a travel planning website for people with limited mobility.

incredibleACCESSIBLE is an upcoming travel information site for wheelchair users, slow walkers, and everyone in between. We seek to empower each other to travel by sharing in-depth accessibility information, travel tips and incredible experiences.

While the full site is still in the works, we’ll be sharing the accessible experiences of our home base – the beautiful California Wine Country – on the IncredibleACCESSIBLE development blog. We hope to inspire those planning to travel to the area, while providing a tantalizing glimpse at what the full site will offer.

 

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Question: Can physically challenged people fly?

Answer:  Generally, yes.  We will work with you any way we can to share this unique and memorable experience.

from the website of Coastal Air Tours

Sonoma Skypark Airport

Sonoma, CA

 


Captain Bob Berwick is proud of his beautifully restored 1926 Travelair bi-plane.

Fortunately he selected Sonoma Skypark as his airfield, 6 minutes from where I live.   I met Captain Bob at the annual Family Fun Day in June.  Spotting him helping an elderly gentleman onto the wing and into the passenger seat, I wondered if he would do the same for people with disabilities.IMG_2576

I can stand but I can’t walk.  I can’t lift my legs to step into the plane.  Can I get into Old Blue?

I told Captain Bob about incredibleACCESSIBLE.  Without hesitation he said yes, he would take me flying.  It turns out that he knows disability.  His father had MS when Captain Bob was a kid, and Bob was his caregiver.  He understands.IMG_2634_2

Captain Bob will work with you any way he can to share this unique and memorable experience.

We took it slow.  Left foot up.  Right foot up.  Wait.  Move the right foot forward.  Pick the right foot up and put it on the seat.  And so forth.  Captain Bob was supporting me while Chip moved my feet around.IMG_2592

I knew we were going to get me in; Captain Bob wanted me to fly.IMG_2594

Matthew the mechanic was there to help but also to observe.  These two guys are going to invent something to help get people into the plane.  They don’t have to but they want to.  There is no ADA requirement for 1926 bi-planes to take disabled people flying.

Captain Bob is making up his own rules.

IMG_2604_2We were snug in our seats, our leather helmets in place.  A couple of selfies and we start rolling down the runway to a gentle lift off.

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We’re up!  For 30 minutes we glided over vineyards, mountains, and tiny houses with the incredible view framed between those two beautiful wings, the sky fresh on my face. IMG_1396

She flies low and slow and shows you the Sonoma Valley more intimately than you ever could see in an enclosed plane.

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I spot familiar landmarks.  The Plaza!

This is beyond incredible.

 

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Much too soon we circle back to the airport and within minutes we are making a perfect landing.

 

 

 

Now it’s time to get me out.  Slow step by slow step I make my moves, onto the wing, and down to the ground.   I have just experienced a thrill that I never would have guessed was accessible.

Old Blue is accessible and Captain Bob is incredible.

Coastal Air Tours 685 Denmark Street, Sonoma, CA 415.609.7273 CaptainBob@CoastalAirTours.com 30 minute Wine Country Tour $175…Add a second passenger for $95 check website for other options

COASTAL AIR TOURS IS

rated “BEYOND INCREDIBLE”

CoastalAirTours.com

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Transcendence Theater Company presents Broadway Under the Stars!

handicap accessible

“Beyond Incredible”

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Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen, California is a magical place.  Three years ago Transcendence Theater Company added the fairy dust when they introduced the Sonoma Valley to Broadway Under the Stars.  Over a hundred performing artists, many featured on Broadway, have dazzled audiences in Jack London’s beautiful open-air winery ruins.

Transcendence Theater Company has a goal of being the most accessible outdoor theater company in America.  It’s pretty terrific already.

TTC asked me to attend opening night and capture photos of accessibility details, to give people with limited mobility visual knowledge of the grounds.  We now present:

The Accessibility Guide to the incredibleACCESSIBLE

Broadway Under the Stars

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Arrive early!  There is so much to enjoy.

Bring a picnic, drink wine, listen to music, shop, visit with friends, savor the moment. The time will fly and suddenly arriving at 5:00 will make total sense.

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Entering the park, a volunteer will guide you to appropriate handicap parking.

  • VIP tickets-   Upper Parking Lot if self-mobile

                                      Lower Parking Lot for a shuttle

  • Premium and General Admission

                                      Lower Parking Lot for a shuttle

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Lower Parking Lot

Parking is easy and a shuttle follows you to your parking space.

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The ramps flips down and on you roll

One shuttle has a ramp, the other does not.  They’ll send the one that you need.IMG_2380

Handicap check-in is in the parking lot, avoiding the trip up the hill to the box office.

 

 

Scenic Route from the Lower Parking Lot

The shuttle takes you past picturesque vineyard views
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VIP tickets and the Upper Parking Lot

If you’re strong enough to walk uphill, or have a power wheelchair or scooter, you can park here and hike up the hill.

The hill is somewhat steep, somewhat long, wide but with loose gravel.  The shuttle is the easier choice from the Lower Parking Lot.

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The closest portable toilet

If you’re in a rush there is a portable toilet at the edge of the VIP Upper Parking Lot.

If you’re in the Lower Parking Lot, there are more portable toilets once you arrive at the theater.

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The uphill climb from the Upper Parking Lot

It’s steeper than this makes it look, but for some it may be fine.

 The bright turquoise spot on the right is the portable toilet in the Upper Parking Lot indicates the distance.  Powerful scooters and wheelchairs can handle it, though you may need a push through patches of loose gravel.

 

 

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Shuttle Stop #1 the theater entrance

This is the most popular shuttle stop, adjacent to many activities.

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A big beautiful handicap portable toilet

Adjacent to Shuttle Stop #1 and level

Clean, convenient, and accessible

Clean, convenient, and accessible

 

 

Get your t-shirts and sweatshirts at the Merchandise Tent

Adjacent to Shuttle Stop #1 and level

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The VIP lounge

Adjacent to Shuttle Stop #1, and down a slight grade.  Pick your route as some will be steeper than others.

Chatting with Brad Surosky, Co-Executive Director of Transcendence Theater.  You’ll spot him and other performers roaming the meadow and mingling prior to the show.

It’s empty looking now but later the crowds arrive.  Get here early!

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Entertainment at the edge of the meadow

The meadow is a natural feature in this beautiful state park.  It’s level, but may have bumps and divets.  If you use 2 levels of mobility equipment, tonight’s the night to use the walker rather than the cane, the scooter rather than the walker.

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The meadow- Jack London’s Beauty Ranch lawn

Come early and picnic in the meadow, with picnic tables, hay bales and pedestal tables provided for your use.  More picnic tables are up the hill if it’s not too steep for you.  To guarantee a picnic table, reservations should be made in advance at a cost of $50.

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Shuttle stop #2  Broadway Wine Circle

At every performance the featured winery hosts a pre-party.  For a $40 annual membership you can be a member of the Broadway Wine Circle and support Transcendence Theater Company.

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Yes, the Broadway Wine Circle is accessible!

Enjoying pre-performance conversation with friends.

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Food truck picnic

A variety of food trucks are on the meadow.  Such decisions!  Bring your picnic or buy one here.

Chip can reach it from the window, but if you need them to bring it to you they will.
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Picnic tables at the top of the hill

There’s more shade up the hill, but it is up the hill.  Note the accessible picnic table.  The first 24 inches are barrier free, for an easy transfer.

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Even the performers are accessible!

Carrie Manolakos, Broadway star in Mama Mia and Wicked, is beautiful, talented, and mingling with the crowd.

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In case of emergency

The paramedics are standing by

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Time for the show!

VIP seats = thick white cushion.   Premium seats = medium thick burgundy cushion.  General admission = no cushion.  Bring your own if you want more padding and will be using a chair.

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the sun sets, the music rises

let the magic begin
IMG_1520Get ready for one of the best nights of your life.

 

 Rated “BEYOND INCREDIBLE”

 

TIPS to make the most of your evening

  • call 877-424-1414 prior to arrival to reserve handicap seating arrangements
  • General Admission ticketholders start lining up about 6:30 before the doors open at 7:00; with reserved handicap seats you don’t need to be in line
  • arrive early to enjoy the park, 5:00 to 5:30 is great
  • arrive no later than 6:45 to allow ample time to make the show at 7:30
  • dress in layers- it may be hot at the beginning
  • bring a blanket- it may be cold at the end
  • bring a cushion if you have General Admission tickets and will be using a chair
  • if you walk, wear comfortable shoes
  • bring a flashlight
  • bring an umbrella or parasol for pre-show if heat sensitive
  • bring a picnic or buy from the food trucks
  • bring only a service dog- no pets
  • bring NO alcohol
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