Author: travelswithchiclet

It’s the ones you meet along the way

One of Chiclet’s and my own favorite thing about traveling is meeting new and interesting people. And they are everywhere!

We are currently in the last hours of a two-week odyssey that took us from our home base on Rusty Metal Farm to New York (briefly for a flying layover) to a longer stay in Chicago to Bangor, Maine and Campobello, Maine.

Image uploaded from iOS
One lump or two? The hostesses at Tea With Eleanor on Campobello Island were charmed by this tiny dog and her good manners.

Along the way we had more fun than perhaps a woman and tiny dog should have. But have it we did! And we met some really, really wonderful folks from all walks of life. As far as Chiclet is concerned, there are no strangers – only friends she has not met yet. Who am I to argue? Especially when I see how happy she is interacting with people in our travels, and how happy they are to meet her.

When Chiclet met some bikers from Pennsylvania as they rode through Bangor, she hopped on board. I think she was hearing the call of the open road.
Spending a last few, fond moments with one of the sweet valets at Restoration Hardware Chicago — these young men always make sure to have treats on hand for the canines of the Gold Coast neighborhood.

So, next time you are traveling – be it to the corner store to to a new corner of the world, take time to look up disconnect from whatever electronic device you have going and say hello to that stranger sitting next to you or the one standing in line in front of you. Who knows? He or she could just be a friend you never met.

Hanging out pre-boarding with a Delta flight attendant at JFK in New York City.
Of course, the best meet ups are the ones with your BFF — like Lil Bean, a special correspondent to this blog.

Chiclet goes upriver

Sometimes a tiny dog needs to go where everyone knows her name.

So, recently I packed Chiclet up in her travel carrier and we took a drive west out of Fort Kent up along the St. John River and ended up in the tiny community of Allagash (population 236).

Located in northwest Aroostook County near the Canadian border where the Allagash and St. John rivers meet, where paved Route 161 ends and the dirt roads leading into the North Maine Woods begin, Allagash is also home to Two Rivers Lunch, the community’s only restaurant.

Chiclet was a hit with everyone at Two Rivers Lunch, including Tyler Kelly, father of the restaurant’s owner Darlene Kelly Dumond. They even had matching plaid vests!

Two Rivers is the kind of place that, after just one visit, everyone does, indeed know your name. And, if you take the time to chat with any of the locals enjoying a cup of coffee during the day, they will likely remember where you are from, what you do for a living and ask about your family on your next visit.

As for Chiclet, she was a hit from the moment she walked in and made herself completely at home.

Not an inch of Two Rivers Lunch is off limits to this tiny dog.

To say Two Rivers is dog-friendly is an understatement. Owner Darlene Kelly Dumond – the daughter of the restaurant’s founders – welcomes all four-pawed customer with open arms. For her part, Chiclet worked the room like a pro visiting with patrons and employees alike.

The menu at Two Rivers is typical diner – eggs, bacon, pancake for breakfast; burgers, sandwiches, soup and fries for lunch. But everything is homemade. And note, I say “pancake” singular. The flapjacks at Two Rivers are so large they take up an entire plate and are served one at a time.

Chiclet & pancake at Two Rivers Lunch. Does not get much better.

I’ve driven over winter roads and even biked the 40-miles just for one of those pancakes. And, arrive after the normal breakfast hour? No worries – Darlene and her crew will whip up one anytime.

Darlene Kelly Dumond, owner of Two Rivers Lunch, sits down for a typical Maine breakfast of pancake, beans and bacon.

It’s the kind of place loitering is not only allowed, it’s encouraged as the regulars swap stories, share jokes and catch up on the news of the day and everyone has VIP status.

Including Chiclet, a VITD — Very Important Tiny Dog.

Two Rivers Lunch is a 45-minute drive from Fort Kent and is open year round 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. or call 207-398-3393 for daily specials. Check them out of Facebook.


Tiny dog, big support

According to recent stories in the media, booking a flight these days is more like buying passage on Noah’s Ark. That’s because the number of people flying with what they claim to be emotional support or service animals has increased both in numbers and species.

Airlines are worried about passengers trying to pass off pets as emotional support animals, which fly for free. But airlines are not always clear about what qualifies as an emotional support animal.  And this is creating headaches for both airline personnel and the people who legitimately need their support animals when traveling.

Things really came to a head this past week when United Airlines denied a woman’s efforts to bring a peacock onto a flight departing from Newark Liberty International Airport.

In the wake of that and other cases in which large, unruly dogs have attacked passengers or people have claimed everything from snakes to large spiders to penguins or flying squirrels as their “support animals,” the major US carriers have announced they are tightening up their rules on animals in the cabins and placed many critters on a no-fly list.


Here are the steps passengers have to take to bring an emotional support animal into the main cabin on one of the three major US airlines:

  • American — Passengers must submit a document signed by a licensed doctor or medical health professional which states that the passenger has a “mental health or emotional disability” and needs the animal “for emotional support or psychiatric service” on the flight or at the passenger’s destination. The document needs to have been signed within the past year and must be submitted at least 48 hours before the flight.
  • Delta — Starting March 1, passengers will have to submit three documents if they wish to travel with an emotional support animal. In addition to a signed statement from a medical professional, passengers will have to provide vaccination dates and the contact information of the animal’s veterinarian and sign a statement that claims the animal is properly trained “to behave in a public setting” and take the passenger’s “direction upon command.” The document needs to have been signed within the past year and must be submitted at least 48 hours before the flight.
  • United — Passengers must submit a document from a medical or mental health professional which states that the passenger has a “mental health-related disability” and that the emotional support animal “is necessary to the passenger’s mental health or treatment.” The document needs to have been signed within the past year and must be submitted at least 48 hours before the flight.

While passengers who can complete these steps will often be able to bring their emotional support animals into the cabin with them during a flight, there are some exceptions.

The US Department of Transportation says that airlines don’t have to let support animals into the cabin if they’re too large, heavy, disruptive, or threatening to the crew and passengers. And airlines don’t have to accept ferrets, reptiles, snakes, spiders, or sugar gliders as emotional support animals. American Airlines adds hedgehogs, insects, rodents, amphibians, non-household birds, and any animals with tusks, horns, or hooves, to its no-fly list.

So why would someone want to claim a pet as an emotional support or therapy animal?

Simple – those animals fly for free in the cabin. Most airlines charge extra for pets on a plane — anywhere from $50 to $150 one-way. That, when combined with the allure of having their pets as carry-on rather than flying in the cargo hold has resulted in more and more people faking it when it comes to service animals.

That’s a real problem. For one thing, those who fly the planes and take care of passengers have enough to do without worrying about wrangling disruptive critters. For another, it is going to make it harder for those of us with legitimate emotional support or service animals to fly with them.

Yes, Chiclet is a registered emotional support animal. This means, under FAA regulations, she can accompany me for free on flights. So far, I have ponied up the extra cash for her ticket because I think that is only fair. What is important is having her with me. She stays in her carrier, is quiet, well behaved and causes no issues at all in-flight.

So, before you decide to have your Belgian draught horse or St. Bernard declared a support animal so you can scam a free ticket for them, please consider the needs of those people who may otherwise not travel if not for the very real, very important service their animals provide.


What Chiclet would like you to know:

“I am a registered  Emotional Support Animal. When I am wearing my vest, it means I’m working. What is my job? Basically, I provide comfort and a calming presence to my mom when we travel, I help her deal with the very real (and potentially debilitating) panic, anxiety & stress she experiences with ground and air travel. And I do a really, really good job! When I am with her, she thinks about me and is able to remain calm and focused. It makes me really happy and proud I can do that for her and we can share all sorts of adventures because of that. But you know what? There are animals that have even more important jobs! Those are the registered service animals. These are animals — usually dogs — that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button. How cool is that? Unlike me, registered service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But we are all important to our humans, we are needed and we are really fed up with those people scamming the system. So, knock it off!”

Where books, brews & tiny dogs meet

Sure, it’s a book store – a real, honest to goodness bookstore. Sure, it serves some of Maine’s best craft beer and has a small but impressive wine list. And yes, the food is great. But the very best thing about Turn the Page Bookstore & Wine Bar? It’s so dog-friendly that as soon as we entered, the staff placed a water dish down for Chiclet and offered to watch her while I concentrated on the menu.

Heck, the bartender is even a former professional dog sitter.

One of Millinocket, Maine’s newest businesses, Turn the Page is hoping to do just that and help turn a page on the region’s economic development as it moves from a mill-based economy to one centered around outdoor recreation.

At Turn The Page Bookstore and Wine Bar owner Steve Golieb with girlfriend Ashley Wells may have come up with a magic combination — books, craft brew, great wines, good food and friendly conversation. All under one roof.

“I saw some great opportunities here,” Golieb said. “There is a lot of interest and renewed focus on the area with the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

So confident was Golieb in the Katahdin region’s economic future, he packed up his entire stock of used books from his Baker City, Oregon, bookstore and moved lock, stock and barrel to Millinocket, opening the bookstore-eatery this past July.

Turn the Page features walls lined with bookshelves and used books ranging in topics from historical fiction to romance to paranormal.

A few of those logging momentos remain — some photographs and a chainsaw here and there.

But the vibe is now definitely bibliofile, welcoming and warm.

“I really wanted to do something that was in the retail sector where I could meet people and get to know the people,” Golieb said. “So far, most of the people around here love it.”

So, too, does Chiclet. Free to roam around and try out the furniture, she happily followed me as I checked out the book shelves while I sipped a frosty mug of craft beer. When she got tired, no one said “no” or “get down” when she hopped on to one of the couches in the open seating area to grab a few Zs.

Both of us can’t wait to see how the chapters unfold for this dog and reader friendly business!

Turn the Page Bookstore and Wine Bar is located at 57 Penobscot Avenue in Millinocket. Spring, summer and fall Hours are Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Contact: 207-385-8008