Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baltimore - Day 1

When we set off for Baltimore last week, I was curious to see what our travel experience was going to be like. Though we have traveled with Ashley and her wheelchair in the past, Ashley is capable of walking short distances. If we couldn’t find a curb cut, it wasn’t a big deal – Ashley could just stand up, step down the curb and then get back in her chair. But with Ronnie, there is no standing – it’s the chair all the time.

The first area we visited was Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The boys had their hearts set on having lunch at ESPN Zone, so you can imagine the disappointment when we arrived and discovered the restaurant was no longer there. We settled for Hard Rock Café.

The Hard Rock Café had little to offer a deaf teenager, but I think Ronnie was quite happy when he realized I was going to let him order an ice cream sundae for lunch! We finished lunch – I took the requisite tourist picture – and we headed out to the Inner Harbor.

The line at the aquarium was much too long to wait in considering the temperature was pushing 100 degrees, so we explored some shops and watched some high school dancers in the plaza. Locating the handicapped entrances to the buildings was a bit of a challenge, but once inside, we were always able to find an elevator.

We were even able to find Ronnie a pair of Converse shoes to use as pool shoes. Since he has no feeling in his legs, it’s very important to protect his feet when he swims. Otherwise they could get all scraped and cut without him even knowing it.

After lunch and a little exploring, we headed to our hotel to check in. It was a lovely Hilton right in the heart of Baltimore. It was contemporary and quite impressive, and the rooms that Chip had booked for us overlooked Camden Yards. But the most important thing about the rooms? The delicious air conditioning!!

After getting settled into the room, Corey and Ronnie decided to check out the pool. Imagine my surprise when I saw the lift at the end of the pool. Although we didn’t need it, I was impressed that the hotel folks had been aware and considerate enough to realize the need.

Here are a few pictures from the swimming experience:

After a good dinner in what we thought was a restaurant but what turned out to be more of a bar, we settled into the hotel rooms to await the start of the Baltimore Orioles/Washington Nationals baseball game. While we couldn’t see the whole field, we were able to watch the game simultaneously on TV.

I think the boys had a great time in their own room, and everyone was looking forward to actually going to the game the next day. More later…..


MB said...

For future visits to the aquarium -

"Visitors with special needs and their parties may purchase tickets at the Members’/Accessible entrance and gain immediate entry to the Aquarium, thereby avoiding the chance of a wait if tickets are purchased at the main ticket center." Also, they have Deaf Day 2x a year. We went once and they were flush with interpreters.

FYI - every Hyatt I've stayed at this year has had a lift in the pool. The Hyatt Place's are nice but reasonably priced and include free breakfast.

MB said...

Also - one more aquarium tip:

"The First Saturdays and First Sundays program allows all visitors with disabilities and their guests to enter 30 minutes before the Aquarium opens the first Saturday and the first Sunday of each month, for a leisurely, crowd-free visit. Tickets are available at the Members’/Accessible entrance on the ground level."

Ashley's Mom said...

Thanks, Monica! That's great information. Hopefully we can schedule another visit before the end of the summer.