Most disabilities shouldn't stop anyone from traveling to northern New England. There are more options and resources out there than ever before.
The American the Beautiful -- National Park and Federal Recreational Lands Pass -- Access Pass (formerly the Golden Access Passport) gives visually impaired or permanently disabled persons (regardless of age) free lifetime entrance to federal recreation sites administered by the National Park Service, including the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation.
It's especially useful here in northern New England, because it gains the bearer entry into Acadia National Park, the White Mountain National Forest, and the Green Mountain National Forest. Other monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges are also covered by the pass.
The pass can only be obtained in person at any NPS facility that charges an entrance fee. You need to show proof of medically determined disability. Besides free entry, the pass also offers a 50% discount on some federal-use fees charged for such facilities as camping, swimming, parking, boat launching, and tours. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm, or call tel. 888/467-2757.
Organizations that offer a vast range of resources and assistance to travelers with disabilities include MossRehab (tel. 800/CALL-MOSS; www.mossresourcenet.org); the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) (tel. 800/232-5463; www.afb.org); and SATH (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality) (tel. 212/447-7284; www.sath.org). AirAmbulanceCard.com is now partnered with SATH and allows you to preselect top-notch hospitals in case of an emergency.
Access-Able Travel Source (tel. 303/232-2979; www.access-able.com) offers a comprehensive database on travel agents from around the world with experience in accessible travel; destination-specific access information; and links to such resources as service animals, equipment rentals, and access guides.
Many travel agencies offer customized tours and itineraries for travelers with disabilities. Among them are Flying Wheels Travel (tel. 507/451-5005; www.flyingwheelstravel.com), and Accessible Journeys (tel. 800/846-4537 or 610/521-0339; www.disabilitytravel.com).
Flying with Disability (www.flying-with-disability.org) is a comprehensive information source on airplane travel. Avis Rent a Car (tel. 888/879-4273) has an "Avis Access" program that offers services for customers with special travel needs. These include specially outfitted vehicles with swivel seats, spinner knobs, and hand controls; mobility scooter rentals; and accessible bus service. Be sure to reserve well in advance.
Also check out the quarterly magazine Emerging Horizons (www.emerginghorizons.com), available by subscription ($16.95 year U.S.; $21.95 outside U.S.).
The "Accessible Travel" link at Mobility-Advisor.com (www.mobility-advisor.com) offers a variety of travel resources to persons with disabilities.
British travelers should contact Holiday Care (tel. 0845/124-9971 in U.K. only; www.holidaycare.org.uk) to access a wide range of travel information and resources for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.