September 1, 2016
We had some time after checking into our hotel to walk around that part of town. That evening we were scheduled for dinner at the Alaska Salmon Bake, followed by a show in a nearby theater, an excursion I had booked before the cruise. (Note: All pictures at the Salmon Bake, the environs, and the theater were taken by my husband, Dale Berman.)
A rattly green school bus arrived at the hotel to take us to the Alaska Salmon Bake. Only a few people boarded the bus. The bus driver drove her mostly empty bus to a large park.
There was an area that had a lot of rusting equipment.
The park was pretty, though, and although it was past 8 pm, the sun was still shining.
It’s a good thing we were having nice weather – the buffet area was outside, and from there we had the option to sit inside a warm dining hall or on a picnic table outside. We chose inside, as the day was cooling off fast.
Dale was relieved there were other choices besides salmon – he was getting a little sick of it! We were in luck – they had Bear Creek wine, which we had discovered our last night in Denali! It was sweet and smooth, and can ONLY be found in Alaska.
The theater where the show was to be was only a short walk away; however, the rattly school bus did arrive on time to take anyone to the show who didn’t want to or couldn’t walk.
We passed a stadium decorated with native designs.
We arrived at a tourist trap “town” made up to resemble early 20th century frontier towns.
This is where we found the Palace Theatre and Saloon.
The show was a revue entitled “Alaska, The Last Frontier.” No photography was allowed once the show started.
September 2, 2016
Our luggage was picked up outside our hotel rooms early in the morning. We took our carry-ons downstairs to store until it was time to go to the airport. There was a long line to check flights, but it was a good thing we did because we were put on a different flight than originally booked!
We had a very good breakfast in the hotel restaurant, served by a nice middle aged waitress who had lived in Alaska all of her life. In spite of this, she spoke like a Southerner!
After breakfast, we went out for a walk to explore the town. Downtown Fairbanks was only about six blocks away.
We first went into a very bizarre store which sold every sort of thing imaginable, much of it looking as though it had come from a salvage pile or was picked up during excavations of old Indian villages. In fact, it was referred to as the “Alaska Museum Room.”
The prices were very cheap, and I was on the verge of paying for an Ulu knife that was only $3.75 (usually they are quite expensive) when Dale reminded me that we didn’t have our luggage and wouldn’t be able to take such an item through security. The store owner was already in the process of wrapping it in newspaper. Too bad!
We continued on down Noble Street toward downtown. I was amazed at how many flowers there were everywhere.
When we reached the end of Noble St., we turned right onto Wendell St., heading for the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center, which claims to “Celebrate Interior Alaska’s People, Land, and Culture.”
Many of the exhibits featured Athabascan arts and crafts.
Surrounding these exhibits were Alaska’s four seasons: Summer features the village of Tanana, where Morris Thompson was born and raised, and the Tanana River. In autumn, Alaskans prepare for winter and this exhibit features colorful fall scenes. Winter has a Public Use Cabin you can enter to experience a dazzling winter night with northern lights shimmer beyond the window. There wasn’t a specific area for spring, except as “the end of winter.”
Outside the cultural center were some outbuildings and a vegetable and flower garden.
Adjacent to the Cultural Center’s property is the Antler Arch, which is said to be composed of more than 100 sets of moose and caribou antlers, collected from all over the interior of Alaska. It didn’t look like that many to me, but I didn’t count them!
Many of the antlers were autographed either by the collector or in memory of someone.
Beyond that is a walkway along the Chena River which takes you through Griffin Park and along which there are monuments, statues and monuments, including the Land Lease Monument, commemorating Alaska’s role in cooperation with the Soviet Union to defeat the Nazis in World War II.
This was explained on plaques alongside the monument.
To our left was downtown Fairbanks.
We had a wonderful lunch at a crepe place someone had told us about. They served both sweet, breakfast-type crepes, and “lunch” crepes filled with cheese, ham, sausage, etc.
There were large vents along the street which had been painted by local artists.
By mid-afternoon, we headed back to the hotel to wait for the shuttle which would take us to the airport, where we flew to Seattle, and then took a connecting flight to Chicago.
This ends my travel series Alaska 2016. Stay tuned for our next trip, to Brazil!