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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Highlights and Lowlights


It hasn't been a very busy travel year for us as we've had other, real-life issues to deal with but we did get some in.  Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the year.



AIRLINES: We did not have a bad flight this year. Southwest and Alaska both took very good care of us and we had very enjoyable flights. Hard to say which one is a better bet this year but Alaska is getting very aggressive with their pricing and destinations as we head into the new year. Look into it if you'd like to get away to a warmer climate for awhile.

On the other hand...



AIRPORTS: Have nothing good to say about three of the four airports we transited through this year...LAX, BWI, and LIR...but ONT still is a pleasant but very dead place to fly in and out of. Maybe now that the city of Ontario is taking over the reigns from LAX, they can revitalize this very convenient and much underused facility.



HOTELS: Shenandoah Inn, the mom and pop motel in the Motherlode that could, is still one of the most enjoyable and relaxing places we've ever stayed. Located in the heart of California's Gold Country with friendly and competent owners Ken and Marie, I can feel my stress melting away as soon as I hit their driveway.

We had a so-so stay at the Springhill Suites in Baltimore but found a fantastic Courtyard by Marriott when we moved over to nearby Washington D.C. We also had a pretty miserable, and cold, night in another Courtyard in San Diego at the beginning of the year but a couple of stays at Homewood Suites completely made up for that, a very nice and consistent brand (four stays at four different locations with four very nice experiences).

And I'd be remiss to not mention the very nice and understated Borrego Springs Resort, an oasis of relaxation in the middle of Anza Borrego Desert State Park in California.

RENTAL CAR: We don't rent cars very often but when we do, we usually have a good experience. Not really posted for 2015 but coming up very soon on this blog, we had an absolutely nightmarish experience with Alamo in Costa Rica who tried to gouge us out of another $600 for insurance on arrival. Put a shadow on the entire trip.



FOOD: This one's easy. Two outstanding restaurants encountered on our journeys this year, I don't even have to bat an eye over trying to pull them out of my memory...Supano's in Baltimore and Taste in Plymouth, California.

Supano's is like dining with your Italian aunts and uncles, you know, the ones who make the most exquisite dishes you've every tried and ladle it out with friendly banter and converstation with the ever-present Sinatra soundtrack in the background. We absolutely fell in love with this place and their staff.

Taste is one of those great California restaurants that take their food to another level of taste and refinement. It's located in the most unpretentious location and the atmosphere shows it. Great, relaxed, and friendly service with some of the most delicious, handcrafted entrees you'll ever have.

Both restaurants are expensive but worth every single penny, and more.



If you want good, cheap food, our champion is still Los Tacos de Huicho, the best little taco shop in the world way, way off the beaten path in Bakersfield, California or the very good (and cheap!) steakhouse at Molino Viejo in San Quintin, Baja California.

So there you have it, the highs and lows from...what for us...is kind of a quiet travel year. Next week, we break out the new posts for 2016 so be sure to join us for another year of fun and accessible travel adventures.

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

HITTING THE SLOPES: Adaptive Skiing in the U.S.A


There are several programs in the U.S. geared to helping those with special needs to learn how to ski or even just to go out for a day of fun on the slopes with a couple of professional guides.


Fair warning, though...these programs can be very expensive. Count on spending well over $100 per day. Still, probably more fun than Disneyland which would cost just as much.


There are a few organizations and charities that might be able to lower the cost via scholarships and charitable funding. In my area, Southern California, Ability First organizes a ski weekend camp in the San Bernardino Mountains and Casa Colina in Pomona also offers ski trips for those with special needs.

Here is the start of our list of adaptive programs in the United States...contact the program of your choice for costs and information. Click on links to visit each one.




ALASKA

Challenge Alaska runs an adaptive ski program at Alyeska Resort near Anchorage.
Eaglecrest Ski Area near Juneau has a program.

ARIZONA

The Arizona Snowbowl offers adaptive skiing near Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.



CALIFORNIA

Lake Tahoe Area -
Alpine Meadows at Lake Tahoe has one of the older, more established adaptive programs around.
Heavenly Valley now has an adaptive program.

Bear Valley, east of Sacramento, has an adaptive program.

The U.S. Adaptive Recreation Association is based at Bear Mountain in Big Bear, 2 hours east of Los Angeles
Skiing legend Nic Fiore started the ski school at Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park and it carries on in his name.
Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra runs the program at California's most popular ski mountain, Mammoth.
In Wrightwood, just north of San Bernardino, Mountain High has an adaptive ski school.



COLORADO

Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center has programs at both Breckenridge and Keystone ski areas.
Crested Butte offers adaptive skiing provided by the Adaptive Sports Center.
Durango Mountain Resort has a program run by the Adaptive Sports Association, which also offers scholarships.
Steamboat Springs is a great ski area and they have an adaptive program.
National Sports Center for the Disabled runs the program at Winter Park.

CONNECTICUT

Ski Sundown in New Hartford has one of the more affordable programs in the country.



IDAHO

Recreation Unlimited runs the adaptive program at Bogus Basin near Boise.
Higher Grounds runs the adaptive program as Sun Valley.
One of my favorite Idaho ski areas, Scheitzer, also has a program.

INDIANA

In Lawrenceburg, Perfect North has the adaptive program.
Paoli Peaks in Paoli offers an adaptive program.

IOWA

If you're near Dubuque, Sundown Mountain Resort can help you out.

MAINE

At Sunday River, the program is run by Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation.
Maine Adaptive also runs a program at Sugarloaf Resort
Wachussett Mountain in Princeton offers an adaptive program.

MICHIGAN

Michigan Adaptive Sports runs programs at Pine Knob, Schuss Mountain, and Crystal Mountain.

MINNESOTA

Giants Ridge offers an adaptive program near Duluth and Grand Rapids.
Also near Duluth, Spirit Mountain offers a program run by Courage Center.
In Makato, the Mankato Area Adaptive Ski Program runs a program at Mount Kato.

MISSOURI

Snow Creek in Weston offers a program for the Kansas City area.

MONTANA

Is there a better place to ski than Big Sky? Don't know, but there can't be too many and they're open to adaptive skiers too.
Near Bozeman, Bridger Bowl has an adaptive program.
In Whitefish, you can go adaptive skiing at Whitefish Mountain.

NEVADA

See Lake Tahoe Area under California, above.



NEW HAMPSHIRE

In Gilford, you can find an adaptive program at Gunstock.
New England Disabled Sports runs a program at Loon Mountain.
One of the oldest adaptive programs is the New England Handicapped Skiers Association at Mount Sunapee.
In the Mt. Washington area, Atitash has an adaptive program.
Waterville Valley has a free first timer program for adaptive skiers.

NEW JERSEY

Ski Campgaw is your spot for adaptive skiing in the Garden State.

NEW MEXICO

Near Ruidoso, Ski Apache has an extensive adaptive program.
One of the world's great mountains, Sandia Peak, has a program run by the Adaptive Ski Program.

NEW YORK

Near Lake Placid, Belleayre has an adaptive program as does Whiteface Mountain.

NORTH CAROLINA
Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can find adaptive skiing at Beech Mountain and Cataloochee Ski Area.

NORTH DAKOTA

Near Minot, Bottineau resort has Annie's House for disable skiers.

OHIO

Near Mansfield, Snow Trails offers an adaptive program.
In Zanesfield, Mad River offers a program run by The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition.

OREGON

Near Bend, Mt. Bachelor offers a program run by Oregon Adaptive Sports.
In Coburg, Hoodoo offers adaptive skiing.
Remember "The Shining?" Well, another of the world's great mountains welcomes special needs skiers...Mt. Hood.

PENNSYLVANIA

Near Mercersburg, Whitetail has an adaptive program run by Two Top Adaptive Sports.
Pennsylvania Center for Adaptive Sports runs a program at Camelback Mountain near Tannersville.

SOUTH DAKOTA
Near Sioux Falls, Great Bear Recreation Park offers adaptive skiing.

UTAH
The National Ability Center runs one of the country's premiere adaptive programs at Park City.
At Snowbird, a little south of Park City, Wasatch Adaptive Sports runs a program.

VERMONT
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports hosts an adaptive program at Bolton Valley.
Stowe Mountain Resort caters to special needs.
Near Warren, Sugarbush runs an adaptive program.

VIRGINIA
Near Lovingston, Wintergreen Mountain is your destination for special needs skiing.


WASHINGTON
Mt. Spokane offers "therepeutic recreation," including adaptive skiing, run by the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.
Closer to Seattle, Mt. Baker offers adaptive skiing.


WEST VIRGINIA
Snowshoe Mountain offers adaptive skiing as does Silver Creek Resort in the same area.

WISCONSIN
In East Troy, at Alpine Valley Resort, Southeastern Wisconsin Adaptive Ski Program operates.



WYOMING
Many consider it the best ski mountain in the world, special needs skiers can also find a home at Jackson Hole.

If you live near snow in the U.S., chances are you live near a program. Give it a shot!

Happy skiing...

Darryl
Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 28, 2015

Wrapping it All Up With a Bow...and a Fake Evacuation: St. Croix, The Finale


There is is again. Barely audible but after craning for a few minutes, the message is clear...

"Attention. An emergency has occurred. Please evacuate the terminal area immediately."

We had gotten to the airport extra early at the advice of American Express so we could deal with the rental car damage with the local Hertz office. Didn't really need the extra time, it turns out, but we're still here in this sleepy, little airport.

There's us and one other family waiting in the terminal. Most of the airline counters aren't even open yet.

"Did you hear that?" I ask the dad of the other family. We all stay silent and listen again...

"Attention. An emergency has occurred. Please evacuate the terminal area immediately."

Yes, that's exactly what it said but none of the workers are paying it any heed. We decide to move ourselves and our luggage back outside to the sidewalk.

The alert keeps playing but, so far, there's only us and the other family of travelers doing anything about it. Everybody else at the airport ignores it.

Seeing a policewoman, the mom in the other family goes to ask what's going on and what we should do. The cop listens closely, says she'll find out.

A minute later, we're told that the alarm company is working on the system and they're testing it. Ignore it.  

It's a little disconcerting but we do. The alarm goes off several times that day and we decide we'll start moving when we see the airport workers and security move.

Now that we're here, we've got time to think back on the week. While I'll always remember the beauty of St. Croix, the food, the drink, and the fun activities; what I'll cherish most is the people. It's always best when the locals treat you like one of their own...



A woman on our first day just relaxing on the waterfront, texting on her iPhone, engaging us in a long conversation ending with "I hope you enjoy my island."

The server at the roadside burger shack who encounters us later in the week, "it's you!" and asks us how our time on the island is going (I confess, I didn't recognize her but she sure knew us). "Enjoy your time on our island," she exclaims after bidding us farewell.

Melrose Maynard, the busser at the hotel's breakfast bar who introduced himself to us at the beginning of the trip. When I'd see him in the morning and ask how we was doing, he'd always say "top of the mountain!" with a big grin on his face.

Nadia, the front desk manager who made sure we had a room suitable for our needs, especially when I was so worried we wouldn't get one.



The bartender at Captain Morgan Distillery who dished on moving here from San Francisco to be with her dad and told us about her housewarming party, ending with...of course..."enjoy your time on our island."

The Hertz manager, when confronted with the car damage I inflicted..."no problem, we'll just fill out this form and you'll be on your way. Did you enjoy your time on my island?"

Yes, I assure him.

"I'm glad...I hope to see you here again."

I hope to see you all again too.




Here are the links to the entire St. Croix saga here at The World on Wheels. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did.

St. Croix - Part 1
St. Croix - Part 2
St. Croix - Part 3
St. Croix - Part 4
St. Croix - Part 5
St. Croix - Part 6

The Cocktail Hour: Crucian Rum Punch
The Cocktail Hour: An Island Drinking Tour

Darryl
Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Grand Tour - St. Croix, Part 6


As our clothes spin in the dryer in the beach side laundry room, we’re waiting in the lobby with a half-dozen other guests. Elizabeth Armstrong, the owner of the Buccaneer Hotel, is regaling us with the history of the island and the hotel itself.

The earliest known existence of man dates back two and a half millennia. Groups of natives gradually emigrated up the island chain from South America, becoming the Caribs. Of course, you can see where the region got its name.

More recently, Spanish, French, and Dutch traders opened huge sugar plantations here  run on the backs of slaves. Eventually, the slaves were emancipated but the Dutch governors bankrupted the island with their lavish ways.

The United States, looking for a strategic location during World War I to protect its Panama Canal interests, took it off the Dutch’s hands for $25 million dollars. Now a self-governed territory, and administered by the Department of the Interior, St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, and many other small islands are still part of the USA under the name U.S. Virgin Islands.


Ms. Armstrong leads us on a short walk over to the old sugar mill where we had Happy Hour last night.

She points out several birds and plants of the island around the area. This old stone structure was a cistern for the old mill.

Inside the mill itself, we’re told of the fruit bats that like to live here.


Finally, we get to inspect the fruit of the calabash tree, which is used for making maracas.

I had told my wife that I’d treat her to a massage at the hotel’s spa. Instead, she asks, can she use the money to buy a bracelet she saw in Christiansted?


Off into town we go where we park at the Fort Christianvern National Monument (great place to find free parking downtown, by the way).  Sonya jewelers is nearby, where my wife finds her souvenir.

Afterward, we head over to our new favorite island hangout, Fort Christian Brewpub. It’s Thursday and today’s special is $10 pitchers and 10 wings for $7.

We get the bargain basement specials and I get an idea.

The water is very clear in the harbor, clearer that the beach at the hotel where I did a little snorkeling but it was a bit murky. I’ve got an underwater camera but, so far, it isn’t doing me too much good but there is a ton of fish right off the dock here in clear water.

I ask the bartender if I can borrow a broomstick. He finds one, I clamp the camera on it, lower it in the water while Letty feeds the hungry tarpon our leftover chicken bones.


Watch The Video!

Watch the video above for the results and to acquaint yourself with the soon-to-be-famous chicken bone eating tarpon of St. Croix. Just as fun but less smelly than the world famous beer drinking pigs up in the jungle.

We’ll wrap up our time in St. Croix in our next report.

Darryl
Copyright 2013 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 21, 2015

"You Beer Swilling Pig!"...and Other Island Stories: St. Croix, Part 5


Previously on The World on Wheels:
St. Croix - Part 1
St. Croix - Part 2
St. Croix - Part 3
St. Croix - Part 4

History, swine, and hospitality are on today’s agenda in St. Croix.



Even though we put on copious amounts of sunscreen yesterday, we’re still a bit past done on our tans. Feeling the effects of our burns, plus the beginning of the itching from last night’s bug bites (the hotel puts a couple of cans of bug repellent in each room – use it), we commiserate over another bountiful breakfast before heading out for the day’s exploration.

While the eastern end of the island (where we’re staying) is dry and not real lush, the trade winds drop much more precipitation on the west end. There’s a rain forest there we want to go to.

Yesterday, Letty tried to navigate via maps into the mountains of the west end and after much turning and twisting through the back roads, we suddenly found ourselves back where we started at the Sion Farms shopping center.

Watch the Video!


Before leaving, I visit the concierge and get written directions. They’re more like “make a right after two stop lights, turn left at the police station, turn right at Golden Rock Shopping Center…” With the poorly signed roads on the island, these directions work better than the map.

Today, we make it. After driving along the north coast beach called Cane Bay, we make a left onto a rather infamous, steep, potholed, and twisty road.

On the first weekend in May, an Ironman triathlon is held on the island. It is called the “Beauty and the Beast” because of the unbelievable scenery the racers go through. Oh yeah, on the bikes they hit the “beast,” the road we’re on now.

It’s hard enough in a car. It looks impossible to pedal up on a bike.

A little tricky with the directions but soon we see Carambola Bay Country Club, another crucial landmark in the concierge’s directions. After that, we see a sign to the rainforest and we’re in thick jungle. Tall trees dangle long vines into the roadway. It’s a very different world from the other end of the island.


A couple of sharp turns and we’re at St. Croix’s most famous jungle bar, the Mount Pellier Domino Club.

At the bamboo bar, we sip on frozen banana daiquiris while the two bartenders sing along to Billy Idol. Finishing our sweet, cold concoctions, we get to the business at hand.

Buying a couple of cans of non-alcoholic beer, we’re escorted out back to a well hidden ramp extending to a giant green box in the jungle. The bartender opens the door where we end up on a small concrete patio with four pens.


Suddenly, a giant boar pops up, mouth wide, snorting hungrily. We’ve found the famous beer drinking pigs of St. Croix.


Yeah, it’s a tourist trap of the highest magnitude but at least it’s cheap. It’s a buck a head to get in and two bucks per beer and you get to go into the rather fragrant compound to stick a can of beer in a pig’s mouth, watch him crack it open, down it, and spit out the can.

One of the more unique attractions on the island.

Making our way down the Beast, back to Cane Bay, we saw an ice cream stand on the beach. Tim’s had a hankering for some for a couple of days now and we promised him we’d stop on the way down.


After manhandling him out of the car, into his chair, and wrestling it across the sand to the tables under the tent, I go up to the bar (yeah, even the ice cream stands have full bars here) to order the ice cream for him.

“We don’t have ice cream.”

“But your sign says you do…you even have a big picture of an ice cream cone on it.”

“I know but we don’t have any…I could make you a chocolate milkshake instead.”

So, we went with the shake while Letty and I took turns looking at sea life in the coral next to shore.


Nearby, scuba divers were swimming in from their adventure. Just off shore is the famous “Wall.” Shallow water, wading depth, extends about a hundred yards offshore until it suddenly drops over a sheer thousand feet. Divers love to explore this underwater cliff.

We spend a little more time relaxing on Cane Bay beach before packing back up and continuing on.

Before getting back into Christiansted, we make a quick left turn at an unmarked road next to the Salt River Marina. It took us a few tries to find this road but we finally found it.

About a half mile in, we find what we’re looking for, Columbus Landing Beach. The name says it all, this is the beach that the explorer landed on in 1493…520 years ago.


If you stand at just the right location, you won’t see the houses or civilization behind you.

At that point, it looks much as it did over half a millennium ago.  Just don’t look down at the litter by your feet.

The concierge had found a boat captain who was willing to take us out to Buck Island for a dive adventure. She arranged for us to meet him on the dock at Christiansted on our way back when he came back into port after the day’s tour.


After having a beer at Fort Christian Brewpub and watching the seaplanes take off out of the harbor, our boat comes in. We meet Captain Mike, and he is willing to take us, but the steep, slippery, and long landing ladder we’d have to negotiate on the island is just beyond our capacities and Tim’s disability.

Sadly, a boat dive trip will not be on this week’s agenda.

Back at the Buccaneer Hotel, we make it just in time for the weekly manager’s reception. It’s a happy hour where guests mingle, sip rum punch or wine, and listen to the steel drum musician.

The hotel owner, Elizabeth Armstrong, shows up to introduce herself to each guest and see how their stay is going. Ms. Armstrong meets us, chats, and finds out we couldn’t do the boat trip but invites us to walk with her tomorrow for an accessible walking tour pointing out the historic sites, flora, and fauna of the expansive hotel grounds.


As the giant Moku Jumbie dancers wobble their way around the guests, we decide to take her up on it.

A tall dancer high-fives Tim, straddles over a line of guests, as we wind down another day in the Virgin Islands.

We’ll be back to continue this adventure after a night’s rest. See you then…

Darryl
Copyright 2013 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 20, 2015

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Cranberry Margarita


This one's short, simple, sweet, and delicious. What we're drinking this week is a variation of the traditional margarita on the rocks, substituting cranberry cocktail for most of the sweet and sour.  We're using Fresh and Easy's cranberry cocktail, which has no added colors, so ours comes out pink.  If you use Ocean Spray's, it comes out redder.  If you want a really red drink, add a splash of grenadine.


Watch the Video!

INGREDIENTS - two drinks

2 1/2 oz. tequila
1 1/2 oz. triple sec
juice of one small lime
1 oz. sweet and sour
3 - 4 oz. cranberry cocktail



Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice.  Shake and strain into margarita or cocktail glasses.

We don't salt the rims on these and the final tally is about 200 calories.

Cheers!



-Darryl

Friday, December 18, 2015

Far Flung Points, Posers, and All the Beaches Inbetween - St. Croix, Part 4


“I have a challenge for you,” I tell the concierge. “We’d like to take a snorkel trip to Buck Island but we haven’t been able to find a boat willing to take the wheelchair.”


“Challenge accepted,” she tells us.

While she goes off to find that tour, we’re off to find the sunrise.  No, we’re not actually getting up at the crack of dawn, we’re just driving to the end of the island.


Watch The Video!


Point Udall is the eastern end of the island.  It’s also the eastern-most point of the United States.

It’s still hard to wrap our heads around that this is still our country…part of the good ‘ole U.S. of A…but it is. This barren little rock outcropping is the first soil in our country to feel the sun’s rays.


A monument put up at the millennium alludes to this fact.

I peer over the side to see the extreme end of the point. The rocky outcropping is constantly pounded by waves.


There’s even a little waterspout when the waves hit it just right.

Now, let’s go find the island’s most famous industry, the rum.

St. Croix has been making fine Caribbean rum for over 300 years. Cruzan is their brand and is found as the well liquor in just about every bar on the island. The distillery offers tours but it is full of stair climbing and is not hospitable to wheechairs.

We’d like to take a tour but this just doesn’t sound like much fun for Tim. Luckily, there is now another option.


Recently, Captain Morgan rums relocated their distillery from nearby Puerto Rico to a new plant near the airport. It’s new, this is the United States…home of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it should be accessible…right?

We pull into the handicapped spot in front of the new visitor’s center. Inside, we’re told that the tram used for the tour is not wheelchair accessible and that there is also one part of the tour where visitors get off the tram and walk a little bit.

I ask if I can transfer Tim into the tram and if he can stay on it during the walking part. The answer is yes to both so we sign up for the tour (no pictures allowed during the factory part).

We roll Tim out to the tram, which looks like the kind Universal Studios uses for their backlot tours. We’re escorted to the side where one tour guide notices the seat behind the driver folds up.

“If you can lift both him and the wheelchair, you can put him there,” she says.

No, I can’t lift both but I can transfer him into the seat onboard.

Then the other tour guide notices a slot under the floor of the tram.

“What’s this?” she asks and pulls on a strap there. Low and behold, a ramp slides out. In operation for a year, no one had noticed there was a wheelchair ramp built into the side of the tram.

They pull it out, I wheel Tim onboard, and beg to take a picture.

“But you don’t understand, a lot of wheelchair users follow our travels and would be thrilled to know your tour is accessible,” I plead.


After a few minutes, I’m finally given permission to take one, really quick picture. It turns out Tim is the very first wheelchair visitor they’ve ever had and I am happy to report that the Captain Morgan distillery tour in St. Croix is now fully wheelchair accessible…even the walking part halfway through.

After the tour, we watch a very entertaining film about the brand and learn how to do the “pose” while sipping samples of their dozen or so rums in the bar.


During this little “happy hour,” we also get to have two cocktails of our choice mixed with one of their brands, of course. We spend another hour in the gift shop looking for souvenirs and rum. It is a very inexpensive place to buy it. Before I left home, I saw Captain Morgan Spiced Rum for sale at Costco for $34.99. Here? It’s $9…no tax, either (U.S. citizens can take up to 6 liters of liquor home duty-free, as long as at least one bottle is made on the island).

We take a dozen bottles home.


Back at the Buccaneer, we change into our swim trunks and head to the beach. There are three beaches here but most people only go to two. Mermaid Beach and Grotto Beach. We go to Grotto because they also have a swimming pool there.

The road is long and the hill steep enough that you don’t want to walk down to the beach from the great house, especially with a wheelchair. The hotel runs shuttles up and down the hill all day long but we opt to drive in the rental car. That way we can set our own schedule and throw a six pack of beer in the back to supply us on the beach.


Not quite accessible, it takes two steps to get to poolside here but I’m able to back Tim down them pretty easily. We blow up an inner tube and Letty and I get him into the pool without a problem. Tim takes a couple of hours to float around the pool while Letty and I tag team to stay with him there while the other goes swimming in the adjacent ocean.


I get a diving mask, snorkel, and fins from the beach shack and head to the coral reef just offshore. It’s a bit murky since there was a storm a couple of days ago, with lots of little bits of seaweed floating around. Not really great and not really worth the great effort it would take to get Tim in the water.

Still, I was able to get a little video of it, which you can watch in the embedded video, above.


As the day comes to an end at Grotto Beach, we go back up the hill to make homemade rum punches, sit on the terrace and listen to the sounds of the house band playing on the beach and wafting up to our room on the sunset breeze.

Darryl
Copyright 2013 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ACCESSIBLE ATTRACTIONS: St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands


Our ratings are...

Fully Accessible - You can access all of the attraction, with no problem, in any type of wheelchair.

Mostly Accessible - You can access most of the attraction, and all of the important parts of it, with your wheelchair.

Partially Accessible - You can access a good deal of the attraction but some parts are inaccessible and some important parts you'll miss.

Inaccessible - Kind of speaks for itself, avoid if you're in a wheelchair.

Here's St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands...



Christiansted National Historic Site - Partially Accessible. The grounds, the old weighing house (scale) and bottom floor of the Customs House are accessible. Unfortunately, the jewel of the site...Fort Christianvern...has a few steps to get inside, rendering it inaccessible.



Captain Morgan Distillery - Fully Accessible. This newer distillery (Cruzan is also made on the island) found out their tour tram was wheelchair accessible with a ramp. Now we can happily report this very fun tour and tasting room can handle our specialty wheeled travelers.

Buck Island Boat Charters - Inaccessible. We could not find one boat that could really take a wheelchair user, who couldn't walk, onto a tour...even though a couple advertised they could.



Cane Bay Beach - Partially Accessible. A ramp is used by scuba divers to wade out to the Wall, a world-famous dive spot. Wheelchair users can also use it (with some help from a friend) to get into the great snorkeling water closer to shore, too.



Mt. Pellier Domino Club (Drinking Pigs) - Mostly Accessible. Ask the attendants to show you the rustic wheelchair ramp in the back of the pig pen. 



Walking Tour of the Buccaneer Hotel - Mostly Accessible. Contact the hotel for details at (340) 712-2100



Christiansted Boardwalk - Mostly Accessible. The islands go-to point for shopping, drinking, and dining boasts some great views and hungry tarpon looking for a handout from tourists. A few shops have steps to get in.

Darryl
Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved