Travelling in Alaska – A Local Guide to Food, Drinks, and Adventures
Despite being a common cruise destination, Alaska boasts stunning views and amazing opportunities for travelers willing to forgo the planned routes and take their stay into their own hands. Here are some recommendations to get you started, and provide a taste of what it is like to travel through the last frontier.
Flying into Anchorage- from wherever you are coming- will be full of beautiful views and at least one larger than average man with a beard sitting beside you. The key is to focus on the views.
Although Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska- half of its citizens live there- it does a decent enough job of maintaining the scenery that one would expect in the state, the mountain views. With a strict building height limit, a stunning view will never be out of sight. Whether walking out of a restaurant with your mother-in-law, or stumbling home at 1am in the summer light, a mountain will be there to watch you make a fool of yourself.
Speaking of stumbling, one thing Anchorage does well is their beer. Local brewery Broken Tooth Brewing Company does a great job of helping locals and tourists alike fall asleep without trouble in the summer light, or drown their depression in the dark winters. With affiliated restaurants Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria and Bear Tooth Grill acting as local hangouts for those craving great beer and good food, there is no shortage of creative or traditional options. Both restaurants will be full of tattooed college students from one of the two universities within the city’s limits, as well as the young nature-crazed hippies with long hair and shaggy beards that say “shred” and “powder” more than a normal person should. Some will be carrying growlers in each hand as they hurry from the bar to some other place most likely heated by a fire and filled with marijuana smoke.
Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria does a great job of serving surprising dishes alongside those that are more traditional. Try the Thai chicken pizza; Covered in roasted chicken, red peppers, bean sprouts, thinly sliced carrots, and peanut sauce, the meal will leave you satisfied and surprised. Wash it down with the Broken Tooth Pipeline Stout and Polar Pale Ale. Both do their jobs.
Bear Tooth Grill is more of the same with the addition of a “theatrepub” connected to it. For the grill, enjoy typical Americana food including fresh local seafood- note that the salmon won’t be fresh until at least the beginning of May when fishing begins for the year. If it’s a show and more beer you crave, walk over to the connected Bear Tooth Theatrepub. Here you can catch live shows or movies with the convenience of food and a Northern Lights Amber in your hand. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
When it comes down to it, if you fly all the way to Alaska, only a fool would spend all their time in Anchorage. About a 120 miles southeast you will find the town of Seward. With about 3,000 residents year round, and just about double that in the summer, you will find the Alaska that you expected. Seward’s location near the mountains and water provides no shortage of outdoor activities. Located right on Resurrection Bay, the views of the mountains pushed directly up against the otter infested waters give a sight that can’t be beaten. With boats leaving and entering all throughout the day, a trip down Resurrection Bay and even into the Gulf of Alaska can be arranged without a problem. If you would prefer to stay on dry land, Exit Glacier is a short distance from the city center. With a few hiking trails ranging in elevation and difficulty, stunning glacier views and an abundance of moose shit is a given. If it’s caffeine you crave before a long hike, check out Resurrect Art Coffee House for a good cup of coffee in a quirky and warm environment on a most likely cold day.
About 100 miles west of Seward, on the other side of Kenai Peninsula, you will find the city of Kenai. There is not much going on in Kenai apart from moose sightings and mountain views in the distance. So basically it isn’t anything too special compared to other parts of the state- you will be spoiled with phenomenal views. If you are here and find yourself hungry, make your way to Veronica’s Café where you can enjoy some reindeer sausage stew with the best corn bread you will ever have- that is not an exaggeration. So after eating Rudolph, take a small detour down a dirt road on your way to Kassik’s Brewery to wash away your guilt. Enter a small tasting room with beers on tap such as Morning Wood IPA and Moose Point Porter, the beers themselves do a good job of living up to their names.
On your way back to Anchorage make sure to take in the views that flood Seward Highway in all directions. One thing you will notice while in Alaska is that you will always have a mountain in sight no matter where you are, that is something that won’t get old. Try to snap some more photos that will do no justice to the beauty of the state before boarding your red eye home. If you stay around Anchorage and the cities south of it, you will probably miss the northern lights. Stay awake for at least the first hour of your flight to try to catch a view of them from the air. Close your eyes, and try to ignore the larger than average man with a beard snoring beside you.
By Jake Kelly
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