Chautauqua part 2

See part 1 at the next heading down.

Not everything at Chautauqua, CHQ, was rosy. There were 2 disappointments. There are always disappointments when you anticipate perfection on a vacation that you’ve been planning for months. First, because there are no cars allowed, there were no sidewalks. Thus, I couldn’t go anywhere outside the house on my own. Sidewalks give me linear directions, much like tracks in the snow do for cross country skiing. With open pedestrian areas with no sidewalk boundaries, I couldn’t really tell Dora how to take me to the various venues. I had envisioned getting up early and walking around town, getting a coffee, and maybe taking it down to the lake to listen to the sea gulls and the waves. But for that to happen, I would have had to have a sighted friend who gets up early like me and could walk at Dora’s pace.

The other disappointment was in the lack of accessibility for people with vision impairments. There was not 1 thing printed in braille, and what’s worse, they had no plans to get it done. So much for the ADA. That was the down side of the ‘50’s ambiance. They had an interesting play scheduled for the Friday night, but they had never heard of audio description, and again, had no idea how to make that happen. They will, once I get to talk to the right people. They are very proud of their wheelchair accessible restrooms and their enhanced listening devices, but as I said to one of the volunteers who greeted us at the Visitors Center, “That doesn’t impress me. I want to know what they have for me.” I had been told when I had called earlier about audio description and braille that in their 142 years, they had never had that request. I can’t believe that I’m the only blind person to attend CHQ events. Maybe I’m the only blind person who hoped for reasonable accommodations. I guess I’ll have to be a 1-woman campaign for equal access too one of the best vacation spots in America.


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