In front of me, there’s a glass of Biltmore Estates Merlot and a plate of Buffalo Spiced Calamari while I sit at this outdoor patio listening to a live jazz band nearby with my dog Victor by my side.
Ok, he’s under the chair.
The point is I’m eating with Victor at Cedric’s Tavern, at Antler Hill Village, part of the Biltmore Estates resort-like mecca that surrounds the historic six-level home once owned by George Vanderbilt and still run by the family. The ‘village’ is a semi-circle Victorian courtyard of bistros, a winery, ice cream parlor, gift stores and wedding museum.
First, why this is significant to me.
In Ontario, Canada – the province I live in – there’s a stupid, stupid provincial law (did I mention it was stupid?) that forbids dogs near restaurants, even on outdoor patios and at food festivals. Even outdoors! Health concerns are the reason. Wait, did a non-flea protected squirrel just run across that outdoor table? Did that bird just poop?
Clearly, I’m not a fan of this over-protective law, and it should be up to the restaurant owners what clientele they want to attract, or turn away.
However, no one asked me. The law remains and therefore at home, I can’t eat at outdoor patios with my favourite well-behaved dining companion. So, traveling takes on greater meaning.
When I asked at Cedric’s if I could bring my dog on the patio, they looked at me strangely and said, ‘of course,’ then led me to a table faster than I could gather him up. Our waiter brought him water.
Second, Cedric’s Tavern at Biltmore Estates in Ashville, North Carolina should be dog friendly.
It’s named after Vanderbilt’s first family dog, a Saint Bernard, who had the run of the property. A house tour reveals a doggie-door that kept Cedric out of the downstairs kitchen and food prep area. After Cedric – whose offspring were gifted to family friends – the Vanderbilts had many dogs and their daughter Cornelia continued the pet-loving tradition by adding a parrot and even a skunk to the mix.
Today, a bronze statue of a young girl forever enticing a receptive dog with a toy stands outside the restaurant. The winery sells a beer named after Cedric, and his contribution to the house is etched on a plague by the tavern door.
And I’m enjoying what will likely be my best road trip meal on our journey – without having to leave Victor out of my sight. I even petted him. Egads. The germs. (Note: we both survived just fine).
Thanks to Red Roof Inn for providing accommodations. Click on Red Roof banner on this site. Take advantage of the VIP code 621277 offer here and get 15% off until September 30, 2016.
If you missed our previous Road Trip adventures, check out Toledo, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky.
Need more information about travelling to North Carolina? Go to the experts, North Carolina Fodor Travel Guide, available on Amazon.