Ellen and me adventured to Hermann, Missouri for my first OFFICIAL travel rendezvous. As I stated in the prior post, my plan is to embark on some traveling and gather all the info I can to share how I made it happen from my wheelchair. Maybe you can relate or maybe you cannot. Maybe you’ll learn something new and maybe some how my sharings will be a help to you or a loved one in the future…no matter what your reason, I hope this is as enjoyable for you to read as it will be for me to build.
Since Hermann is a little under a 2 hour drive from home(St. Louis, MO), I had asked Ellen to drive my car that way we could use my wheelchair topper for storing the wheelchair during our drive.
Els and me wanted to pick a fun, short and close trip, so Hermann won! And we wanted hop to different wineries because…. wine…
First things first, finding an available fully accessible hotel. Now, I say “fully” because I can’t tell you the many times my hotel room was not equipped for my needs. Because of the many mishaps I’ve run into, I have learned the ropes of looking and voicing my specific necessities. Most places will provide what you need, but you can’t be shy about asking. Ask and you shall receive!
I am a Rapid Rewards member of Southwest, so I typically start my search for hotels through them to be able to use my reward miles to book or earn more points to use at a later time. If Southwest isn’t your jam, I’d recommend finding a source that you would get good use out of and provides points/savings/rewards for your use. It’s always nice to get money off your flight/hotel/rental car!
The Southwest app is pretty simple to navigate.
I typed Hermann, Missouri in the search box, with the date I wanted and a good selection of available hotels popped up. Now, I need to filter that search even more by selecting a handicap room. I found a couple, but the first one I was interested in showed lots of pictures of rooms and none looked accommodating for me, so I called to double check and sure enough they weren’t ADA compliant. They had a few grab bars in the shower, but that was about it. No dice. So, onto my next selection. This hotel showed pictures of what their handicap room looked like and it seemed just what I needed. Before I booked, I called the hotel and told them I found a booking on Southwest and wanted assurance that I was definitely getting the handicapped room. The clerk told me to write in the notes section “guest in a wheelchair, handicap room is a must” and I would be all set. To triple check, after I booked I sent the hotel an additional email stressing the importance of a handicap room. Just to make sure every “i” was dotted and “t” was crossed.
And I’m happy to report back, that Americas Best Value Inn was true to their word!
Now that the hotel was crossed off the list, came the places to hit up while we were there. I thrive off spontaneity and going with the flow, so planning my every move isn’t exactly what I enjoy; so instead of setting everything in stone, I leave options open. But the options are looked into ahead of time to make sure they can be legit options. Things to always check for are:
⏳Distance from car to place.
For this trip, I relied on ‘TripAdvisor’ and was very happy with the results it produced. When you open the app, you type in your destination and it brings up the many things to do. Ellen and me were interested in wineries and restaurants, so that was my focus. I looked into many wineries to check for ratings and accessibility. Some listed right on the page that they were handicap friendly, while others I called and asked or wrote a message on that particular winery’s page to inquire and either an employee or guest of TripAdvisor would answer me back. Once I found ones of interest, I stored them in a folder on TripAdvisor to have as a choice.
After I stored a few of my favorites, I wanted some options for restaurants. I do my best to follow a vegan diet, so those were the captions I looked for. A lot of the restaurants on this app will show their menu, so that’s another great way to browse your food options. I also check for reviews. I’m a sucker for good reviews. I always heavily weigh that into the equation.
I had a few in mind that I added to the ‘Hermann Trip’ folder and viola! We were set with our options and ready for take off.
We left Sunday October 21st sometime in the a.m.; when we arrived in Hermann, we checked into the hotel. Our first intention was to Uber to the wineries, dinner and back to hotel. But, to our disappoint, there was only one Uber and one Lyft driver on duty who wanted a ridiculous fee. Hard no.
We opted to just suck it up and drive ourselves. We drove to the first winery ‘Martin Brothers’ which was so awesome! It was small and laid back. Their wine is made from honey (mead) and it was a new taste for me, so I loved doing lots of sampling.
Ellen and I found our fav, bought a bottle to enjoy, popped it open and sipped the yums on their patio. It was a beautiful fall day; the leaves were changing colors, the sun was shining and we were fighting off the bees who didn’t like that we were drinking their honey😉
From there, we visited ‘Oak Glenn’ winery. It was definitely more upbeat and the hot spot for winos. We sampled some of their wines, but nothing spiked our taste buds, so we settled for a glass of their homemade sangria. We took the ramp to sit out on the second level which overlooked the beautiful rolling hills of Hermann.
We finished off the evening with dinner at ‘Black Walnut Bistro’ it was delish👌🏻
Of course, we got wine there too😬
Monday morning, we grabbed breakfast at this coffee shop in downtown Hermann.
This coffee joint had a big step to get into, but luckily Ellen was with to help a sister out💪🏻
I am not 100% sure, but some sources I read had said buildings built before 1992 are lawfully not required to make their place ADA compliant, but they’re required to remove any architectural barriers. (To help, I guess?) Honestly, I have very rarely run into a place that wasn’t handi friendly, in the U.S., that is. There’s so many other ins and outs and fine print to this, but moral of the story, like I stated before, it’s a good idea to check beforehand.
After breaky, we moseyed around to different shops because I always need a souvenir for Eli wherever I go. This kid has so many Knick knacks and T-shirt’s of all my trips around the world😉
We left Hermann around 2pm and right when we got back, I switched back to mom mode. I picked Eli up from school, brought him to soccer practice and home we went for homework & dinner.
This trip was wonderful in so many ways. It was a great way to start documenting my trips from a wheelchair perspective. It was an easy getaway, short trip and lots of laughs with one of besties. I would absolutely love to do another winery trip to Hermann in the future and soak up more memories❤️