As you know, we are always looking for new and interesting things to do that accommodate wheelchairs. Honestly, with the girls, it is a part of our conversation EVERY DAY. Before one weekend ends they are already verifying what plans are in place for the upcoming weekend. To qualify, the place must meet our basic needs. This includes a place to park and unload safely using our lift, ramps if needed and an accessible bathroom.
We all learn a lot through travel and experiences. Others can learn by our presence.
We first learned of Colebrookdale Railroad a few years ago. We were intrigued that the venue was highlighted as accessible. The seasonal rides make it even more perfect for us.
Ways to access the out of doors and nature can be especially difficult to find.
The Colebrookdale Railroad , in Boyertown Pa, heads deep into the woods we couldn’t otherwise access. That year we took a fall foliage excursion and made it a Sunday afternoon family event.
It was beautiful and gave us a nice easy way to relax and catch up with our kids. We spent part of the day in the parlor car and some time enjoying the fresh air in the open car. However, it was an incredibly tight aisle and so we needed to carry the girls to the outdoor car. We also transferred them into the seats. Afterwards we walked to a local restaurant to finish off the day. (And were happy to use that restroom as the accessible train bathroom is a porta-potty)
Last month we were given the opportunity to share about the importance of accessibility within communities. Our interview took place at the Colebrookdale Railroad.
So we returned to the station once again. This time we took in a Saturday brunch. Additionally, we found some wonderful changes. They made it more accessible! Specifically, a dining car was added with a much wider entrance and plenty of room to navigate. Not only could they fit easily, but they could enter and remain in their power wheelchairs! The decor was fantastic!
It was validating to be asked to share our experiences. We want to encourage community businesses to consider people with different abilities as they create better access. You can see the final product related to tourism in Montgomery County PA here:
Having ramps and accessible bathrooms gives us admission to a venue, but it’s the attention to details that drives us to return. Then we spread the word. When staff is trained and prepared to assist as needed it is definitely a big plus! And to do it pleasantly…that is just sheer joy! Should you ever find yourself in the Western suburbs of Philadelphia, a trip to the Colebrookdale Railroad would be a wonderful addition to your schedule!
People have been reinventing living situations for those with disabilities away from institutions and into group homes, shared living spaces and other individualized arrangements. I believe our community businesses are going to find more and more people looking for access to shops, eating establishments, and entertainment in their own neighborhoods.
And then businesses will discover a beauty and richness found by welcoming different abilities into their spaces. That is what makes community…as we all feel a sense of belonging we strengthen our connections and function as a team. It just makes sense and seems to me to be a smart business decision!
Thanks to our community for making the effort through the Access Montco initiative and Visit Valley Forge & Montco!
Have you found ways to access the great outdoors? We would love to hear about it!