We learned that there are some 800 year 'round residents here, mostly tied in some fashion to the tourism trade in the community. While you might not think that they have much in the winter, this is sled dog mushing country so I'm sure there are some businesses that stay open year round. Many however, do not. The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, as an example, will close for the season after September 17th . . . reopening next spring.
The Talkeetna Spur Road is about 16 miles from Parks Highway, and pretty much dead ends in town on Main Street. Throughout the town there are small businesses including gift shops, restaurants, B&B's and the Talkeetna Roadhouse. The Roadhouse offers old roadhouse style shared accommodations (shared bathrooms, not sleeping quarters) and probably the best known breakfast in these parts.
Many of my Alaska travel friends said we had to make a trip to the Roadhouse for their monster sized cinnamon buns. Unfortunately, driving the beast through the area was about all we could do and parking for a vehicle that size was nonexistent. Therefore, the experience will be saved for another day.
While there are bears in the area (mostly black bear I believe), moose rule the town. There is even a gift shop specializing on moose related items. If you happen to be in the area in mid July during the Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival, you should try to make a swing through town. People throw moose "nuggets" (poop) to see who can wing them the farthest. Sounds like good clean fun, worthy of Mike Rowe of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs!
While in Talkeetna, there isn't an Alaskan adventure you cannot take in. If your interests are on the water, there are scenic tours and kayaking available. If you want to explore the area on land, take a hike or check out their ATV tours or perhaps a sled dog mushing experience. Of course, flightseeing is a main attraction here out of Talkeetna given the close proximity to Denali National Park and Mt. Denali (aka Mt. McKinley). It is also from here that all climbers venturing to climb the big mountain fly out.
While in town, you can also check out a couple of museums and one of the Denali National Park's ranger stations as well as a small storefront location that provides information on the history of climbing Mt. Denali. Guests can even participate in a type of "game" where they are the climbers, facing the same types of perils and exhilaration of making the summit. Of course, some don't make it . . . and even die trying. This year there were approximately 1,200 climbers to attempt it, with roughly half succeeding and four died trying.
Talkeetna is the sorta place where I think some people can come and spend a week, while others may only view it as a stopping point between the interior to the north and the more urban areas in and around Anchorage or points further south like the Kenai.
We enjoyed our time taking in the Mahay's Riverboat Services' Three Rivers Tour and K2's Grand Denali Tour, featuring a glacier landing. We didn't see any moose or bear, but Mt. Denali did make a brief appearance the morning of our departure for about 20 minutes.
All in all . . . a nice time was had!