leaves and sniff around at her leisure while we sipped on some great wines. We selected the dry flight, which was excellent. 

(And here’s another thing about this area in North Carolina: They do variety really well. Round Peak had both dry and sweet wines and the bartender was able to guide us in the right direction. They also served local beer. Like TreeRock, these businesses find a foothold in each type and offer a spread of good choices.)

Before departing Asheville, we had some time to kill and we’ve been extra careful to get Jolene out and about since life in a VW Bus with a dog can be hardest on the dog. We ran into a couple at a campsite who told us about Wagbar—a dog park with a bar attached. It’s super cool and easy. A day pass for your dog is $10 and you have to show their vaccination records (a vaccine passport, if you will). The dog also has to be fixed. Then you take the dog off leash, let them run in the park with other dogs while you enjoy one of their (mostly) local drinks on tap. The bar itself is made of shipping containers and they have once again a fabulous selection of drinks. I opted for a lower ABV seasonal ginger beer from Ginger’s Revenge. On a day like we had—mid 60s and sunny with dogs chilling everywhere—it was perfect. (One note about Wagbar: They are card only. They had mercy on us paying with cash, but that might have been because we already had drinks poured…)

So, in terms of dogs, you are doing things right, North Carolina. Now grant these canines the chance to vote. 

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