As my legs weaken, due to ALS, I’ve been researching accessible outdoor places, trails, Information on accessible trails, inns, restaurants, and inns. I’m surprised there is no central location where we can access this information. Here is some of the information I’ve found so far, all of it available online.
Maine’s state parks are very accessible, something I initially learned in an August 26, 2016 Maine Today Media story that is still available online. The story offered lots of information on accessible locations, including Acadia National Park (“One of the country’s most accessible national parks, partly because of the carriage roads”).
The story also told us “Many Maine cities and towns have convenient, wheelchair-accessible, multi-use pathways, from Portland’s Back Cove Trail to Fort Kent’s Riverside Park Trail System.” They also reported that all of Maine’s state park campgrounds, except Warren Island, have handicapped-accessible campsites. But Range Pond State Park in Poland is Maine’s only completely handicapped-accessible state park.
So it is always important, even when a place reports to be accessible, that you inquire about what that means.
I do have to caution you that some “accessible” sites are not easily accessed. For example, my favorite ocean-side trail, at the West Quoddy Lighthouse in Lubec, is reportedly accessible for the first half-mile. I tried that trail with my walker recently and found it quite difficult, with lots of loose stones, some water, and some steep grades up and over rocks.
I was pleased to learn, from Maine Coast Heritage Trust, that they offer a handicapped accessible trail at their Bog Brook Cove Preserve off Route 191 between Lubec and Cutler. But I was disappointed to learn, of MCHT’s many wonderful trails, this is the only accessible trail. They did tell me they’re working on creating more accessible trails, which I appreciate.
Last year, Linda and I enjoyed Ogunquit’s Marginal Way ocean-side walk. It’s very handicapped-accessible. I did it with my walker, and saw several people enjoying the walk in wheelchairs.
Here are some websites I found that contain information on accessible trails, restaurants, and inns.
Mcht.org – has only one accessible trail, Boot Cove in Cutler
Google Maine Handicapped-Accessible Restaurants. Quite a lot of info will appear.
I was particularly impressed with the many accessible restaurants in Lewiston. All except very old restaurants are required by law to be accessible, but that doesn’t mean they are. You might get into the restaurant, but find tables and even restrooms inaccessible. So I recommend calling any restaurant before you go there, to check on just how accessible they are.
Wheelmap.org – maps of parking, restaurants and other places
Hotels and Inns
My favorites are the Samoset in Rockport and the Harraseeket in Freeport, both very accessible and welcoming to handicapped guests.
Maineadaptive.org Sports and recreation programs and events
Alsmaine.org – section on Handicapped Accessible Travel
If you know of other websites with info on accessible Maine sites, or you have a favorite accessible place, please let me know (email firstname.lastname@example.org). I hope to continue offering more info on Maine’s accessible places.