When a beautiful 80-degree day creeps up on you the first Friday of August, and it just so happens to be Firkin Friday at a brewery that you’ve wanted to visit, AND it’s International Beer Day, you text your very over-worked bestie at 10:00 a.m. to see if she can leave early for an impromptu overnight. If she says yes, you reschedule your dog’s teeth cleaning and hit the road!
It helps if you can mention a Kiwi Vanilla New England IPA Firkin being tapped at 6:00 p.m.
If I had to choose a favorite thing about living in Northwest Arkansas, it would the proximity to other cool places. A twelve-hour drive will get you to a beach, in less than ten you can make it to Chicago. Four hours will put you in Oklahoma City, and in two and half, you can be at a dog-friendly brewery in Springfield, MO. We packed the car and drove straight to Mother’s.
Mother’s Brewing Company
Dog-friendly with great beer and fun events, Mother’s Brewing Company has been on our radar for quite some time. Unfortunately, Jennifer has been working long hours and I was under the strictest of orders to NOT go without her. I guess a gorgeous day, a special brew, and a little prodding was all she needed.
We rolled into an almost completely full parking lot around 7:00 p.m. but with some fancy manuvering were able to squeeze into a space. After dabbing on lipstick and letting the dogs potty, we headed to the lawn and toward the outdoor beer kiosk. OUT. All out of Firkin. 10 gallons gone in a record 13 minutes.
This was no major disappointment to me- I HATE IPAs- but since I’d dangled it like a carrot in hopes of getting Jen out of the office, she had looked forward to trying it. She opted for its base instead, the Sunshine Chugsuckle. It was light enough that this IPA-hater got one too.
After grabbing our beers, we proceeded to try to find a chair on the lawn. You can probably guess that if the Firkin was gone in 13 minutes, so were the chairs. Fortunately, Jen had a blanket in the car. While she was gone, I scored two plastic adirondacks in the sun. So we spread the blanket out for the pups.
Can you ask for anything better than cold beer, music, and time with friends and dogs on a temperate August night in the South?
Both the Mother’s lawn and the taproom are family and dog-friendly, but if it’s a nice day, you’ll want to be on the lawn. With a couple of acres of grassy space featuring several Baggo boards (Cornhole for you Yankees), picnic tables, and the aforementioned adirondacks, there’s enough room to gather with friends, or spread out a blanket and cozy up with a date away from the crowd.
If there is an event scheduled, there will likely be a food truck on-site. But if you’re like me and get busy drinking beer, listening to music, and watching people go by, they might close before you grab a snack. Mother’s closes at 8 p.m. TU-TH, 9 p.m. on F-SA, and 5 p.m. on Sundays. They are closed on Monday.
Tips for visiting Mother’s with your dog:
- Leashes & poop bags. Duh.
- If there’s an event, throw some chairs or a lawn blanket in your trunk. Just in case.
- I didn’t see any dog water bowls, but I might have missed them. Take your own.
- DRINK THE RYE BARREL MILF (you, not your dog)!
Although there was a food truck at Mother’s we didn’t manage to hit it up before they closed. In fact, we were finishing our beer flight while they were putting up chairs around us, but I wasn’t running out on that Rye Barrel MILF sample. Everything about it made me happy!
Mother’s closes at 9 on Fridays, early in my book, and having not eaten, we needed food. We headed in the direction of downtown (less than a mile away) to see if we could find something. While circling, I noticed a patio sandwiched between a building and a parking lot. It looked like it might be dog-friendly, so I did a hasty park and ran in to ask. Score!
417 Taphouse is open until 1:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and the kitchen is open until midnight serving the full menu. They also feature the area’s only self-serve draft beer. I’m not sure how they keep track of that or how it works, but it sounds cool. I ordered a couple of bottles and placed my food order at the bar. On Friday and Saturday nights, they have food runners from 6 to midnight, but the rest of the time you’ll order and retrieve your own food from the barkeep.
The food menu features sandwiches, salads, pastas, burgers and Twisted Taters, which are hand-cut curly fries with various topping options. I was excited to discover they served deep-fried bacon, which I’d never tried. I was disappointed to discover I don’t really love deep-fried bacon. The deep frying interferes with the bacon flavor. I guess I like my bacon like I like my martinis- straight up!
Since this was a last-minute jump in the car and go trip, I didn’t make reservations. I wasn’t too worried about it. I’d scoped out the area and knew there were three LaQuinta’s within a few miles of Mother’s.
ALL LaQuinta’s everywhere are dog-friendly and pets stay free.
The trick is to check Trip Advisor. Some of the LaQ’s have been remodeled and some have not. Some are in sketchy areas and some are not. If the rating isn’t three or more stars, don’t stay there. Especially if you’re a solo female traveler.
As Jen and I sat at Mother’s looking at hotels, we quickly discovered they were all booked. HUH? It didn’t occur to me that something was going on in Springfield- like an Assembly of God convention- so I was convinced we’d just find something after dinner.
Fortunately, we found a strip of hotels and just kept pulling up and running inside to the desk of the ones I knew to be dog-friendly. After several stops, we landed at Candlewood Suites. That’s when we learned of the convention.
Pet Policy: Pets weighing less than 80 lbs. are welcome, and obviously they allow more than one pet per room. A non-refundable pet fee is charged based upon the length of stay. 6 nights up to $75, 7 or more nights up to $150. We only needed the one night, so they didn’t charge us at all. According to their online policies, proper medical certification specifying that all vaccinations are up to date must be available upon request, and pets may be left unattended in your room, but must be in a crate or pet carrier while you are gone.
Pet Amenities: Pet guests have a designated dog relief area with waste disposal bags. Our location also had doggie treats available at the front desk.
I always love traveling with Jennifer and Charlie because they get up a lot earlier than I do. That means that by the time I roll over and lift my head, Henri has usually already been out to potty. All I have to do is make some coffee, feed Henri, and dig up doggie fun.
If you search “farmer’s market springfield missouri,” you’ll discover several- Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks, Greater Springfield Market, C-Street Market, and a place called Urban Roots Farm. I thought the later looked interesting and since there was a number, I called.
The phone was answered by a young girl who asked me if I could “hold on a minute.” The farm owner, Melissa, returned to the line. She informed me that they were indeed open but that they weren’t exactly a traditional farmer’s market. She also told me a bit about the others. We decided to check out Urban Roots, ’cause I like the concept.
Urban Roots Farm
Adam and Melissa Millsap, owners of this 1.7 acre farm in downtown Springfield, believe in a locally grown, susatainable food system. To that end, they have created Urban Roots Farm in an up-and-coming but not quite yet thriving residential neighborhood. Produce can be purchased through their Community Supported Agriculture program, the farm stand located on the farm, or a number of local stores. We first spotted them at their small produce stand next to the outdoor beer taps at Mother’s on Friday night.
Melissa told me she might be out when we stopped, but we were welcome to roam the property and help ourselves to any produce, which would be available in the refridgerated walk-in. Purchases are on the honor system via the cash box on the wall, and a sign pointed to free fresh-cut flowers in a bag on the floor.
The farm isn’t big and it was misting rain, so we didn’t stay long, but if you’re in town and looking to check out something unique that supports local commerce, stop by. In the walk-in you’ll find all manner of seasonal produce, local raw honey that I’m guessing comes from the multiple bee boxes located along the back fence, and fresh eggs. I wish I’d had a chance to meet the owners; I bet they’re cool people.
*If visiting with your pooch be wary of the fencing surrounding the chickens. It’s electric.
Urban Roots wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I thought “Saturday morning farmer’s market.” At home, it’s not just a market, it’s a social event. Melissa was kind enough to give us the local market rundown- like, you can’t go to Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks with your dog unless he’s passed the FMO Canine Good Citizen and has a green bandana. She pointed us, instead, in the direction of a place that was not only dog-friendly to travelers, but in close proximity to our brunch location.
C-Street City Market is located downtown in the Commercial Street Historic District. It’s a fairly small market compared to what we’re used to in Fayetteville and on this particular Saturday, the stormy weather had already sent several vendors packing. What remained was a small selection of produce, baked goods, crafts, and one doggie-centric booth called Pet Wants. Owner Dennis Ensor chatted with us about his business and products, and offered both pooches free samples. We left with some Sweet Pawtatoes and a bottle of ZinfanTail Dog Wine. ‘Cause who wants to drink alone?!
After a bit of shopping and drying of dog feet, we headed in the direction of our next adventure: Yappy Hour Brunch at Springfield’s “first urban boutique hotel.” Built in 1906 as a Masonic Temple, the four-story Hotel Vandivort has been completely restored in a way that accentuates historic design elements while offering modern amenities.
The large lobby was crowded with happily barking guests making themselves comfortable on the floor while their people lounged in chairs, gathered on sofas, and dined at tables. We found the only loveseat still available and soon thereafter we were presented with a silver tray of pup-treats in much the same way you’d present a human with hor d’ourves. The atmosphere was loud and lively, and probably not ideal for shy or timid dogs.
It took a while for our waitress to notice or get to us, but with $15 bottomless mimosas and a build-your-own bloody mary bar it was hard to complain. I was beginning to think we should have planned to stay another night in Springfield, but Jen ordered hot tea.
If you follow Travel Tails on Facebook– you do, don’t you?!- then you may already know this is where I met Tavii, a male chocolate lab who was available for adoption through Rescue One. I watched him for almost two hours and not one thing phased him- not the barking dogs, not the intrusive toddler who I finally had to tell to leave Henri alone, not all the different people petting him. He seemed to enjoy every minute of it, greeting each new person with as much enthusiasm as the last, and when no one was petting him, he layed on the floor squeaking his hedgehog. “Someone I know has to adopt this dog,” I thought to myself.
I knew Friday morning that we needed to go to Springfield. I thought it was for beer. Turns out it was for Tavii.
I walked over to meet him and find out a bit more. When rescued, he was heartworm positive, covered in fleas, ticks and fly bites, and most of his hair was gone. He’d gained 20 lbs. since then and was obviously holding no grudges. I immediately posted his photo to both my travel and training pages hoping someone would fall in love. Then I began racking my brain.
Brunch was over at 2:00 and by 2:17, I had text his photo to the person I thought should be his new mom- a former client whose chocolate lab was also a rescue, but was now almost 16. “I found you a dog,” I said. I crossed my fingers. She and her husband went to meet him two weeks later, and brought him straight home to his sister and his new lake house.
Everybody, meet Tavii Whittle!
For those of you who don’t know, Henri is also originally from Springfield. His rescue is now defunct, but clearly good dogs come from there!
More To Do in Springfield
There’s lots more to do in Springfield than what we accomplished in 24 hours. For family fun that includes the dog, check out:
For eats, visit:
We’ll definitely be heading back to Springfield, probably for another Mother’s event. We’ll check out the things we missed, dig up some more eats, and report back with an update. You can stay in the know by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter or Instagram. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome!