Alaska at a Glance, Part 1
Our guest post and monthly column comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association’s annual international writing contest.
Alaska at a Glance – Summer is almost here and that means tourist season in Alaska. Whether traveling to our 49th. state by plane, car, ferry, train or cruise ship, here’s a quick look at some interesting destinations. More to come at the next post.
Anchorage – A must is the six-hour Alaska Railroad trip to their newest whistle stop, Grandview. The train meanders through alpine meadows and offers stunning views of the Trail, Bartlett and Spencer Glaciers. There are photo ops galore along one of the most scenic areas of the railbelt. The 1.5 hour return trip via motorcoach parallels the Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway. Sunset is at approximately 10 PM during the summer in Alaska so, after you arrive back to town, there is time to explore nearby shopping, attractions, dining, etc. For further information logon to www.alaskarailroad.com.
Homer – The best way to see this picturesque town is by taking the Hop-On, Hop-Off Trolley. Its route includes stops at the Pratt Museum, Islands & Ocean Visitor’s Center, downtown, Old Town, Farmers Market (Wed. & Sat.), Homer Spit, gift shops, restaurants and a bald eagle’s nest. The Two Sisters restaurant, a local favorite, is worth a visit.
Icy Strait Point/Hoonah – Go on the ATV and ZipRider Adventure tour and hold on to your hat. Off-roading trails lead to a short hike to the world’s 2nd. longest zip line. It is breathtaking; starting with a 1,300 foot vertical drop and then plunging a total of 5,330 feet. Speeds hit 60+ mph during this heart-pounding thrill ride. The aptly named Landing Zone Bar and Grill is located where the zip-line ends. The Icy Strait Point Company Store is a combination museum and gift shop; restaurants and shops are nearby. Take time to walk the Beach Trail Promenade.
Juneau – For an unforgettable outing, sign up with Above & Beyond Alaska, and kayak to the base of majestic Mendenhall Glacier. It is truly a remarkable experience. After that, head to the Mt. Roberts Tramway . Perched 1,800 feet above the city there is a nature center, restaurant, gift shop and hiking trails. After coming down the mountain, take time for nearby shopping and site seeing.
Ketchikan – Although cold weather is to be expected, here’s a contra-intuitive suggestion: go diving. Snorkel Alaska, specializes in helping visitors take the plunge to get a look at the island’s kelp beds, tide pools and marine life, including starfish, jellyfish and sea cucumbers; all this as bald eagles circle lazily overhead. Back in town, grab the free shuttle that stops at the SE Alaska Discovery Center, Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center, infamous Creek Street and the Totem Heritage Museum. For fishermen this town claims to be the “Salmon Capitol of the World.”
Safe travels and enjoy the journey…
Thanks to the various websites for information, etc.