Anchorage Journals

The Seward Highway, America's Most Scenic Byway

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An August 2004 trip to Anchorage by ssullivan

Titos Gyros Photo, Anchorage, Alaska More Photos
Quote: The first day of my week in Alaska was spent traveling the entire Seward Highway, from Anchorage to Seward, and back. This is one of the most scenic drives in all of the US, with countless incredible views of mountains, glaciers, water, and wildlife.

Homewood Suites Anchorage

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Hotel | "Homewood Suites by Hilton Anchorage"

Homewood Suites Anchorage Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
I mainly chose the Homewood Suites because I was wanting to use some of my Hilton HHonors points to pay for my accommodations the two nights I would be staying in Anchorage. The hotel is like any other Homewood Suites. All rooms are in a one or two bedroom configuration, with a full kitchen, living room with sofa bed, and bedroom. I was booked into a one bedroom suite. This location opened in spring 2004. The hotel is basically the standard Homewood Suites layout, with a few modifications. For one, the lobby has been re-designated as the "lodge" at this location and features lots of craftsman style furniture, a large stone fireplace, stained glass lamps and chandeliers, and stuffed bears an...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 17, 2004

Homewood Suites Anchorage
140 WEST TUDOR RD
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
907 762-7000

Tito's Gyros

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Restaurant | "Tito's Discovery Cafe"

Tito's Gyros Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
Tito's is considered to be one of the better restaurants in Hope, not that there are that many choices. Still, this simple diner serves up very good burgers, sandwiches, and a variety of other down-home favorites. All of the soups, chili, and pies are homemade daily. The restaurant is a true landmark in Hope, and one of this friendly little town's favorite gathering places. Discovery Cafe is so well loved by the area residents that after a fire completely destroyed the uninsured restaurant on January 31, 1999, residents donated their time, money, and building skills to rebuild the place from the ground up, allowing it to reopen a couple of years later. I stopped in at Tito's for lunch and f...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 12, 2004

Tito's Gyros
411 West Fourth Ave
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
+1 907 279 9322

Summit Lake Lodge

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Restaurant

Summit Lake Lodge Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
Summit Lake Lodge is the only business along the Seward Highway between Portage and Moose Pass. This roadhouse is set on the banks of scenic Summit Lake and surrounded by mountains. In addition to the restaurant, the lodge offers six guestrooms, available for about $80 per night, a bar, and a gift shop with an espresso bar and ice cream. I stopped at Summit Lake Lodge for dinner on my way back to Anchorage. Service was friendly, although a little slow. The hostess was a little annoyed by my request for a larger water glass and said "we can only serve water in the small glasses" but did bring me a pitcher of water. Having just finished several hours of hiking, I was a little dry, and a small...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 17, 2004

Summit Lake Lodge
Seward Highway
Anchorage, Alaska
(907) 244-2031

Gwennie's Old Alaskan Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Gwennie's Old Alaska Restaurant"

Gwennie's Old Alaskan Restaurant Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
Gwennie's is something of an Anchorage institution, as it has been a part of the city just about as long as anyone can remember. Dining at Gwennie's can be quite a unique experience and that's part of why it's so popular. The decor, while dated, has everything from a waterfall that flows from the second floor dining room down to the first to a small pond with a bridge over it to stuffed animals. There's also the usual stuffed animals, and lots of interesting historic photographs. And on top of that the walls have an odd assortment of old mining tolls, dogsleds, and other Alaskan items. While somewhat "junky" and dimly lit, Gwennie's has a lot of charm that you just don't find in the big chain resta...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 17, 2004

Gwennie's Old Alaskan Restaurant
4333 Spenard Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
+1 907 243 2090

Hope & Sunrise Mining

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Attraction | "Hope-Sunrise Mining Museum"

Hope & Sunrise Mining Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
The single-room Hope-Sunrise Mining Museum houses a number of interesting artifacts and photographs from the days when these two communities were bustling little cities filled with prospectors hoping to strike it rich. Inside, a friendly docent is available to answer questions and man the tiny gift shop area. Be sure to check out the photograph with the gold miner showing off three very large gold nuggets, each weighing over 10 pounds. There's also a humorous photo of a black bear being used to pull a sled in the snow. Outside a small shed shelters a collection of historic mining equipment. Nearby are several log buildings dating from the gold rush days. This little museum is worth spending a few m...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 13, 2004

Hope & Sunrise Mining
2nd St
Anchorage, Alaska
(907) 782-3740

Ptarmigan Lake Trail

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Attraction

Ptarmigan Lake Trail Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
The beautiful Ptarmigan Lake Trail winds several miles along Ptarmigan Creek from the Ptarmigan Creek Recreation Area campground to Ptarmigan Creek. Most of the trail is very easy for even the most inexperienced hikers, although portions of the trail do climb a few hundred feet in elevation in several steep sections. Ptarmigan Creek is very beautiful, and even if you do not complete the full trail a walk along the forested first mile that parallels the creek is well worth it. During the late summer salmon run up this creek and you may see some if you visit at the right time. Due to time constraints, I did not make it the full distance to the lake (I turned back about 3/4-1 mile short of the lake), but...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 13, 2004

Ptarmigan Lake Trail
Chugach State Park
Anchorage, Alaska

Kenai Fjords National Park

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Attraction | "Kenai Fjords National Park & Exit Glacier"

Kenai Fjords National Park Photo, Seward, Alaska
Quote:
Exit Glacier is one of the easiest glaciers on the Kenai Peninsula to get close to, and has become a very popular destination. The glacier area is accessed by turning onto Exit Glacier Rd., which intersects the Seward Highway around mile 3, and following the road about nine miles until it ends at the park's fee booth and parking lot. There is a $5 per car entrance fee. A large parking lot will accommodate cars, RVs, and tour buses. Leading away from the parking lot is a trail to the glacier, which is about 1/2 mile away from the parking lot. The first half of the trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. Eventually the trail splits into lower and upper overlook trails. The upper trail steeply climb...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 17, 2004

Kenai Fjords National Park
Outside the Town of Seward
Seward, Alaska 99664
(907) 224-7500

Portage Glacier (Begich, Boggs Visitor Center)

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Attraction | "Portage Glacier"

Portage Glacier (Begich, Boggs Visitor Center) Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
Portage Glacier is the most visited glacier in Alaska because of its easy accessibility from Anchorage via the Seward Highway, and the scenic iceberg filled lake the glacier has left behind in its retreat. Unfortunately the glacier has retreated behind some rocks making it impossible to see from the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. However, the visitor center and surrounding decks provide great views of the lake and several nearby hanging glaciers clinging to the mountainsides. To really see Portage Glacier, the one that created the lake and is responsible for those icebergs, you will need to take one of the boat tours onto the lake, or continue down the Portage Glacier Rd. through a short tunnel towa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 18, 2004

Portage Glacier (Begich, Boggs Visitor Center)
Mile 5.5 Portage Glacier Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99587
(907) 743-9500

Earthquake Park

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Attraction

Earthquake Park Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
On Good Friday in March, 1964, Anchorage and much of the rest of south central Alaska was hit with a violent earthquake, measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale. In four minutes of shaking, the landscape was forever changed, as large portions of land sunk in elevation, and entire neighborhoods were destroyed in landslides. South of Anchorage, the coastal ports of Seward and Whittier were devastated by tsunamis that were caused by the earthquake. And in Anchorage, thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed as the ground beneath them collapsed. Earthquake Park was created years later in an area that was a subdivision before the quake. The park is designed to demonstrate the power of the eart...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 18, 2004

Earthquake Park
4306 West Northern Lights Blvd
Anchorage, Alaska 99517
Not applicable

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

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Attraction

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
In 1996, the American Hiking Society designated Anchorage as "Trail Town USA." The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (named after the former Alaska governor, current US Senator, and owner of the popular Downtown Deli) is part of the reason why. The trail is a very popular walking, running, and biking trail along the Cook Inlet coastline in Anchorage. The wide, paved, all-weather trail charts an eleven-mile course from downtown to Kincaid Park, passing several parks and the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport along the way. The entire walk is very scenic, with great views of the coastline, Anchorage skyline, forested areas, and open meadows. There are frequent moose sightings in several areas along...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 19, 2004

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
900 West Second Ave
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Not applicable

Hope, AK

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Story/Tip

Hope, AK Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
So you've flown into Anchorage, seen a few glaciers, eaten some halibut and salmon, and if the weather's clear and it's dark enough, maybe seen the Northern Lights. And maybe you've even seen some wildlife. But unless you've gotten off the main highways and away from the main tourist areas, chances are you have not yet seen a real Alaskan community. Fortunately I have good news. There is a great little village that you can easily get to in your rental car, and it's just over an hour's drive from Anchorage. That place is Hope, and old gold mining town located on the south side of Turnagain Arm and only 17 miles from the Seward Highway. So what makes Hope so special? Well to start, not...Read More

Close Encounters of the Bear Kind

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Story/Tip

Exit Glacier Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
One of the main reasons for visiting the Alaskan wilderness are the ample opportunities to see many different types of wildlife in their natural habitats. Before leaving for my trip, I had developed of a mental list of animals I'd hoped to see in the wild, and since I was planning a bus tour into Denali National Park, I thought I'd have a pretty good chance of seeing some bears, moose, and caribou. I also expected to see some wildlife during my journeys on the Alaska Railroad, especially in some of the very unpopulated areas the railroad serves. However, I never imagined my closest encounter with the wild animals of Alaska would happen in a relatively crowded place with lots of people around. ...Read More

Mileage Guide to the Seward Highway

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Story/Tip

The Seward Highway Photo, Anchorage, Alaska
Quote:
The following guide is a compilation from several sources of some of the most interesting and scenic points along the Seward Highway. All milepoints are from Seward, the south end of the highway. Mile markers along the highway are placed every mile, but sometimes hard to see. If traveling from Anchorage, you are starting at approximately mile 127 and mileposts will be decreasing as you travel south. As most travelers start in Anchorage, I have posted these points starting at the north end of the highway going south. Miles 127-79: The highway heads south through Potter Marsh, a wetlands area formed during the 1964 earthquake when the land in this area sank. This is a great area for bi...Read More