Monday, September 30, 2013

Tour the Boston Harbor Islands!

I recently spent a day on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor. What a refreshing outing so close to Boston! Just off shore, with the city in full view, you can experience an island getaway!

Boston Harbor has a surprising number of islands - most people don't realize the islands are even there, let alone 34 of them! Many are part of a combined National and State Park and accessible by ferry from Long Wharf. The islands offer hiking trails, beaches, ranger tours, camping, boat cruises, nature walks, historic sites and various events throughout the warmer months. There are even a few winter tours.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Paddling the Quinebaug River

Fall is a great time for paddling, especially on  warmer days with fall color along the edges of wetlands. I escaped the office one day this week with intrepid flatwater adventurers Charlie and Bob and got onto the Quinebaug River in central Massachusetts. Charlie and Bob continue to explore rivers on a weekly basis three years after my last excursion with them. What a life they live!

The Quinebaug is a 5 mile stretch of a narrow river and a national recreation trail that winds through open wetlands between Holland Pond and the East Brimfield Reservoir just east of Brimfield. The current is gentle so we paddled both upstream and down, basking in the beauty of a sunny day in a remote place loaded with autumn color. Herons and migrating birds were easy to view. Few people were using the river on a weekday but we did see a couple of fishermen and paddlers. Clear water allowed us to enjoy the streaming vegetation beneath our canoe and kayaks and catch glimpses fish and swimming turtles. I was thrilled to experience a few hours in this magnificent place.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cape Cod Adventure!

Have you been to Cape Cod for a vacation? Did you have an easy time or difficulty with access? If you are looking for more accessibility information on one of the most popular vacation spots on the east coast, David Whitenett offers his perspective as a person who uses a power wheelchair in search of trails to enjoy nature. Thanks Dave for sharing your experiences in this Guest Post!
In late August 2012, my wife Brenda and I visited Cape Cod. We did a lot of Internet research before our visit to find information about accessibility, and that effort paid off. We were there for three days and two nights. We spent the majority of our time exploring locations in the Cape Cod National Seashore, plus some time in Chatham and Yarmouth.
Continue reading for site by site descriptions!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Accessible Parks in NE Massachusetts

This accessible picnic spot along the Ipswich
River offers a sense of privacy and beautiful view.
I visited two state parks last week that I highly recommend for access to the outdoors.

Both are located north of Boston in Massachusetts. Breakheart Reservation is a rocky forested area with ponds just north of the big city in Saugus. Bradley Palmer State Park is a former estate along the Ipswich River in Topsfield. These parks offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy nature through the seasons.

Breakheart Reservation was named by some lonely soldiers posted there during the Civil War era I learned from a fellow hiker. We shared the task of pulling a participant in a rickshaw style mountain wheelchair during a Universal Access hiking program through the park. Traveling along the two mile paved road loop through the park I was reminded that the road makes the park quite accessible, even with some hilly terrain. Indeed we passed someone walking using a rolling walker and another person using a cane for stability. It was great to see people with many levels of mobility using the park road that day.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Love Kayaking!

Do you love kayaking? Marianne Somes is one of many paddlers with disabilities who have been making good use of adaptive kayaking programs offered by DCR's Universal Access Program this summer in Massachusetts. If you feel hesitant or fearful about kayaking, read on!  If you love kayaking, can you say it better than this? Thanks Marianne for sharing your passion for the outdoors in this Guest Post!

Hello to all you wonderful people out there! My name is Marianne Somes and I love being outdoors. I love kayaking as it is so freeing and relaxing. The kayak I use is a Kestrel 120 OC with two small pontoons on the back end for extra stability. Kayaks are very stable boats to begin with and the addition of the two small pontoons to this boat makes it extremely stable.

I have been kayaking for years now with adaptive programs. I would live on a kayak if I could.