Alaska suggestions?

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by phoebe, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. phoebe

    phoebe

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    David has a conference in Alaska in September :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: .
    The meetings will be in Fairbanks and Denali. So we're going to fly up a week early to do some vacationing before the conference starts. I know there are some Alaska experts here, so could we pick your brains for must-visit places? Unfortunately, anything involving a boat, ship or vessel is out. We know a week isn't much, so we're happy to concentrate on one small area. Suggestions?
     
  2. chrose

    chrose

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    Oh you lucky devil you. Wish I was joining you! There will be plenty to do in Fairbanks and Denali while you're there, make sure you take a wildlife tour of Denali. The seasons starting to change rapidly in September so it should be pretty lively. If you're there for 2 weeks or so you'll find the sun going down by about 5 minutes earlier everyday. By then you won't have the long nights anymore and it will get quite chilly in the evening. Anchorage is about a 7 hour drive from Fairbanks. From Anc. you can drive down to Homer, Ak. http://www.seldovia.net/photogallery...hotos_Spit.htm I'm not sure what you meant by no boats, but if you can handle a 30 minute ferry ride you can go from Homer to Halibut cove and the artists colony. It's a little like a fairytale land out in the middle of nowhere!
    The Alaska State Fair is from August 25 to Sept. 5th. A must do if you can. It's in Palmer, Ak. 45 minutes from Anchorage. http://www.alaskastatefair.org/2005/exhibits.html
    John Evans lives there, make arrangements and you can visit his gardens. Not sure what will be growing then, but they could be huge! Make sure you say hello to Coolee his Parrot and tell him I send my regards :D http://alaskagiant.com There's Hatcher Pass where you can see an old Gold Mine. It's not a long visit, but it's nice. You can see pictures of it in my Alaska Vacation pics. The pics start out with one of my son and niece so you're in the right place.http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/chrose...9e.jpg&.src=ph
    And there's also Girdwood. 30 Minutes past Anchorage. http://www.girdwoodalaska.com/
    There's Mt. Aleyeska where you can ride the ski lift and eat at one of the finest restaurants around just up the road http://www.doublemuskyinn.com/cajun.html
    To get your hunger up you can try to pan a little gold at a couple of places all within a few miles of each other (it's actually a lot of fun and relaxing, just keep an eye peeled for bears!) http://www.akmining.com/mine/crow.htm or http://www.indianvalleymine.com/mine_history.html from there you can go to see Portage Glacier. If you're lucky you can see a calved ice piece that came off the glacier as i did in my vacation pics.
    From there you can pick up the train or drive to Seward for a visit http://www.sewardak.org/
    While in Anchorage you could eat where I used to be a Chef http://www.wcities.com/en/record/,12...82/record.html or an even better place http://www.jensrestaurant.com/
    There's also a lot to see and do in Anchorage. You should be able to fill a week easy!
    If this isn't enough, let me know!
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I spent the summer of '89' in Valdez, on the Prince William Sound (the end of the oil pipeline and ground zero of the oilspill cleanup). There is lots to do in the area, from hiking mountains and glaciers, to whitewater rafting, to seeing the Sound by boat, plane or 4X4. Also wherever you go, don't forget to just stop and soak up some of the culture. You are guarneteed to meet some of the "craziest" most colorful "locals" you have ever met. It is a good distance from where you will be though, easily an 8-10 hour drive. Valdez is also home to many fish canneries so it is always fun watching all the fishing vessels come and go and unload.
     
  4. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    We were in Denali and Fairbanks as part of a Princess Cruise tour in 2004. There had been fires in Fairbanks and in parts of Denali National Park making for smoky conditions last summer. (We were fortunate to have little effect because we happened to hit rain just before our trip, which washed the smoke from the air.)

    Denali is a big place, but I'm assuming you mean the townsite as your "headquarters". There are all kinds of wild adventure outfitters for float trips, rapids, climbing, helicopter and flight trips (including flights to Mt. McKinley itself), etc. Most of them contract with the cruise companies, but also with the general public. I don't know if you're getting as far as Talkeetna, but we took an unforgettable Chilutna River float trip and enjoyed it very much. The clouds parted and we saw the summit of Denali, which we were told is uncommon in summer.

    As for cuisine: SEAFOOD. I don't go in for wild game, but there's that, too. Berries and some of the mega-vegetables Chrose and others have spoken of are seasonal delights. We went on a paddle-wheel boat trip from Fairbanks to a reconstructed First Nations village (kind of touristy, but definitely worth the trip). They had a garden planted there with HUGE cabbages and other vegetables.

    Enjoy your trip! We want to go back someday.
     
  5. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Thank you all SO much! :D This is very helpful.

    Chrose: Wow! We were thinking that flying in to Anchorage might be a plan, and now you've pretty much convinced us. And I'd love to see your Giant veg guys garden :bounce: . But if I'm going to say hi for you, I, uh, think I need your name? You could PM me if you like. I've gone partway through your pictures and was hoping the Portage Glacier you show was on your list of things to see around Anchorage, so I'm quite jazzed about that. And a ferry ride or other relatively short boating excursions are OK. It's just that I have Meniere's disease which is an inner ear thing. I'm subject to severe bouts of vertigo (that come without warning). Motion sickness (which I am subject to) makes all that worse. So cruises are really not a happy thought for me. But short, calmish jaunts are fine. I'll have more questions for you about Anchorage, but I need to talk it over with David and compile them.

    Pete: Thank you too, though I don't know that we'll get to Valdez this trip. I didn't know so much was out there, so I guess that calls for another trip. But I take your point about taking time to stop and spend time with the locals. We've learned to do that when we travel to Europe, but, oddly enough, there's something so unusual and exotic-seeming about this trip that I can feel the temptation to run around too much come over me. :p I'll fight it.

    Mezz: David's conference has us visiting the UAF's Large Animal Research Station (that's in the Fairbanks section of the trip). Then at Denali we're scheduled to stay at the Denali Bluffs Hotel. One of the days we take a bus to Fish Creek which is 7 miles short of Eielson. I don't know what happens after that :eek: Probably there will be a choice of tours depending on people's abilities. Maybe. Don't know yet.

    To all: David will be busy the two days we're in Fairbanks and I won't have a car. Any suggestions for things I should/could do/see? He'll just have to be jealous. ;)

    Thank you all again for the help.
     
  6. nowiamone

    nowiamone

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    Saw your post a few days ago, but just didn't have time to reply. In the time you have before the conferance a visit to the Anchorage area and the Kenai Peninsula will fit nicely.

    In Anchorage I agree that Jens is a great evening, dinner is wonderful in the dining room, but you can have an enjoyable time setting at the wine bar visiting with who ever comes along. (You can eat there also) Go late, so you are still there at 9:00-10:00 o'clock. Everyone returning from a social event in Anchorage will stop for glass of wine on the way home, everyone talks to everyone. I actually miss Jens! It's a standard on my "must do" list during my trips in to Anchorage. Also try Marx Brothers, Kincaid Grill.

    Driving down to the peninsula will allow you to enjoy Turnagain Arm, with mountains on one side, Cook Inlet on the other, If it's a clear fall day, take the ski lift at Alyeska, you'll enjoy the view, it's breathtaking! The Double Musky in Girdwood (Mt. Alyeska's) is well known for a great pepper steak. There's a Wild Game Farm (drive by zoo) in same area (sounds like David maybe a bioligist?) that will insure you see most of Alaska's land animals. (Seward has a the Sealife Center for sea critters.) Girdwood is 50+/- miles out of Anchorage; 100 miles from Soldotna; 190 from Homer; to help you plan your travels.

    Princess Cruise has a lodge at Cooper Landing, small fireplace type stoves in each room. I've only been there on winter weekends, I can't tell you if non-cruise bookings are available. Cooper Landing is at head of Kenai River, in the mountains and roughly a 100 miles from Anchorage.

    I agree that Homer is day visit. Dinner in Homer? The Homestead on East End Road, Cafe Cups downtown on Pioneer for dinner or Halibut Cove is a nice Dinner trip, 30 minutes boat run a across the bay, I suggest the second seating for dinner, you can get a glass of wine and wander the board walk of the whole community and be back for dinner relaxed. Think it's a 3-4 hour adventure. Let me know if you need more info, and I'll tell you how to book. Walk the beach on the Homer spit and lunch at Land's End or a multitude of seasonal places.

    Are you fisherman? Great river day trips available in the Soldotna Area. Check out the son-in-law at longlivethekings.com They can also line you up with a cabin rental at the Kenai River (Soldotna) if you want to base your self here and do day trips over to Seward (1.25hrs drive); Homer (1.5 rs); Kenai (10 mins. couple of hours will see all) You can do some day hikes in the area also. Do you like razor clams? They are great in September, (60 clam limit per person) if you do, check the Tide book and send me a private message; I'll tell you where to go and loan you some shovels and a bucket. Restaurants in Soldotna are slim, Mykels, a new place The Cabin Restaurant, but not sure what the are pulling together and us, The Wild King Grill, 5 miles south, out in an old roadhouse/bar called the J-Bar-B. But I'm a novice. And the Riverside... great river view, but food changes all the time. Burger and Brew for lunch at The Tides on the river, very local thing to do.

    I suggest you get a MILEPOST, it's a travel guide of the Alaska Highways, mile by mile. You can plan your stops, keep it with you and find info about trailheads, creeks, beaches, landmarks, etc. Enjoy yourself.
     
  7. chrose

    chrose

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    Nicely done! :D
     
  8. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Mezz--David's conference meetings will keep him busy for one whole day in Fairbanks, so I was wondering about that riverboat cruise. It does sound a little cheesy on paper, but the chance to meet Susan Butcher or her husband and their dogs is catching my eye. If I only have a day for Fairbanks, would you recommend this?
    Anyone else can chime in too! :D
    The day before, we'll be going to UAF's Large Animal Research Station.