Questions about Anchorage

Old Jul 30th, 2007, 06:28 AM
  #1  
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Questions about Anchorage

Hi Folks,

We're planning a 4-5 day trip to Anchorage on October 18th for my 40th birthday, and I have a few questions.

1) What will the weather be like?

2) Can't-Miss things to do?

3) Restaurants/Bars? We LOVE quirky dive bars

4) Do-able day trips from Anchorage (maybe spending one night away)

Thanks in advance! I've always wanted to visit Alaska and am very excited!!!

Elizabeth
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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It was always a private bet to see if there would be snow on the ground on our son's birthday (born in Anc. on Oct. 21.)

1. So that should answer your question about weather. Unasked, but a follow-up answer is that the days will be getting pretty short, long shadows and sun angles, so can be some excellent photography.

2. Snow or no, get a car and drive down the Seward Highway to Girdwood and enjoy the scenery.

3. Generation thing. Coots, Polar Bar, Darwin's Theory... No shortage of places. In 2/4, Double Musky in Girdwood.

4. See No. 2, also Eklutna cemetery, train to Seward, flightseeing if Lake Hood isn't frozen.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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We just got back from our first trip to Alaska a couple of weeks ago. The drive to Seward is awesome, but the train is even better. You can get off the train in Girdwood. Alyeska Resort is nice. Take the tram up and dine 7 Glaciers Restaurant or for lunch at the Cafeteria. The cafeteria actually had very good food. If you can work in a dog sled ride DO IT. expensive but very unique. Maybe do a floatplane trip to fish or see bears. I am not sure what fishing would be in October. You might consider Kayaking in Resurection Bay at Seward. Take the bus to Seward, spend the day there and then spend the night @ Seward. Spend the next day at Seward and ride the train back to Anchorage that Evening. While in Seward, Kayak, and do Kenai Fjords with Renown Tours. You could catch Alyeska on your way to Seward.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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Thanks!

Re: train trip to Seward...is this a day trip or should we sleep over?
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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You can take the train round trip or bus one way and train one way. We rented a car and left it in Seward and then Train one way back to Anchorage. Hertz is the only car rental in Seward. The train leaves early from Anchorage and arrives Seward just in time to catch one of the Cruises to Kenai Fjords. I would suggest Renown Tours Catemeran tour. It is the fastest and smoothest. They get you back in time to catch train back to Anchorage. You can do this all in one day, but it would be about an 18 hour day. I would suggest spending the night in Seward. You could see the Sealife Center, or do some Kayaking. Make sure that the Kenai tour you do goes to a Glacier. Do not do one that simply does only Resurection Bay. There are several other tour companies, but Renown has best tour in my opinion. Other tours appear to have better food however. Renown just gives you a smoked salmon sandwich. It was good but pretty simple. I think the train leaves about 7:00 AM in Anchorage arrives in Seward about 11:00 Am. It leaves Seward around 6:00PM and then arrives back in Anchorage around 10:00PM. This allows only about 30 minutes to connect from train to ship and then ship back to train. It is all very close to each other. You could also take a hike to Exit Glacier. Do not go with just 2 people, walk with people that show up. I would invest in Bear peper spray. We nearly hit a bear in our car. We saw bears on several occasions. We didn't really expect that and we were very freaked out. This was a highly used trail and ranger signs said "Bears with cubs" "Multiple sightings on all trails". I can't begin to tell you how good the train ride was. Dine in the dinning car as well. You will see Wildlife, waterfalls, etc while on the train. Bald Eagles in pairs are everywhere. Dall Sheep also. We did dogsled in Girdwood, but there is one in Seward also. You Helicopter to a snow covered huge Glacier and get to ride on sled with the dogs. At Seward you can even spend the night on the Glacier with the dogs. At Girdwood the dogs really barked when excited, so I am not sure if I could sleep with 60 dogs barking and total sun off a cold glacier.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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I misspoke. The Seward train doesn't run past Sept. 23. Thus you'd have to drive to Seward. The road over Turnagain Pass might or might not have snow; it's a lovely drive but I probably wouldn't do it as a day trip. Weather in Seward can be quite different from Anchorage, so a play-by-ear decision.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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thanks so much. I had seen that the trains stop running in September. We're going to hope for clear enough weather to make the drive. It looks absolutely gorgeous.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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Take Gardyloo's recs to the bank.

Stop by Darwin's, where Indigo Girl Amy Ray wrote the song Cut it Out. Ask for the "Duck" drink ...

Chilkoot's is worth a stop. Motto: "We screw the other guy and pass the savings onto you."

Also Double Musky is a great spot for a birthday dinner. Also, Club Paris has great steaks in a '50s kitsch setting.

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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 11:09 PM
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October is usually cold but who knows! My birthday is the 22nd and we almost always have had our first snowfall. There are lots of quirky dive bars, no specific recommendations. Don't like Chilkoots but that's just my opinion - it is an "Alaskan tradition". There are several interesting places downtown. Humpy's is a fun little food/pub type atmosphere. I think the Birdhouse burned down outside of Anchorage, that was quirky! Day trips - Girdwood/Alyeska, Eklutna, and depending upon weather/road conditions you could maybe go further in one day. Have a great time! It's off season so most of the tourisy things are done. Enjoy!
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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You might try going up to Talkeetna for an overnight, then maybe going north a little farther for some great views of Denali. With most Denali expeditions based there, the entire town of Talkeetna is quirky- they have the bumper sticker "Talkeetna: a quaint little drinking town with a climbing problem." Its a really fun place to go spend a day or two, but too small for much more than that. (Rent a car for that, its about a 2 hour drive north of Anchorage.)

Gardyloo mentioned Lake Hood- the flightseeing trips off of it are great. Even if it is frozen, some companies still run prop planes off the runway there. I know Rust's Flying Service is open year round, and their glacier tours are incredible (thank you friend that worked there last summer and got employee discounts ).

Weather will be chilly. Probably not snow (recent years snow has been coming pretty late), but definitely frozen ground and cold nights. Bring a rain coat and layers.

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