Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On the up swing

I remember visiting Chattanooga as a child on a pass through of a car trip vacation. I don’t remember much of what we saw. I do remember my parents doing a rare cave in to a tourist attraction and letting us ride an incline railway up a mountain. Perhaps Chattanooga is more memorable now, having undergone a recent revitalization. That incline railway is still around, by the way, but now it’s wheelchair-accessible.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My kind of town

I grew up in the Chicago area, so it was heartening to see this post on the Rolling Rains Report about the level of accessibility of the new Millennium Park, which incorporates the barrier free philosophy of Universal Design. This will bode well for the next time my family visits.

That time of year

Actor Dustin Nguyen thinks you should be planning summer vacation, even if you are living with paralysis. "We live in one of the most beautiful countries on earth," said Nguyen, who recently wrapped filming his upcoming feature, 'Little Fish,' co-starring Cate Blanchett. "It's a shame not to try to explore more of
it. With the resources available today, especially found at the Paralysis Resource Center, there are countless opportunities and ways to travel." “The Minority Communities Outreach Campaign is a new public awareness initiative of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center (PRC), a program of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, formed through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The PRC provides information services to people and their families nationwide who are living with paralysis,” says PR Newswire.

Tilting at windmills

The area of Spain that was home to the ficitious Don Quixote is spending $66 million to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes' acclaimed masterpiece, Don Quixote. A Quixote Festival will include theatrical performances - many Quixote themed. They will take place on the “stages, main plazas, bullrings, cloisters and patios of El Toboso, Esquivias, Argamasilla de Alba and other towns and villages throughout Castile-La Mancha. In August, the renowned Almagro Classical Theatre Festival will showcase Cervantes' works in Europe's last remaining medieval theatre. A traveling tartina will come to 50 villages which do not have their own auditoriums,” says Travel Video Television. Also of interest is the Route of Don Quixote, which showcases the places of the ficitious knights journey. “The ruta starts in the region's capital of Toledo … and continues through five provinces and some 2,000 sites of cultural interest including 20 nature reserves. Brochures detailing the ten different itineraries and the Castile-La Mancha region are available online. Designated a green and sustainable tour, the ruta can be done on foot, by bicycle or by car. Visitors can stay at more than 50 hotels, inns, agrotourism lodgings and paradors. Seventy percent is adapted for disabled travelers.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Chattanooga choo-choo?

The revived downtown Chattanooga has gotten easier for those with mobility impairments to get around. The city is celebrating a many multi million dollar redevelopment of its riverfront this spring. Says usatoday.com: “The redevelopment also includes a sculpture garden with a walkway linking it to an expanded Hunter Museum of American Art on an 80-foot high bluff over the river. An incline transporter — which is a wheelchair-accessible cable car on a track — also runs along the walkway's steep path.” Sounds like a creative solution to a difficult accessibility challenge.

Can't get there

Travel sites continue to be some of those getting in trouble for not meeting accessibility standards.

Happy trails

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans a ribbon-cutting for the latest phase of the Western Maryland Rail Trail Thursday, May 19. The path “is a 23-mile trail that follows the bends and curves of both the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. The WMRT is perfect for hiking, biking, roller blading or, weather permitting, cross country skiing. It is also accessible to visitors with disabilities. The trail is especially suited to families, novice cyclists (it's almost completely flat), and for anyone seeking a pleasant, leisurely ride,” according to the DNR.

Friday, May 13, 2005

From disaster, opportunity

Scott Rains of rollingrains.com is back from last week’s accessible tourism conference in Taipei. If you went away to college or even summer camp you know that getting a roommate can be a crap shoot. But Scott hit the jackpot. His roomy for the conference, Dr. Edwin Fahmi, is the man in charge of rebuilding Aceh province in Indonesia. Fahmi has five years and $36 million to rebuild the place, “literally from the ground up,” Scott says. Fahmi is urgently looking for "case studies of similar large-scale barrier-free site-building, actionable plans and contacts." If you have any suggestions, you can pass them along to Scott at rollingrains.com. Imagine an almost complete rebuild of a major tourist area, with inclusive access features included every “non-step” of the way. Quoting Scott, “This is too good an opportunity to spread accessible infrastructure to pass up.”

For moms

This posting is a bit after Mother's Day, but I suspect Randall Howe's column had all to do about honoring his mother.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Driving home

Colin Javens doesn’t see obstacles. “I’ve always been into adventure and I’m not going to let my wheelchair get in my way. The only limitations you have are those you set yourself and I’m focusing on that to help raise funds for spinal injury research,” he says in this article. How into adventure is he? Colin plans a drive across Africa, dubbed Driving Home, to raise money for research and awareness of spinal cord injuries.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Conference on Accessible Tourism

The first international conference on accessible travel is going on this week. Here’s a link to an article outlining some of the questions that will be discussed during breakout sessions. Post your ideas. They may still get into the give and take.