Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lulu the beagle makes her mark in Winter Park, FL

UPDATE: Winter Park is still very dog friendly. However, The Doggie Door closed down in 2017. 

I want Lulu to be one of those trendy dogs I can walk around those trendy little downtown areas.

I know, I probably should have gotten another kind of dog then, right? That's not really what a beagle is for. Still, I think Lulu can be stacked up against any of the other dogs that prance around those places. So Tuesday I bathed Lulu, put on her most fetching bandanna, and took her to Winter Park.

Winter Park is one of the most dog-friendly areas in Central Florida. It's a small city just north of Orlando that was built in the 1800s as a haven for the wealthy. It's now a trendy home for people looking for that old Main Street USA feel -- except Main Street here is called Park Avenue.

People walk dogs of all kinds along Park Avenue, where fresh water bowls are outside many of the shops for the dogs to get a quick lap as they follow their human friends. There's The Doggie Door, a shop dedicated to chic pet stuff, and this year there will be a doggy festival.

The first thing I did when we got there was make sure she knew she had to listen to me (well, at least try to get her to understand that). I stepped on the leash, and told her to sit. I didn't go anywhere until she did so.

Once she finally got the message, we met my friend at Shoooz. I called ahead of time to ask if it was okay to bring Lulu inside.

I knew the store's owners had a dog who hung out at the store, so I had hoped she wouldn't be too much of a bother. But the minute she smelled the other dog, look what she did:

I was incredibly embarassed. The managers were very nice about it, but I was so ready to go home, right there and then.

Fortunately, the dog's young golden retriever came out from the back to meet Lulu, and told her what's what in the nicest way possible -- assertive sniffing. Lulu kinda calmed down after that.

After we got the shoes, we decided to get some lunch. We chose Paris Bistro, which has outdoor seating along the avenue. We got a table, and they brought a bowl of ice water for Lulu.

We sat and ate, and I fed her little bits of bread with some of the sauce from my beef burgundy. She sniffed about and watched, but was generally pretty good, eventually just sitting down. We only had one scuffle with a dog she didn't like where I thought she would pull the whole table down. She seemed to like the other dogs she met.

She even got to look at some fish while I got to give myself a treat at Le Macaron.

And since she did reasonably well, I stopped at The Doggie Door on the way back to the car and bought her a treat.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt for doggies. They just lick it, so it lasts a while.

And with that, we got on the elevator at the parking garage and drove away.

Winter Park is just north of Orlando, and is easily accessible from I-4 off the Fairbanks Avenue and Lee Road exits. They have a great farmers market on Saturdays, and festivals throughout the year. Dogs are welcome on Park Avenue and at the farmers market, just keep them off Central Park.

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