A ski resort, summer vacation spot, and home to an eclectic collection of locals, the town of Girdwood sits in a deep valley and is surrounded by tall mountains on three sides and, on the fourth, Turnagain Arm, one of the most photogenic sites in South Central Alaska. Originally called Glacier City (a name we're rather fond of), Girdwood got its start as a gold-mining town. The town was
renamed for James Girdwood, an Irish linen merchant who had four gold claims. But the name wasn't the only thing that changed over the years; the town itself was moved 2½ miles from its original site after the 1964 earthquake.
Today Girdwood's main attraction is the Mt. Alyeska Ski Resort, the largest ski area in Alaska. Besides enjoying the obvious winter attractions, you can hike up the mountain, rent a bike, or visit several restaurants (our favorite is Seven Glaciers) and gift shops. Girdwood is wetter than Anchorage; it often rains or snows here while the sun shines to the north.