Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pittsburgh

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   Time for all of our yearly checkups. We should be back on the road in a week or two so please check then for more posts. Thanks for visiting!

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

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  The signs for RV parking are confusing so just follow the signs for self parking to the end of the road. The last parking lot has long spaces for buses, tractor trailers and RVs but it’s very slanted and noisy. There’s also a dirt lot. We bypassed both of them and parked in the next to last lot which is level with plenty of open spaces. We stayed for one night only but if you stay longer you may be asked to move to one of the other lots.

This is not a good casino for wheelchair users. A long sidewalk dips down from the lot to the casino entrance. All of the chairs are fixed in place so the end machines are the only ones that are easy to reach. Casino

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site

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  The Val-Kill property is an isolated parcel of land on the Roosevelt family estate in Hyde Park where, in1925, a small stone house and a workshop were built specifically to be used by Eleanor Roosevelt and her friends. The house was used as a retreat and the workshop was a base for their experiment in providing winter work for local families through handcrafts such as furniture-making, metalwork and weaving. The experiment was not successful and the workshop became Eleanor’s home where she lived from 1945 until her death in 1962.

  The stone house is a small museum. We were disappointed in the presentation which barely touched on Eleanor Roosevelt’s work for universal human rights. A guided tour is given of the house. The furnishings are original or exact reproductions so that it looks like it did when Eleanor lived there.

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  The museum is accessible except for one room which has a step down. The house tour covers the first level only and is accessible.

  The parking lot has long RV/bus spaces.  A gravel road leads to the house. A shuttle is provided for visitor who have trouble walking but it’s not wheelchair accessible. Val- Kill

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Norman Rockwell Museum

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  In 1973 Norman Rockwell gave 367 pieces of his artwork in trust to the museum. The collection includes many of his most famous paintings plus preliminary sketches and studies. His studio, which was located in the backyard of his home in Stockbridge, Mass, has been moved to the museum grounds and is open to tour.  All 323 Saturday Evening Post covers that Rockwell illustrated are on display on the lower floor of the museum.
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   The museum is accessible but very plush carpeting makes pushing around a bit tiring. The path to the studio is paved. The studio is accessible.
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The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Museum
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Berkshire Botanical Garden

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  The garden is divided into two sections on opposites sides of the road. Demonstration gardens and a greenhouse are located behind the visitor center. Cross the road to view over a dozen display gardens located along a circular path. The garden is fairly small so it doesn’t take much time to see it all.

   The visitor center is accessible but the aisles may be crowded with merchandise, leaving little room for maneuvering a wheelchair. The paths on the visitor center side of the road are flat and fairly easy to push along. The paths on the other side of the road have some steep hills and are surfaced with loose gravel. Wheelchair users will need a strong helper to travel along the circular path. Some of the gardens are best seen by traveling across the grass which is thick and uneven. This is not a good garden for wheelchairs or scooters.

  The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Garden
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts

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  This is a small museum with a wide variety of art. The first floor showcases American art. The second floor is European art starting with religious paintings from the middle ages and traveling through the centuries to French impressionists.
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  A platform stair lift accesses half of first floor. The second half is down a few steps with another platform stair lift. The second floor is accessed by an elevator. Museum personnel will open an emergency entrance door to exit the museum so using the lifts is not necessary when leaving. This is the first time that I’ve used a platform stair lift. It works so well that I’m surprised more business don’t use them.
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 Admission tickets are good for five different museums all located in the same block. In the center of the block is a small park dedicated to Springfield native, Dr. Seuss.
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Two museum parking lots are located on either side of Edwards Street. Both are fairly small but short RVs will fit in the one on the northwest side of the street if parked using two spaces.  Museum
42.10463, -72.58527
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Museum of Springfield History

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  In 1777 George Washington established the National Armory at Springfield which attracted many skilled workers and established Springfield as a precision manufacturing center. Indian motorcycles, Rolls-Royce, and Stevens-Duryea automobiles were manufactured in the city along with less technical products such as Breck shampoo, Milton Bradley games, and Friendly ice cream. The museum’s permanent exhibits focus mainly on the city’s manufacturing legacy. Admission tickets are good for five different museums all located in the same block.  
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  The museum is accessible.

  Two museum parking lots are located on either side of Edwards Street. Both are fairly small but short RVs will fit in the one on the northwest side of the street if parked using two spaces.  Museum
42.10453, -72.58728
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lowell National Historical Park

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  The textile manufacturing town of Lowell, founded in 1821, was a planned community with green spaces and clean dormitories designed to attract young, single, rural women who made up the workforce. Compared to mill towns in England Lowell was a good place to live with fair working conditions, free cultural events and classes for the women to attend on their days off. But as early as the 1830s competition from new mills resulted in lower wages and an increasing workload. Discontentment lead to strikes and the recruitment of foreign workers who hesitated to complain as conditions deteriorated. By 1850 Lowell was America's largest industrial center. Although much of the textile industry moved to the south in the early 1900s the Boott Mills and the Merrimack Manufacturing Company continued operating into the 1950s.
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  The park consists of a visitor center,  Botts Cotton Mill Museum,  Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit, Suffolk Mill Turbine Exhibit and a walking tour along the canals that supplied water to power the mills. Free trolley tours are offered. Boat tours along the canals are also available.
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  The visitor center, the cotton mill and first floor of the turbine exhibit are accessible. To see the mill girls exhibit enter the building from French Street and look for the wheelchair signs. A portion of the walking tour is accessible, starting at the visitor center and traveling clockwise. The section after the Botts mill has steps and other obstacles so it’s easier to return to the visitor center along the sidewalks which have new curb cuts and are in good condition. The trolley and the canal boats are not wheelchair accessible.
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   The visitor center has a RV only parking lot which is large enough for any RV. The other areas of the park are easy to get to by walking or taking the trolley.  Park
42.64304, -71.3144
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Maine Maritime Museum

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  The Maritime museum is on the site of the Percy & Small shipyard where large wooden sailing vessels were built from 1894 until 1920. The mold loft, oakum shed, paint & treenail shop, mill & joiner shop and shipyard owner’s house are all original buildings and contain equipment, artifacts and information about the processes that took place in each building. Other structures house the maritime history museum, a working boat workshop, historic boat collections and a lobstering museum. Allow a lot of time to see everything. Tickets are good for a 2nd day if used within a 7-day period.
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The maritime history museum is all accessible. A paved path leads to the mold loft, paint & treenail shop and mill & joiner shop. The pavement gives way to gravel and grass and wheelchair users may find it difficult to access some of the site due to hills. Many of the buildings have two stories. Wheelchair users must exit the buildings and, by using ramps and paths, enter a different door to see both levels. The ground level door of the lobstering museum can be opened from the inside only. The oakum shed is accessed by steps only.
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  A gravel lot for RV parking is located just south of the main lot. Follow the signs. Park at the far end of the lot for easy access to a paved path that leads to the front door of the maritime history museum.  Museum
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fundy National Park

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  Fundy's tides are the highest in the world with a difference of more than 50’ depending on the time of year and the location. The boat harbor in the little town of Alma at the eastern entrance to Fundy National Park is a good place to observe the phenomenon. The park itself is fairly small. A paved road travels through the center providing access to many interconnected hiking trails.

  Very little is wheelchair accessible – two viewpoints, one at Alma Beach and one at Point Wolfe, and a very short boardwalk trail at Caribou Plain. The accessible campsites are close to the restrooms. 

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  Most of the parking lots are large enough for RVs. The campgrounds have sites for large RVs. Park

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

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   Magnificent scenery with steep cliffs dropping down to the ocean greets visitors traveling up the western coast of Cape Breton. Scenic overlooks and trails are accessed from the highway, the only road through the park which is a protected wilderness area.

  The scenic overlooks are accessible but most of the trails are not.  The Bog Trail, a short boardwalk trail, is accessible.  Freshwater Lake Trail at Ingonish Beach should be accessible but we found an erosion control board across the path entryway making it impossible for scooters or electric wheelchairs to access. The first section of the trail is scenic but as it loops around it becomes just a path along the road.

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   We stayed at Broad Cove Campground. The accessible sites are close to the restrooms but otherwise they are the same as the rest of the sites. Hard packed dirt and short grass makes pushing around fairly easy.

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  The parking lot at the visitor center on the western entrance of the park is large enough for RVs. Most of the overlook parking areas are large enough for RVs but most trail head parking lots are small.  Broad Cove Campground has sites where large RVs will fit. Park

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Celtic Shores Coastal Trail

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   The trail is about 60 miles long, stretching from Port Hastings to Inverness. It’s a shared trail with bikers, hikers, runners, quadders, skiers, snowmobilers and  horse-back riders all using the same path. Not all of it is suitable for wheelchair users but the short section that we took near Mabou is fairly flat with a hard packed surface. It passes through a small forest and along wetlands.

  The parking area is large enough for RVs.  Trail

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