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Travel Ideas: Life in the Slow Lane with Dogs

By: Tracy Grinnell

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You're tired of the concrete. You've had it with noisy streets. If you have to spend another morning on a crowded city subway, you'll lose your mind. And, if you describe how you feel about "PETS NOT ALLOWED" establishments, they'd have to censor your every word! Well, we have an answer. In the quaint town of Clearfield, Pa., a couple of country folk do a pretty good job of deprogramming stressed-out city folk and their pets.

Tim and Peggy Durant own three distinctive establishments where guests can come to unwind, regroup and be pampered: The Victorian Loft Bed & Breakfast, The Second Street Suite and The Cedarwood Lodge. Each establishment is designed to provide guests with at-home privacy and comfort and many amenities to make your stay memorable.

Victorian Loft Bed & Breakfast

At this elegant Victorian getaway, built in 1894 and located in Clearfield's historic district, you'll feel as if you've stepped back in time. Overlooking the Susquehanna River, its nostalgic interior design includes a cherry-and-oak grand staircase, stained-glass windows and period furnishings. Beautiful large double-decker gingerbread sitting porches provide guests with relaxing areas to read, talk, unwind or nap. For your enjoyment, a music parlor exists with a grand piano and there's a Victorian parlor with a fireplace for cozy moments.

The Durants have gone out of their way to provide their guests with important little extras to make for an unforgettable stay. A complimentary home-cooked breakfast is served each morning - on the best china - in the formal Victorian dining room and includes baked goods, juices, coffee, tea and a hearty main course.

A variety of room types are available. Lydia's Room is located on the second floor and is furnished with a queen-sized bed and private bath and balcony. The Loft Suite is located on the third floor and, for privacy purposes, is rented to one party only. It has two bedrooms with a queen-sized bed in each and six skylights in total. You'll feel completely at home with your own private living room and kitchen with dining area. An added extra is the double whirlpool bath overlooking the river. Regular loft rooms are rented individually and have a shared bath. They're perfect for the business traveler who wants a home-away-from-home.

All rooms are air-conditioned and have telephones, cable TV and VCRs. Family movies are provided in each room and ensure quality family time for guests with children.

The Second Street Suite

This quaint suite, located in downtown Clearfield, is also designed to provide a home-away-from-home for business travelers, couples or families. Furnished with a queen-sized bed, queen-sized sleeper sofa, living room, fully-equipped eat-in kitchen, large private bath and coin laundry machines on the premises, there's plenty of room and amenities to help you forget busy city life. You'll also enjoy homemade baked goods for your first morning's breakfast and coffee and tea are always at your disposal.

Both the Victorian Loft Bed & Breakfast and The Second Street Suite are within walking distance of fine dining establishments, movie theatres, shopping and the scenic "Rails to Trails," a 12-mile path between Clearfield and Grampian that's perfect for fitness buffs who want to go biking or hiking.

The Cedarwood Lodge

Lions and tiger and bears ... oh my! If you're looking for a beautiful retreat surrounded by nature, this mountain cabin is just right. Of course, you won't see lions and tigers while staying at this rustic yet completely comfortable cabin, but you just might see deer, turkey and fox - and maybe an occasional bear - out and about the lodge. Hidden in the Moshannon State Forest and situated on 8 acres of land, this private retreat has three bedrooms and plenty of space for extra cots and sleeping bags.

Extra amenities are also provided to make your country wilderness stay a success - the only things guests need to bring are enough clothes and food to last the duration of their stay. You'll find linens, pots, pans, dishes, a TV and VCR, family movies, a wood-burning stove and fireplace and a full bath with shower and tub. For your outdoor enjoyment, you and your guests can immerse yourselves in the natural scenery by cooking on the gas grill and eating meals on the screened-in porch, outside on the deck or on the provided picnic tables. Then, when the sun goes down, you can tell ghost stories and roast marshmallows in the campfire area.

Hiking trails and roads surround the cabin and you're only two miles away from swimming, fishing and boating at either Parker Dam State Park or S.B. Elliot State Park.

Pets Allowed

"We accept pets at our establishments and have had very good experiences with people who travel with their pets," says Peggy Durant, who owns all of the properties. "People who travel with their pets treat them like their children and, therefore, their pets are wonderful and we never have any regrets about accepting them."

Durant knows that when you have a pet, traveling can be "somewhat difficult" because many establishments don't accept animals and you're forced to leave your pet in a kennel. "More and more people today are refusing to leave their animals behind in kennels and are looking to go on vacations with their pets," she says. "We're glad to be able to accommodate these people ... and their pets."

Pets are only $5 a night and the most exotic pet the Durant's have accommodated, to date, is a parrot. "The owner gave the bird free reign over the cabin, so clean up, as you can imagine, wasn't that great," Durant laughs, "but we dealt with it and just hope that, in the future, owners take responsibility for their pets because we really enjoy accepting them."

For more information, reservations or rates, call: (814) 765-4805 or (800) 798-0456 or access the Web site at www.virtualcities.com/pa/victorianloft.htm

Photo Credit: A room at the Second Street Suite. Photo courtest of Second Street Suite.

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