Boston: Hotel, Fenway Park tours and ballgames, Bull and Finch Pub ("Cheers"), Harvard tours, the Freedom Trail, wheelchair taxis
Cooperstown: Motel, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Mickey Mantle Museum
For additional information on Boston accessibility, see "MONTREAL/BOSTON 1999"
By James Glasbergen
My trip to Boston and Cooperstown was only a short one that consisted of a couple days in Boston and a day in Cooperstown, NY. We made the 10 hour drive to Boston, arriving at around 5 pm. We stayed at a Hotel right next to Fenway Park. Being a huge baseball fan, there is nothing like being able to look out of your hotel window and see the brick walls of Fenway Park about 20 or 30 feet away. The only problem was that this hotel did not have any accessible rooms, so we decided to stay in a regular room. I'll never do that again!
We immediately checked in to the hotel and headed over to the ballpark. I had already ordered tickets for 2 games months earlier. Ordering tickets far in advance is importance since Fenway Park is the smallest park in baseball and they usually sell out, not to mention you may not be able to get wheelchair tickets the day of the game. Fenway Park has some of the best wheelchair seating that I have encountered at a major league ballpark. There are designated wheelchair sections scattered around the park. The most expensive and perhaps best wheelchair seats are located 13 rows from the field just past first base. There is also great seating in the outfield, where wheelchairs sit in the first row behind the visitors' bullpen. Keep your eye on the ball though and bring your ball gloveespecially during batting practice!
On our first full day in Boston we decided to take the Fenway Park tour, which is offered on most weekdays as long as there is no afternoon game. It is a guided tour that takes you behind the scenes into the press box, a luxury box, the 600 club, andweather permittingon the field. It is a great tour for those who love baseball. However, it rained that morning so the tour included everything except the trip onto the field since they were working on it. I was devastated because all I wanted to do was to get my picture taken in front of the Green Monsterthe 37-ft high wall in left field. We were only in Boston one more day so we had one more chance. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful the next day so we decided to try taking the tour again, hoping we would be allowed on the field this time. Luckily, we had the same tour guide who kindly let us in for free and decided to start the tour with the trip onto the field since we had already seen the rest. We were able to walk around the entire field along the warning track. It was awesome to be able to go right up to the Monster and see it close up, dents and all.
After the Fenway Park tour (on the first day), we took a wheelchair cab over to the Bull and Finch Pub, better known to tv fans as Cheers. They had a lift that carries a wheelchair up along the railing and over the steps into Hampshire House, known on the show as Melvilles. Once inside, there was a gift shop and a room where you could eat lunch, or you could take an extremely small elevator downstairs to have lunch or supper in the Cheers pub. I had to take off both of my leg rests and push my feet under my chair as far as possible just to fit into the elevator, but it is worth it if you are a fan of the show. The layout of the pub is completely different than the bar on the show, but the windows, lampshades and bar top were virtually the same. Of course, the outside of the pub is the actual one seen on the show. Apparently they used to come to Boston a few times a year to tape the scenes involving the outside of Cheers.
Following lunch, we took another wheelchair cab over to Harvard University. They had free guided tours which were conducted by students. They basically walked us around Harvard Yard showing us the major points of interest, as well as a brief look inside Memorial Hall. The tour was completely wheelchair accessible and quite interesting.
Following the Fenway Park tour on the second day, we took another wheelchair taxi over to the Boston Public Garden. We walked through the park and the Boston Common before starting down the Freedom Trail. The sidewalks and curbcuts in Boston were generally fairly good, although there were some rough spots where the sidewalk was either cobblestone or old uneven brick. The sidewalk along the Freedom Trail was pretty good the whole way though. Due to time constraints, we were only able to cover about half of the trail. We went inside the Old State House which was pretty accessible. We had to enter at the back of the building where there was a lift. The Old South Meeting House was also mostly accessible. There was an accessible entrance, as well as an elevator going down one floor. We had lunch at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace before it was time to catch another taxi back to our hotel and start making the 4 hour drive to Cooperstown.
Just a note about the wheelchair taxis in Boston, though. Even though there are supposed to be lots of them (every taxi company is required to have a certain number of accessible vehicles), you can still end up waiting a long time to get one. We had it happen a number of a times where we would phone one company and they would tell us they did not have a wheelchair cab on the road at the time so we should phone another company. The worst is when they say someone will be there in 15 minutes, and you wait a half hour before calling them back, and then they tell you they do not have an accessible cab on the road. That has happened too. There can also be a problem of jurisdiction at times. For instance, we tried to get a taxi to pick us up at Harvard, but none of the Boston cabs would come because they were not allowed to do pickups in Cambridge, which is where Harvard is (just across the river from Boston). It took us almost 2 hours to finally get a taxi. Anyway, if you're lucky, you will get a wheelchair accessible taxi within 15 minutes, but don't be surprised if you ever have to wait an hour or more, although that hopefully should not happen too often.
In Cooperstown we stayed at a motel just north of Cooperstown. It was a nice, quiet motel on the lake. We arrived just after 9 pm and the lady was just about to leave our key in an envelope on the front desk since we had not arrived yet. The wheelchair accessible room was quite large and had a lot of space in it. There were two queen beds, although the room did not have a roll-in shower.
The next morning we drove in to Cooperstown to go to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame. I knew Cooperstown was a small town, but I had
no idea it would be this small. There was basically one main street in town
and that was it. You could easily walk from one end of town to the other. If
you love baseball and learning about its long history, Cooperstown is the place
to be. The town is full of baseball related museums and stores. The Baseball
Hall of Fame was great. It was not as big as I imagined it though, and we were
easily through it in a few hours. It was completely wheelchair
accessible. We also went to the Mickey Mantle/Wax Museum which was also quite
interesting. It was loaded with Mickey Mantle memorabilia. It also had an elevator
that went upstairs to the wax museum where there were lots of wax figures of
all the great baseball players of the past and present. We really enjoyed our
visit to Cooperstown, although by the end of the day I had seen enough and I
personally would never spend more than a day there.
For additional information on Boston accessibility, see "MONTREAL/BOSTON 1999"
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