A visit to Anchorage
I have a tendency to make fun of people that live in Anchorage and think they are living the wild and wooly Alaska lifestyle. IMHO, there is very little about Anchorage that is Alaskan. It was at one time, but the population growth brought on by the Alaska Oil Pipeline construction and the large military build up at the near by bases, changed all that. Anchorage of today, is just a smaller version of Seattle, with an Alaska zip code at the post office. Same style homes, same coffee kiosks on the corners, people going to work in a suit and tie, same type of vehicles used and the list goes on. Little more challenge to living in Anchorage than most other places in the Pacific NW. Something breaks, you pick up your cell phone and call someone to come fix it. In rural and bush Alaska, when something breaks, if you and your neighbors can’t fix it, it stays broken. Just a major difference in lifestyle. This is a good re-supply place as anything needed, is usually available. All the big box stores are in Anchorage, places to get your fast foods fixes, vehicles maintained, etc.
For the other "must see" place, I am conjuring on the matter mightily, as they say down south. There are a number of rivals for the vaulted #2 position. One that comes to mind is the Fly by Night Club mentioned in the article. However, Mr. Whitekeys has closed the business so it no longer is there to entertain and enlighten the masses. (now he writes for the Alaska Magazine) An evening stroll, down the romantic street of 4th Avenue, visiting the local bistros, soaking up the ambiance of the city.
#2.1 on my list would be watching the float planes land and take off on Lake Hood in the evening. Stop by one of the Artic Roadrunner places and grab one of the best burgers to be found anywhere to go, with some fries and a soda, pull up a lawn chair at the waters edge, listen to the road of the engines, especially the round ones, breath in the avgas exhaust fumes in the air. Just doesn’t get much better.
I have several #2s that are interchangeable depending on weather, time available, mood, etc. Here are my #2s for Anchorage.:
#2.2 – drive out to the west end of the east/west main runway at International airport and set under the flight path of the “heavies” coming in from all over the world. Take a picnic here also. There used to be homes in the area but in the late 70s or early 80 the FAA bought them and tore them down.
#2.3 Merrill Field on a busy day.
#2.4 Alaska Native Cultural Center – great half day
#2.5 Earthquake Park, somewhat overgrown and hard to see but the memories, it brings back to me, of 1964, Good Friday, are still there.
#2.6 Pig out at one of the Artic Roadrunner Burger joints.
#2.7 Try one of the steaks at the Club Paris, downtown. I seldom eat beef anymore but these are among the best available.
#2.8 Drive south to Potter’s Marsh to bird watch. Of course it is too bad, it is so close to the highway headed for the Kenai, traffic, noise, trucks, etc.
#2.9 Dinner at either Josephine’s at the Sheraton Hotel or the Crow’s Nest at the Capt. Cook., Simons is also excellent, somewhat more casual.
#2.10 My wife and daughters would insist that a visit to Nordstrom’s would be at the top of their lists. Our bank account sure misses the days when the three of them had a Nordstrom’s Personal Shopper person assigned to their fashion needs.
#2.11 Perhaps at the top of my list should have been for # 1 or #2 would be getting on a Jet and head for Fairbanks. LOL