Cottonwood, Idaho is a very small town in a very beautiful part of the U.S. It’s located on Highway 95, a humdinger of a road stretching the length of Idaho’s Panhandle. Thankfully for my nerves, the part we drove was not a twisty, plunge-y part of the highway, but if you like twists and plunges, U.S. Route 95 has plenty of them along its 538 miles.
Cottonwood is about an hour southeast of Lewiston, and for most of the trip we were in the Nez Perce reservation. It’s gorgeous country. What lured us both in this direction, however, was a view of a different kind:
The Dog Bark Park Inn is the creation of owners Dennis Sullivan & Frances Conklin, a couple of endless ingenuity and charm. The biggest feature is the World’s Largest Beagle, a bed-and-breakfast in the shape of a giant Beagle dog. Next to it is a smaller, but still giant, Beagle:
You’re starting to get the idea — this is indeed “a noble and absurd undertaking.”
It’s also a remarkably pleasant bed-and-breakfast. There’s only one suite, and it’s inside the largest of the Beagles. It contains a very comfortable queen-sized bed, in the Beagle’s belly, along with a petite but useful kitchenette, a dining table, and a good-sized bathroom. A ladder leads up the neck of the Beagle to a tiny room with two windows (the Beagle’s eyes) and a chair that folds out into a single-bed-sized foam mat (if you’re traveling with a young ‘un, they’d likely fit on the shelf that is, from the outside, the Beagle’s nose, but Chandler opted for leaving the mat on what is, essentially, the Beagle’s chin).
Not shown is the small fridge full of thoughtful and tasty items, like a cheese and fruit plate, yogurt and milk for breakfast, and many beverages. There is more than one restaurant in Cottonwood, we discovered, but between the picnic we’d packed at Frances’ suggestion, and the generous nibbles she provided, we were perfectly content.
Speaking of contentment, I’ve mentioned that the bed was comfortable. The shower was just what you’d want in a shower, temperature- and water-pressure-wise. There is wifi, but it’s iffy, and there’s no TV — but this is a place that cries out for you to put down your electronic devices and work on a puzzle or read a book (many of both are provided), and listen for the first coyote yelps. They’re out there, and it’s a remarkable experience to listen to them from the middle of a large Beagle.
I took literally dozens of pictures at the Dog Bark Park, but it would be unfair to deprive you of the fun of discovering its other delightfully goofy bits.
Okay, just one more:
We paid our own way at the Dog Bark Park Inn. I will always let you know when someone else foots (paws!) the bill. At just under $100/night, plus a one-time $15 pet fee, the Big Dog is less expensive than the various La Quinta inns we stayed in elsewhere on this particular road trip, and it’s a heck of a lot more fun.