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Woman creates disabled wine guide

A disabled woman frustrated at the lack of information on access when travelling has  a blog offering disabled people tips and advice on getting around California’s wine country.

cropped-IMG_1069 was founded by Jeanne Allen this year and focuses specifically on the wine regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma County offering travel tips to help disabled people get around.

Allen was 30 years old when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a progressive disease with no cure.

As the disease took hold, eventually Allen was forced to quit her job as a project manager for Levi Strauss in San Francisco and use a mobility scooter to get around.

It was while on a trip to Chicago that she first spotted the need for better information on accessibility.

She said: “To my frustration, I discovered that accessible travel information is extremely limited. I spent hours on the phone and on the internet, turning scarce, vague material into something useful.  Finally I created an itinerary –  an incredible, accessible itinerary. And at the end of the trip, I threw it away.”

She continued to draw up travel tips for the next five years, before deciding to channel her efforts into creating an online resource for others who could benefit from her experience.

Particular attention is paid to the various hotels, restaurants, shops and wineries throughout the region noting whether they have accessible parking spots, bathrooms with grab bars and enough space to accommodate a scooter, or steps that could block access for a disabled person.

By giving disabled people information on accessibility and highlighting the pitfalls, Allen hopes to empower people to go “places you weren’t sure you could go and to do things you weren’t sure you could do.”

Allen hopes to expand Incredible Accessible will expand to other regions, but for now it focuses largely on her home of Sonoma County and Napa Valley.

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