Located on the Davis & Elkins College campus, the Graceland Inn (www.gracelandinn.com) is the former summer home of U.S. Senator Henry Gassaway. Named after Gassaway’s daughter Grace, the castle-like mansion is a picture perfect example of Victorian elegance. And although Victorian mansions weren’t known for their accessibility, the Graceland Inn has had some access features added.
Although steps grace the front of this historic building, the accessible entrance is located just to the left, near the accessible parking space. There is a level pathway to the accessible entrance, however the door is not marked. Once inside, the doorway on the right takes you past the elevator and around to the front desk.
And I have to say that the interior of the National Historic Landmark is a site to behold, with its hardwood floors, rich paneling, and period pieces. The property is staffed by the college’s hospitality and tourism students, and although it’s not fully accessible, it’s a good choice for many slow walkers and part time wheelchair-users.
The accessible Nanny’s Room is located on the third floor. The elevator is a very old model (remember you are in a historic building), and it measures just two feet deep and five feet wide. The door is on the front in the lobby and on the side on the third floor, and it requires a slight turn to disembark, so it might be a pretty tight fit for some folks.
Nanny’s Room features a wide doorway and good pathway access. It’s furnished with a 30-inch high queen-sized bed with wheelchair access on one side, an armoire and two side chairs.
The bathroom has a full five-foot turning radius and it is equipped with a low-step shower (five inches high) with grab bars and a hand-held showerhead. The shower door is 28 inches wide, and the shower itself measures 41 inches wide by 34 inches deep. The toilet is located in an alcove with grab bars on the right and back walls (as seated), and the bathroom also has a roll-under sink.
There is barrier-free access to the first-floor public areas, including the spacious lobby. Additionally, the billiards room, which is right across from Nanny’s Room, is furnished with an antique billiards table, and it’s almost like taking a step back in time.
It should also be noted that because of the small elevator and the high bed this property won’t work for power wheelchair-users. Additionally, if you have to do a lateral transfer, the toilet placement in the alcove may prove problematic. Still it’s a good choice for slow walkers or part time manual wheelchair-users, or anybody who can walk a few steps and has assistance available.
It’s also a good meeting venue, as the adjacent Robert C. Byrd Center for Hospitality & Tourism has a large accessible conference area. Even if you don’t overnight there, stop by and have a look at the elegant lobby, as the first floor is certainly accessible to everyone.
You Might Also Like