Boston & Salem: Accessible Travel


I must admit that I am a fan of Boston.  I have loved American history since my school days (in Argentina!) and find it fascinating that I get to relive parts of it when I visit Boston.  Plus, who wouldn’t like such a vibrant, historic and progressive American city?  Now that states have begun to open up (and with Covid rates really low and vaccination rates high in Massachusetts), you could see tourists everywhere in Boston.  We were part of them.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a unique city as it tries to blend the old and the new.  It is here that we found it quite challenging to recommend navigating the city without a guide or someone who could point to all the “new roads” if you or your loved one has difficulty with motor skills.  There were certain areas that needed to remain untouched for historical reasons, and some of them were extremely difficult to navigate for those of us without physical disabilities.  They would be impossible to navigate for those who have motor difficulties.

If you are interested in travelling to Boston, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the historical sites, wonderful views of the Back Bay, and wonderful heritage of food.  Make sure that you have someone with you who can test the area and most of all, avoid the “old” area of town.  Stick to the new construction, which is all ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, and you should be able to absorb the beauty of this wonderful city.

The Public Gardens

Boston is a bustling city that is still a little quiet due to Covid, but could become quite crowded in the summer months.  If you or your loved one can become easily overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city, Boston offers a lot of different spots that can serve as oasis.  Those are some of the hidden parks, squares, and lots of restaurants and cafes that can offer you a moment to unwind, relax, and enjoy your surroundings little by little.  Make sure you include them in your itinerary and you should be able to avoid the noise of the crowds.


Salem, Massachusetts

Salem is about a 45-minute drive from Boston, and a must-see if you like quirky, fun cities, that have something unique to offer.  We had a wonderful meal at Gulu Gulu café (lots of vegetarian and vegan options!), walked the pedestrian walkway, had hot chocolate at Kakawa Chocolate House, a must-visit if you love hot chocolate, and spent about 30 minutes doing the Witch Hunt Museum tour.

Gulu Gulu Cafe

Salem is an accessible city, with plenty of opportunities for people with limited mobility and motor difficulties to navigate and not have to miss a beat.  There is a lot of sensory stimulation around, from the colors, noises (music, cars, people, etc.), and the ambiance.  But there are lots of places to stop and relax.  If you have limited mobility, are easily scared, or have sensory issues, then perhaps skip then With Hunt Tour and walk the pedestrian walkway.  There are plenty of places to stop and take a few minutes to unwind.

Salem, Massachusetts

The Bottom Line

Visit Boston!  Visit Salem!  They are both fun and vibrant cities that are longing for tourists to return!  Just remember our advice:  Stay within the new sections in Boston, and if you want to visit the oldest and more historic areas, go with someone that can point the alternative routes.  Keep in mind that you may need to find a park or restaurant to sit down and have a bite to unwind.  You may have to do the same if you visit Salem, with fewer physical barriers if ambulating the city.  Most of all, enjoy yourself and have fun!

Accessible Travel: Encore Boston Harbor

General impression

If you are thinking of visiting the Boston area, and you don’t mind staying at a hotel that is not located specifically in the downtown area of Boston, then the Encore Boston Harbor is a good choice. The Encore is a spacious, luxurious hotel, located just on the outside of most of Boston’s attractions, about a 15-to-20-minute drive if you are stuck in traffic, but potentially less.  During our stay, we did not mind giving up the central location for a roomier, more luxurious, comfortable stay.  This hotel is a five-star hotel in terms of what it has to offer. 

Hotel Lobby

Health and Safety Standards

During our stay, we observed a top-notch staff that took care if the smallest details.  The hotel lobby was shining bright, the restroom facilities were constantly being cleaned, and the restaurants and stores did not have a spec of dust in them.  Our rooms were no different.  They were cleaned with the utmost care every time.  I noticed that if there was a tiny stain on a mirror, it was gone by the time we came back.  The room smelled clean and felt luxurious every single day.

Bottom line on cleanliness:  Cleanliness standards are clearly high in this hotel.


Here is where I would say the hotel lacked in terms of what we as a team needed to accomplish to be able to give you a thorough in-depth coverage of what a family of a person with disabilities or a person with disabilities would need to know in terms of staying at this hotel.  We emailed the hotels press room many times, prior to our arrival and once we arrived, we informed the check-in desk we were bloggers in need of guidance.  We were told that we would hear from them shortly, but never did.  This is not a sponsored or affiliate post, and everything that we were able to see was on our own. 

Bottom line on responsiveness:  We would have liked the hotel management to be able to explain possible accommodations and adaptations that they could provide to our community, and hope that this article helps provide them with an understanding of how important this is for all of us.

Hotel Restaurants

We did not have the opportunity to visit every restaurant in the hotel, but of special mention here are Cheese Meet Wine and Rare Steakhouse.  The service was absolutely excellent, as they accommodated our dietary needs, and they also had accommodations for those individuals that may need to use a wheelchair for access.  These two restaurants are located outside of the casino and are shielded from the noise and the overstimulation of the colorful casino environment.  Both Cheese Meet Wine and Rare Steakhouse provide for a more soothing ambiance, and a rest from the noise.  Special mention to Rare Steakhouse:  I am a vegetarian and they provided me with the most delicious vegetarian meals and wine pairings.

Dinner at Rare Steakhouse

Bottom line on restaurants:  Stick to the restaurants outside of the casino for a more comfortable, quieter scene.

Dinner at Cheese Meet Wine


Luxury is the key word here.  You cannot describe the Encore without describing the spacious rooms, comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms, and great amenities in each room.  However, in terms of accessibility, and during our stay, we were not given an accessible room.  To be specific, we are describing accessibility here as the ability of a wheelchair to access a toilet seat, and the ability of a wheelchair user to access the height of the bed as well as other amenities in the room.  The room did have accessible features such as an iPad to access television controls, request help, or order room service.

We did not book an accessible room because we believe in leaving those rooms for people who really need them. But we did contact the hotel, weeks in advance, as we mentioned earlier, and reminded them as time drew near, of our impending visit.  We wanted to be guided through the accessible accommodations to give them a fair review on our blog and be as informative as possible.  We also reminded them on our arrival that we were here to blog and write about this space and wanted to talk to someone that could provide with guidance.  They took our information at the desk, but we were never contacted regarding this.

For those visitors with sensory issues, the rooms offered pale colors and a variety of adjustments that could make your life easier.  I found that the room colors were quite comforting to the eye, the noise level was music to my ears, and the ability to adjust lighting, television orientation, and places to sit in comfort enhanced my visit and made it very easy to adjust to the hustle and bustle of the Boston area.

Room with a View at Encore Boston Harbor

Bottom line on accommodations:  We can only write a review based on our room, which was not specified as accessible.  It did have some accessible features.  For example, it was very spacious, had a comfortable couch to sit and a forward -facing television that could change orientation as it was bracketed to the wall.  The room controls were operated by an iPad, so one did not have to move from wherever we were in order to change any setting in the room.  Once could order in-room dining as well as control the television settings right from this iPad. 

Our View at the Encore Boston Harbor


Again, you could not accuse the Encore Boston Harbor of not being luxurious.  The exquisite, manicured garden, the sculptures, and the attention to detail are just one of a kind.  The outdoor space also has wheelchair accessible ramps that allowed wheelchair users to access the lush gardens outdoors.  A note for those guests with sensory issues:  Although the sculptures and flowers may be pleasing to many guests, they may overwhelm children or even adults who are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli. 

Bottom line on outdoor garden:  Proceed cautiously if easily overwhelmed but do venture out if you can and absorb the scenery.

Outdoor gardens

Bottom line on the Encore Boston Harbor:  We had a wonderful, luxurious, comfortable stay.  We wished we could have had a much better view of the accessibility of the place, but we hope that next time we visit we are able to connect with the management ahead of time.  We also noticed the physical accommodations present at the hotel, in general, but also noticed how difficult it would be for someone with sensory issues (for example, someone with ASD), to navigate the highly stimulating environment.

Stay tuned for more on our visit to Boston, Massachusetts!