Roslindale Village for accessible holiday shopping? Bah Humbug

Thought we’d do a little Christmas shopping in one of our old haunts, Roslindale Village.  It’s November 30:   Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Day in the Village. (Here’s my first peeve in what turned out to be a bust of a day.  Really, a “Holiday” tree? It is a CHRISTMAS TREE.)

Santa Claus showed up on Engine 16 (although he blew past the kid in a wheelchair with the barest of sideways-glances) to pose for pictures with able-bodied kids.  The Christmas Tree was lit.  There were Christmas songs.  Ho hum.  Well, okay, we’ll go shopping then.

Roslindale’s Main Street, an organization dedicated to promoting small business in the area, boasts on its web site that their mission is to promote Roslindale Village as an appealing destination (um, not if you’re in a wheelchair, it’s not) and furthermore states that they are pedestrian-friendly.  They are decidedly not.IMG_2331

IMG_2326We were off to a good start with an accessible parking lot off the main street, which had plenty of ADA spaces and a ramp down to the village area.  Things went quickly downhill from there.  We couldn’t access any of the enticing stores full of Christmas cheer:

– the Pop-Up Shop, featuring locally made retailers and some very yummy looking cupcakes  =  not accessible

- Birch Street House & Garden, had lots of interesting Christmas items but…. not accessible

-Joanne Rossman’s, another intriguing boutique = not accessible

– Really excited to try my sister-in-law’s favorite wine and cheese store, the Boston Cheese Cellar but…. not accessible

IMG_2335The “shop small and hot chocolate tasting” sign next-door at Kitchen Central (no website) beckoned.  Alas, they were NOT ACCESSIBLE either.

Ironically, most of these stores have a rear entrance in a charming patio area which looks fairly new and as if it could have been ramped without much fuss.IMG_2345

So I’d say pretty much all you can do if you’re in a wheelchair is buy food at the Village Market (an accessible food market) or buy dinner at either Delfino’s, Sophia’s Grotto or Birch Street Bistro (the entrances were accessible but I didn’t check out any of the restrooms – I’d call to check before I went if I were you).

IMG_2356My biggest disappointment was how far downhill Fornax Bakery has gone.  You can kinda, sorta get in (the ramp is definitely not to code, it’s a tight fit for a wheelchair through the door, and there’s not really space for a wheelchair at any of the tables) but don’t bother: the hot chocolate was not hot and it was lumpy, and the muffins were stale.

IMG_2358 Oh, and if you have a tacky-dress emergency, you can park here and just wheel right into the garish boutique on the corner.  That store looks like a real gem, and it’s accessible!


Quick, enjoy these Boston trails before we’re snowed in for the winter!

Seamus and friend along the banks of the Neponset River, Dorchester

Seamus and friend along the banks of the Neponset River, Dorchester

Last week, my faithful companion (Seamus the dog), his beautiful Berner companion Poppy (named after Boston’s own Big Papi), and I walked the section of Boston’s HarborWalk that comprises Dorchester’s Pope John Paul Pius II Park.  The 65-acre park is on the banks of the Neponset River.

Pope John Paul Pius II Park in Dorchester

Pope John Paul Pius II Park in Dorchester

The park has been reclaimed from its prior use as a landfill and now has over a mile of paved trails (wheelchairs work well here), a playground, parking lot complete with ADA spaces and a couple of port-a-potties (including a wheelchair-accessible one).

Neponset River Trail

Neponset River Trail

In either direction, the Neponset River Trail extends (for a total of 2.5 miles) along the Neponset River, its salt marshes, and the Boston Harbor.  The trail consists of both gravel and paved trails, and although I didn’t explore the entire trail, according the the website, it’s “consistently flat.”  Also known as the Neponset River Greenway, the trail will be 10 miles long upon completion.  It will eventually connect the Blue Hills Reservation with Boston Harbor;  see The Boston Globe‘s June article on the state’s commitment of capital funding to finish the project.

Since you’ll be in the area, don’t miss a chance to stock up on delicious meats, a traditional Irish breakfast, or Barry’s tea at the Butcher Shop Market on Adams Street in Dorchester.  The shop is wheelchair-accessible, although the doors are not electric.  Important note:  there is a big parking lot behind the store but it has been undergoing renovation for a while now.  If you need to park in ADA spaces, you might want to call the market to find out the status on the parking lot.

And Ginger Betty’s Bakery in Quincy is close enough for a detour!

Gingerbread work of art featuring Boston

Gingerbread work of art featuring Boston

A housekeeping item

I love color and pattern.  I always opt to put rugs on floors for warmth, softness and atmosphere.  Until, that is, there was a wheelchair in the picture.  Then rugs became a nuisance.  I cannot tell you how many times Marianne’s wheelchair frustratingly got all caught up in a rug.

Here’s the solution:  Chilewich floor mats.

Chilewich floor mat

Chilewich floor mat

They give me much of what I want in terms of color and depth, and even a little padding under foot, but they can be washed with a floor mop and swept with a broom, and wheelchairs travel easily over them.  They’re not cheap, but I bet you could do some internet research and find something like these mats for less.



A program with a real impact

It was serendipity.  Marianne and I heard a presentation by a local organization called Team Impact at an event we attended last spring.  It sounded like a good idea:  matching up young people with life-threatening illnesses or significant physical challenges with a college team for the season, so I filed it away in my mental “maybe some day” list.   I sat on the idea for months, and then this past August, after some hemming and hawing, I placed a call to Erin MacNeil at Team Impact.  She called me back almost immediately – they had a team, Marianne would be a great fit, all good!

Northeastern University Women's Hockey Team and Marianne

Northeastern University Women’s Hockey Team and Marianne

Wow, that was fast.  The mother in me was uncertain, because in my experience, almost nothing is easy if it involves accessibility.

Except…. maybe this.  From the first, Marianne connected with Kelly, the team ambassador and senior player on the Northeastern University Women’s Hockey team, via email.  The Huskie team put together a moving draft day experience.

The team brings Marianne into the locker room in between periods for pep talks.  The young women are all FaceBook friends with Marianne, and she calls in on their away games.  We just had the team, complete with coaches, to our house for a home-cooked meal and a chance to get to know each other better.  Karaoke happened!  This is the real thing;  I can relax and know that Marianne is in good hands.

IMG_2964Watching Marianne interact with the team, I can’t help but know that she is gift to them, too.   Our connections are what sustain us, and what makes our lives meaningful.  Applause to Team Impact for bringing inspiring people together to be team.

And one more thing:   Go Huskies!!