Racking your brains in search of perfect holidays for disabled travellers? Pause your frantic internet searches and phone calls – I’ve got a great insider tip for you. If you long for scenic views over glistening water, lots of sunshine, and a touch of culture and sophistication, exploring New York State’s famous Finger Lakes is exactly the right getaway for you.
As shown by my clients’ glowing reviews, the picturesque area surrounding the 11 Finger Lakes is flawlessly accessible to disabled travellers, and features a wealth of wheelchair-friendly highlights. Here’s my advice for exploring the region easily and enjoyably.
Taughannock Falls State Park
Although ‘hike’ and ‘wheelchair’ are rarely found in the same sentence, Taughannock Falls State Park proves that it’s very possible. This park, which is close to Ithaca, is truly a sight to behold: at 215 feet, its single-drop waterfall is the highest that you’ll be able to see east of the Rocky Mountains. My colleagues and I have taken a hike in this strikingly beautiful area, and discovered a wheelchair-accessible hiking trail that leads to the bottom of the waterfall. If, however, you’d rather save your energy, it’s also possible to discover the waterfall and the nearby Lake Cayuga by staying in the car and driving to the region’s summit. You’ll have to take a few steps when you reach the top, but your efforts will be rewarded by a dazzling view.
New York State Fair
Are you a technology, education, or agriculture enthusiast? Look no further than the renowned New York State Fair, which takes place in Syracuse. This annual fair is New York’s largest event, and catches the fancy of one million visitors from high and low every year. The hustle and bustle of this remarkable event promises not to disappoint, and guarantees a carefree experience. As far as accessibility goes on holidays for disabled travellers, the fair is one of New York State’s most wheelchair-friendly events: it’s not only possible to lease scooters and wheelchairs on site, but the fair’s grounds are also very easy to manoeuvre. If you’re interested in attending this event, I recommend planning a holiday that coincides with the fair, which is always open during the final two weeks of August.
Corning Museum of Glass
Along with the New York State Fair, the Finger Lakes region is known for the city of Corning’s glass museum. Situated in Streuben County, this venue is famous for exhibiting one of the largest assortments of glass items worldwide. While you’re marvelling at the museum’s extraordinary display, you’ll also learn everything you ever wanted to know about the artistic and scientific processes that lie behind glassmaking. To top it all off, you can even participate in an interactive glassmaking session and make a souvenir.
All areas of the museum are wheelchair-accessible, and there’s also a comfortable shuttle bus that goes back and forth between the welcome centre and the museum’s collections.
Thirsty Owl Wine Company
Last but certainly not least, the Finger Lakes are known for their superb wineries, many of which offer tours and tastings. Although you’ll have plenty of places to pick from, I highly recommend a visit to the Thirsty Owl Wine Company, situated halfway up Cayuga Lake’s breathtaking shoreline. Here, you’ll be wowed by the winery’s whooping 150 acres of greenery, and will be able to delight in unobstructed views of the shimmering lake. In addition to its aesthetic value, the Thirsty Owl Wine Company is celebrated for its full-bodied wines, which you can sample during a wine tasting, or during a scrumptious dinner in the venue’s bistro. Both the outside and inside areas of the winery can be explored effortlessly with wheelchairs.
And there you have it – based on my own experience with planning and taking trips to the area, the above tips are the best and most accessible activities for a holiday in Finger Lakes. My team and I know that holidays for disabled groups and individuals are often challenging to plan, but that’s what we’re here for. If you’d like to visit New York State, we can organise a perfect getaway for you. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!