So, we recently made the long (sooo long) journey over to our 49th state to see what all the fuss was about. Long story short: the place is jam-packed with mountains, glaciers, moose, and a sun that just won’t quit! But if you have some time, here is what went down: As soon as we stepped off the plane at (a bright and sunny) 9PM, we were greeted by mountains… so many mountains! Having grown up around mountains, trust us when we say these mountains are a whole nother level. We were lucky enough to be visiting during the Summer Solstice, so the sun was shining anywhere from 18 to 21 hours a day. It never truly got dark while during our time there, only twilight, which made for some interesting sleeping patterns, but also an awesome time.
We started our journey in Anchorage, the largest and probably most visited city in the state. As much as we enjoyed our time in Anchorage, it was probably our least favorite city we visited while in Alaska. Now before you go off on all the ways we are wrong, hear us out! We liked Anchorage and all it has to offer, but Alaska just has so many amazing small towns and things to do. These are some of our personal favorites: Seward Seward is a great little sea town tucked up in the Kenai Peninsula, and it is hands down one of the most picturesque places on earth. While in town, we decided to go real tourist-y and take a glacier cruise. Side note: the great thing about Alaska is a large majority of all restaurants, hotels, stores, and tourist activities are all locally owned and operated, which we are all about because it helps support the local economy. The tour we picked explored Kenai Fjords National Park by boat. That trip was a great way to really get up close and personal with wildlife. We saw humpback whales, orcas, seals, puffins, and sea lions just to name a few! Exploring by boat was also perfect for getting the best views of the Aialik Glacier. Once we made it back to dry land, we took a walk down 4th Ave to shop and grab a bite to eat and were not disappointed. *Pro-tips from an unprofessional* Tip #1: When picking something like a tour, don’t be afraid to ask someone at the company about the tour guides. Ask questions like how long has the guide lived in __________? Or, which tour guides are from ________ originally? Trust us- having a guide from the area that is passionate about where they live can make for a better experience. Tip #2: You will see more adults vomiting in public on a boat tour that serves lunch on a choppy day than you will at Mardi Gras. Talkeetna With a population of just under 1,000, you can bet this is one heck of a small town. We can sum it up in two words: Cat Mayor. We know you are as hooked as we were when we first heard about Stubbs, Talkeetna’s CAT MAYOR.
He looks pretty old but who can blame him—he is running an entire town without opposable thumbs.
We learned while there that Stubbs is not actually the mayor, but that is more of an honorary title they give him, but who can say no to a CAT MAYOR? Talkeetna was so eclectic and fun. We visited on a day that could not have been more perfect. The weather was ideal, the town was bustling but not too busy, and we got to enjoy the flavor that this little gem of a town had to offer. Nagley’s store is the cornerstone of the city, and as we were told, is Stubbs’ home base. It was pretty tiny inside, and sold necessities like groceries and camping/fishing supplies. The Nagley family were some of the first residents in Talkeetna when it was first being established. The shops were a good mix of local and commercial, with variety from local artisans and crafters along with souvenier-y type products. The local economy is made up mostly of outdoor activities like camping, fishing, rafting, etc. We didn’t opt to do any of this stuff since we visited on our way to Denali National Park, but if we had the opportunity, this would definitely be a place we would want to visit again. Denali National Park
Home to the highest mountain in North America, and spreading a little over 6 million acres, Denali is bucket list material. I think we will sit back and let the pictures do all of the talking with this one.