My Valentine is 101 pounds of black furry love. We share a love for the outdoors and can appreciate a great tasting brisket. Her name is Willow, and she’s a one-year-old Newfoundland.
Even in the winter months in Maryland, you can catch a beautiful sunny day perfectly suited for a walk. Quiet Waters Park was just the right setting on such a day to hit the trails with the pup. Fellow canines of all shapes and sizes were out enjoying the wooded vistas, ready to shed their leashes for a sprint in the dog park. Everyone got along just grand, with a few sniffs and a wag of approval for the rotation of newcomers entering the fenced yard. With plenty of room to run and lots of dogs to play with, she was having a great time. For the many ways in which we humans complicate matters, dogs are great demonstrators on how best to just go with the flow.
Back on the leash, we trotted down the beautiful waterfront overlook, while the sparkles of sun were glittering off the bay. At the end of the path, my girl set out to indulge in her inherent nature: to bound for joy into the water! Fetching a stick, then forgetting the stick, getting preoccupied with her fellow swim mates… There is nothing more joyous than seeing a newfy in water! (Except maybe a newfy in snow. That is to be determined.)
After a great shake, our playing around had worked us up an appetite. Just outside the park is a local favorite: Annapolis Smokehouse & Tavern. With a great bar for watching the game, an awe-inspiring gallery wall with local artists like Charles Lawrance and J.B.Voigt Photography, and not to mention a top-notch selection of barbecue with their twist on American favorites, its no wonder Smokehouse is the perfect post-park stop.
I probably could’ve had my meal paid for had I charged a fee for puppy petting. Willow was the official greeter for our visit, and this girl gets the celebrity treatment. I’m partial. Maybe its those soulful eyes, or that fluffy coat, but Willow seems to bring so much joy to people just by being herself. She is an admirable positive presence to have around.
After happily receiving belly rubs and ear scratches, the real treat had arrived: the meat sampler! I set Willow’s bowl up with a little pulled pork and delicious brisket. I feel confident in saying there are shop-vacs that could have taken longer to inhale the contents. Oh yes, when it came to Smokehouse, Willow was a fan!
Once the BBQ was finished and she barked aloud to make sure everyone knew what a travesty this was, we bid our friends farewell and headed downtown to walk it off. Grabbing a coffee from the Market House, we set out for a stroll around City Dock to see the ducks in the harbor, the crowds of people, and plenty of other dogs taking advantage of the nice weather. We came upon a big-dog brigade! Made up of a mastiff and german shepherd, these were two of the few dogs that could make Willow look small by comparison.
Even with the chill of the air, Spa Creek and the Severn River were host to the same lovely scenery you can find year-round in Annapolis. Populated with sailboats & the Bay Bridge in the distance, we stopped at a bench to take in the view.
By the time we got home, I had one satisfied, tuckered-out pooch. She’ll definitely be joining me for a second date!