What to do or see in Fairbanks and Anchorage



Just got back from a RCI Vision cruisetour (July 22 - Aug 1) with a noon pass-through of Anchorage and 2 full days in Fairbanks. We had lunch at the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage (5th and G-street as I recall) and the food and beer were very good. The downtown is fairly compact and easy to walk. Lots of sidewalk food vendors and no shortage of tourist traps.

In Fairbanks we did the El Dorado gold mine and Discovery Sternwheeler as part of the package. The gold mine was OK but nothing to write home about, IMHO. We thought the Discovery was a good trip. It lasted almost 4 hours, had a bush pilot demonstration of taking off and landing in the Chena River, excellent narration of sites along the river, etc, a stop at Susan Butcher's place (if you don't know who that is you will find out), and then a stop for an hour at an Athabaskan village. Food and drinks on the boat were very reasonably priced. We found this quite refreshing.

The next day we rented a car and set out on our own driving to North Pole, a small town with a very big post office for obvious reasons. We then took a casual drive to Chena Hot Springs about 60 miles east of Fairbanks. Since the only moose we saw between Seward and Fairbanks, including time in Denali, was at the Fairbanks train depot adjacent ot a 4-lane highway, we kept our eyes open. Out and back to Chena Hot Springs we saw 7 and photographed 6. There is plenty of terrific scenery including burned out mountains from last year's fires. We ate king crab at the Two Rivers Lodge at mile 16. They had a special of fresh Nome crab for $29.95. Actually we think this day on our own, at our own pace, was more relaxing than the tours. I thought restaurant prices in Fairbanks were jaw-dropping expensive, except for the crab special of course.