Tips Where Do You Get Off Disembarking from the Cruise Ships

Cruise-ship passengers disembark in Juneau's attractive Marine Park waterfront area, where a kiosk dispenses information and tour operators sell their services. Downtown shops and attractions are close by. Among the most popular sights is one right at the dock, the statue of a small dog facing the ships as they come in. This is Patsy Ann, a bull terrier that, in the 1930s, always seemed to know when a steamer was arriving and faithfully stationed herself on the dock to meet the disembarking...

Fairbanks Alaska Heartland

Fairbanks City Limits Map

If the story of the founding of Fairbanks had happened anywhere else, it wouldn't be told so proudly, for the city's father was a swindler, and its undignified birth contained an element of chance not usually admitted in polite society. As the popular story goes (and the historians' version is fairly close), it seems that in 1901, E. T. Barnette decided to get rich by starting a gold-mining boomtown like the others that had sprouted from Dawson City to Nome as the stampeders of 1898 sloshed...

Big Ship Or Small

Now imagine your pet pug dog, Sparky. That's about the size difference between your options in the Alaska market behemoth modern ships and small, more exploratory coastal vessels. BIG SHIPS The big ships in the Alaska market fall generally into two categories midsize ships and megaships. Carrying as many as 2,670 passengers, the megaships look and feel like floating resorts. Big on glitz, they offer loads of activities, attract many families and (especially in Alaska)...

Moments Onlyin Alaska Events

By the end of the winter, sports in Alaska can get extreme. The Tesoro Arctic Man Ski & Sno-Go Classic (& 907 456-2626 www.arcticman. com) sounds insane just in the description a skier goes straight down a steep 1,700-foot slope, then grabs a rope to be pulled up the next slope by a snow machine going as fast as 88 mph, then skis down the next, 1,200-foot slope. Thousands of spectators build a hard-partying city of RVs and snow machines in the remote, treeless hills of the Alaska Range...

First to the Top of Mount McKinley

That's why climbers risk their lives on Mount McKinley. You can see the mountain from Anchorage, more than 100 miles away. On a flight across Alaska, McKinley stands out grandly over waves of other mountains. It's more than a mile taller than the tallest peak in the other 49 states. It's a great white triangle, always covered in snow, tall but also massive and strong. The first group to try to climb Mount McKinley came in 1903, led by Judge James Wickersham, who also helped...

Downtown Juneau Walking Tour

7 The Wickersham House State Historic Site 9 Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 12 The Last Chance Mining Museum 7 The Wickersham House State Historic Site 9 Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 12 The Last Chance Mining Museum right on Goldbelt Street, climbing past some beautiful houses to 7th, then picking up the tour at the Wick-ersham House. Continuing down Calhoun, you'll come to Juneau's founders made their gold strike in this stream in 1880. Trace it upstream through peaceful Cope Park, past the...

Whats New in Alaska

Here are the latest happenings in Alaska, region by region. PLANNING YOUR TRIP For more planning information, see chapters 2 and 3. Prices and crowding are down at Alaska's visitor destinations. A lack of customers always drives bargains, and it has been easy to save money for the last two years. In 2003, even the published rack rates started coming down at some establishments and were stable at most others after years of routine hikes. At Denali National Park, visitation was strikingly down,...

Value For Coupon Clippers

A coupon book called The Great Alaskan Tour Saver (& 907 278-7600 www.toursaver.com), which costs 100, is well worth the price if you plan on traveling as a couple, especially in the Southcentral region. Among more than 100 coupons, there are some freebies and many two-for-one deals on some of the best activities and tours. The savings are valuable enough to pay for the book with just a couple of uses. enough research so you can actively participate in the planning. Here I've gathered the...

Fnds Three Exceptional Downtown BBs

These houses and the warm and hospitable people who live there offer some of the most authentic and comfortable lodging in Alaska. G Street House (& 888 435-3873 or 907 276-3284), is an elegant home within easy walking distance of downtown Anchorage's sights. The classy rooms go for only 95 for a double with a private bath. The hosts are energetic and interesting he's on the city assembly and she's an expert on local history and a community volunteer. Earth Bed and Breakfast, just a block...

Essentials

GETTING THERE The Alaska Marine Highway System, 1591 Glacier Ave., Juneau, AK 99801-1427 (& 800 642-0066, or 907 766-2111 locally www.ferryalaska.com), is how most people get to Haines, and the cruise on the Lynn Canal fjord from Juneau or Skagway is among the most beautiful in the Inside Passage. The fare is 27 from Juneau and 21 from Skagway. The dock is 5 miles north of town. Unfortunately, since this is the northern highway connection where nearly all vehicles get off or on, there are...

Getting Outside On Wrangell Island

Wrangell Island's network of gravel roads, maintained by the Forest Service, lead to places of awesome beauty rarely visited by non-Alaskans. There are a few day-hike trails, some lovely campsites, and paths to remote cabins and fishing lakes you can have to yourself. There are also a couple of calm and scenic places to start a kayak paddle. There's only one way out of town south on the Zimovia Highway along narrow Zimovia Strait. The Forest Service map (see Visitor Information, above) is...

Glohmer Pobox.aptalaska.net

Bumbershoot Bed amp Breakfast tff Finds The industrious Gloria Ohmer, who also owns the Tides Inn Motel see below , has opened her extraordinary waterfront home on Frederick Sound to guests as well. The rooms are large, decorated with quilts she made. Gloria and her husband, Don Koenigs, will also share their beadwork, woodwork, sewing, stained glass, stone cutting and engraving, music room, fish-cleaning room, and deck barbecue with you. It's hard to come away without gaining a little of their...

Where To Dine

Besides the more formal restaurants detailed below, Desserts First Bakery, in a brick building painted blue at 412 5th Ave. amp 907 451-5537 , serves breakfast and lunch in a relaxed setting that's reminiscent of an eatery in Seattle a far cry from the diners and greasy spoon places common in Fairbanks. We were pleased with a feta, spinach and bacon omelet for 7 sandwiches and salads are 7 to 9. Gambardella 's Italian Cafe ITALIAN This warm, charming restaurant is right in the center of things....

Wilderness Lodges

These four lodges are all based across Kachemak Bay from Homer, each in its own remote cove or bay, and each in its own market niche, from family-friendly lodgings to luxurious accommodations. It's wise to reserve rooms at any of these places months in advance the preceding winter isn't too soon . I've also listed various remote cabin rentals in Kachemak Bay State Park p. 294 , and rented by Jakolof Bay Ferry and True North Kayak Adventures p. 296 , and in the next section, on Halibut Cove....

Hiking Mountain Biking Backpacking

Alaska's best long trails lead through the mountain passes of Chugach National Forest, including historic gold rush trails and portions of the original Iditarod trail the race doesn't use these southern portions . The Forest Service maintains public cabins on many of these trails, and in other remote spots reachable only with a boat or small plane. If the nights you need are available, you can use the cabins instead of a tent on a backpacking trip. Or make a cabin your destination and spend a...