One April Week in Alaska

Old Apr 28th, 2019, 12:03 PM
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One April Week in Alaska

My husband and I just spent one week in Alaska in April, before the "tourist season." There are definitely pros and cons to this timing. Pros no crowds and the chance to meet people in a less frenetic atmosphere. Cons, many sights and attractions are not open. I'll just do a quick run down with mostly links.

We flew Air Alaska from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Ketchikan. Booked June's Place through Air Bnb. It's part of the Creek Street Inn so check in etc is done through them. Very comfortable and a lovely stay. They picked us up at the airport. The apartment is right downtown at the start of "Creek Street." A very comfortable apartment which is just as pictured. The staff were just across the creek if we needed them. We were too early to get a ride from staff to the Ferry Terminal so caught a taxi.

Because we didn't rent a car we each bought a two dollar day bus pass for our sight seeing. First a walk through the rainforest to view the collection of totem poles at the Bight State Historic Park.
Totem Bight SHP

From there back on the bus all the way across town to the Saxman Clan House. It was closed but we did see the Totem Poles there as well. Because of the bus route we saw quite a bit of Ketchikan other than the shoreline.
Saxman Village Totem Park | Authentic replicas of original poles

We had breakfast and dinner at the New York Cafe which is right next door to the apartment. Can't recommend this enough. The breakfast was big and tasty. Our dinner meals were over the top good. My husband had scallops and I had a Rose Harissa cod that was to die for. Very nice staff and I assume owner.

Made a purchase at the Stony Moose... just because we could. Very busy as it was 4/20.

Then it was all aboard the Columbia for our overnight ferry trip to Skagway. We left Ketchikan at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday arriving 12:45 p.m. on Monday in Skagway. This is not a cruise ship. BUT, it does offer cabins or chairs. You can even camp out on the observation decks. We had a cabin with four bunks (no climbing) and a table. We came across some weather leaving Ketchikan and there were seasick bags put to use by other travelers. Luckily this didn't last. Mostly we just sat at the front of the observation lounge and looked for sea creatures. Saw seals, dall porpoises, sea otters and many sea birds. If you get a chance this is the best "uncruise" you can get. Nice big breakfast in the dining room that added to our picnic lunch in the cabin. Then had soup and sandwich from the snack bar.

Karl the proprietor of the Historic Skagway Inn picked us up from the Ferry. This former "brothel" is a lovely little old hotel. Not all rooms have toilets or showers. The rooms are just as they appear in the photos. Karl and his wife were both very hospitable. The breakfasts were good. We missed out on eating at the restaurant because it wasn't yet open for the season but the menu looks fabulous.

On our full day in Skagway we were fortunate to have Sherry agree to start her tour season early. While it was supposed to blizzard that day by 10 am the sun was shining higher up on the mountain tops so we hopped in the van and went to the top of White Pass and then turned around and toured at sea level the Dyea peninsula and Taiya river. If you look at her Facebook page you'll see us standing before the "Welcome to Alaska" sign that is still boarded up for the winter. Sherry was just delightful and a very enthusiastic Skagway proponent. Can't recommend her highly enough.

Meals in Skagway included great salads at the Skagway Brewery. My husband liked the spruce tip beer. Had a sandwich then the next day coffees and desserts at Bites on Broadway. Both really good food and drink. Also a stop at the Remedy Shoppe just because we could.

From there were caught a Alaska Seaplanes flight to Juneau. As we were the only passengers we considered this our "private plane" to Juneau. Great views and quick flight at a fair price.

We were scheduled to stay in the Best Western near the airport. But on arrival we were upgraded to their "sister property" Grandma's Feather Bed just down the road. They shared downtown and airport shuttle services. Again this was great because we didn't rent a car and it saved on taxi fare.
Best Western Grandma's Feather Bed - Juneau, Alaska - Lodging & Accomodations: Best Western Juneau

We did need a cab to view the Mendenhall Glacier. Again, the visitor center was closed but we still got to see it and get some photos. Our driver from Glacier Tours was quick and fun. She even was our papparazzi.
Glacier Taxi Sightseeing & Tours

Lastly in Juneau we ate at the Hangar on the Wharf. The crab was two giant legs so one returned the hotel to be lunch and an addition to our seafood pastas from the hotel restaurant. Then again one last stop at the Rainforest Farms just because we could.
Menu ? Rainforest Farms

I have to say I was much more blown away by the part of Alaska we visited than I anticipated. I think it is because the mountains shoot straight up from the sea and are so immediate and present. One looks up to the top to see the weather develop. In one day it rained, blew, snowed and then became sunny and calm. Mostly it rained but it was still beautiful. People were very friendly and many just started talking to us. Maybe because my husband wore his U of Minnesota sweatshirt but we had many conversations. I don't know that that happens here that often for our tourists.

Hope you enjoy the report. I'll answer any questions you may have.

Danna is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2019, 12:06 PM
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Missed Something

I knew I'd forget something. We also viewed the Sealaska exhibiit of Nathan Jackson's Retrospective. It was great.
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Old Apr 28th, 2019, 06:18 PM
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That sounds like a fantastic way to. visit the southern coast of Alaska. Thanks for posting.
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Old Apr 28th, 2019, 10:49 PM
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Great report. Thanks!
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