Juneau Alaska is not only a magical, majestic and beautiful place, it’s also a great culinary destination for food, beer and spirits lovers.
I realize the last post of Alaska was The Weekend After post when I’d just returned from a whirlwind press trip. That was over one month ago. Wow, how time flies!
If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, I’ll quickly re-cap it here: I was recently sent on an 8 day Press Trip to Southern Alaska to tour restaurants, breweries and distilleries and discover not only Alaska’s culinary scene but the culture, history and majesty of this magical place.
To say I fell in love with Alaska, would be an understatement. If I could have taken a private jet charter to Alaska that would have been icing on the cake for me. How could I not? Alaska is home to some of the most incredible, breathtaking scenery and freshest seafood in the world.
What you’ll notice first as you come into Juneau, is that this comfortable, cozy and friendly town is nestled between massive mountains with the most gorgeous view of the ocean’s cold waterfront.
Along the dock, you’ll see several restaurants, gift shops and landmarks, like the beautifully designed Alaska Commercial Fisherman’s Memorial and wall, dedicated to the men and women who have given their lives to the Alaska commercial fishing industry. There’s plenty to do in Juneau too, they have lots of hiking trails and you can even go on a Juneau kayaking day if you want to brave the cold waters; but you will probably see some whales on your journey so it’s well worth it! There’s certainly something for everyone here, that’s for sure.
This stone memorial lies at the center, surrounded by a massive, arc shaped memorial granite wall.
Locals and tourists amble along the waterfront and are eager to say hello and welcome you to this charming city. They too, have felt the allure of Alaska, and many are transplants as a result of falling in love with this magical place.
As you wander down the scenic waterfront, a must visit spot (and one of my favorite places to eat) was Tracy’s King Crab Shack, which touts itself as having ‘the best legs in town’.
Oh yeah baby…come to momma. You are what I came here for. 🙂
Tracy’s King Crab Shack is where the locals go for incredibly fresh seafood. Smack dab on the waterfront, the atmosphere is fun and casual, but they are clearly serious about their seafood!
Known for their award winning King Crab Bisque, this cream based soup is absolutely mouth-watering and has generous chunks of crab in each bowl. It’s rich and creamy with a slightly spicy bite, that will leave you wanting more.
Another favorite is their King Crab Cakes. A nice blend of spices and succulent crab, served with a spicy dipping sauce. You won’t want to stop eating these…they are seriously addictive!
I traveled at the very end of May (May 21 – May 28) and the weather could not have been more beautiful. The early mornings (5 a.m.) were crisp, but not so chilly that I couldn’t sit outside with a hot cup of coffee while writing articles for the trip.
By 9 a.m., it was warm enough for light pants or capris and tank tops. I know! I was as shocked as I can imagine you are. With the weather we had, there was no chance of me breaking out all the warm clothes I’d brought with me on this trip! 🙂
If there’s one thing I’ve learned is, the key for packing when visiting Alaska in the summer time, is to dress in layers, as the weather can change quickly. Really quickly.
Not far from the Capital Inn Bed & Breakfast where we stayed, it was a short jaunt down the hill, past the Capital building, to get to the center of downtown Juneau. Here, you’ll find narrow, cozy streets and historic buildings.
In the heart of the historic district, nestled in these narrow streets, liesThe Rookery Café, a culinary gem that brings big city flavors to this modest town. If you get a chance to visit, you can’t miss this incredible restaurant. Seriously some of the best food I have ever had.
I’ll be publishing a post specifically about The Rookery and some of the dishes you can order there, so stay tuned – you won’t want to miss it!
As you continue your tour, be sure to visit Gonzo Gourmet Waffle & Coffee Shop, which has the fluffiest and lightest waffles with the most incredible sweet (and savory!) toppings like this Scout’s Honor S’mores waffle.
It is simply heaven on a plate. Decadent, rich, creamy chocolate with bourbon marshmallows, a house-made chocolate bourbon custard, house-made graham cracker crumb, and topped with smoked alder salt. Swoon!
As you continue your journey, be sure to take in the many displays of incredibly detailed artwork like this bronze bear sculpture, by sculptor R.T. ”Skip” Wallen.
This stately piece of art sits proudly in front of the Alaska State Capital building.
As you make your way down the waterfront, you’ll see dozens of waiting sea planes in a rainbow of colors. Take your pick if you want to visit Taku Glacier Lodge.
These guided tours by Wings Airways will fly you on a scenery tour over mountains and glaciers, as they make their way to Taku Glacier Lodge, where you can enjoy a homemade feast.
Be sure to take full advantage of the view, and bring a camera so you can take photos in-flight!
There’s nothing like seeing mountains and glaciers from the sky. It’s absolutely incredible and breath-taking. And, very humbling to see how massive and awe-inspiring Alaska really is.
Here, in this picture below, you can see another sea plane just starting to lift-off, where they’ll join us in dining at the Taku Glacier Lodge, after a 25 minute flight seeing trip.
The length of the entire tour is 3-hours, which includes 25 minutes of Glacier flight seeing enroute to Taku Lodge, where you’ll have 2 full hours to enjoy nature walks, a view of the glacier, have a nice dinner and watch bears mill about on the Taku Lodge grounds. This would be a great place to set up one of the best wireless trail camera like the ones reviewed on Outdoor Empire; you’d be sure to capture some truly stunning sights!
Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to get lost out there. But I can certainly appreciate it from the comforts of my safe airplane! 🙂
I was completely taken by the way the mountains are multi-layered with peaks and valleys with water everywhere. It’s a lot for the eyes to take in, and I couldn’t help but feel very small compared to how immense and massive it is.
The call of the mountains? I can hear it, and it’s telling me how fantastic it would be to live there.
Of course, I say this with all confidence because of the 73 degree tank top weather. 😉
And although you know that it is cold, cold, cold, it holds a beauty that will leave you mezmerized.
I’ve said to you before that Alaska is larger than life.
Vast, striking, magical, majestic, awe-inspiring and amazing, complete with a silent, wonderful allure that calls you there.
No joke. In my next post, I will share my ferry story. You’ll see what is so magical and alluring about it.
Because the day was hazy, it’s difficult to see the depth and intensity of the color – but if you can imagine the finest, brightest Topaz jewelry – it’s like that!
What girl doesn’t love blingy jewelry? 🙂 I do!
What you’ll also love about Alaska’s scenery, is how the water snakes and threads its way throughout the expansive, limitless landscape, faintly disappearing into the cavernous valleys of the mountains.
There are so many incredible photo opportunities for photographers and travelers alike, so be sure to bring your camera and be ready to snap away. To give you an idea, I brought 4 memory cards. 🙂
But despite the cloudy-ness of the photo below, this is one of my very favorite shots of Alaska.
I love how the mountains and water live in such harmony and I’m completely drawn by the depth, flow and multi-dimensional fading of the mountains and the water’s path.
I’ve shared this shot below in a previous post, but it’s such a great shot of the glacier before we make our descent to Taku Glacier Lodge, that I just couldn’t help but share it again.
Can you see the clearing of the ? heart ? shape in the rocks, surrounded by the glacier? One of my favorite things about this photo, so I had to share it! ?
Lodge staff surround the area, carrying large sticks, which warn the bears off. We were told that one of the female bears had recently been “fake charging”.
I don’t know about you, but when I heard that, all I could think was ‘there’s nothing fake about charging…she’s warning you, and it’s only a matter of time when she feels confident enough to make it real’.
Let’s just say, I stayed far away from the bears, and used my zoom lens to get the up-close shot that you’ll see a few shots below this one. 🙂
What’s intoxicating is the smoke filled air of this salmon while it’s being grilled. Major yummo!
Alaska’s salmon is some of the best salmon I have ever had. Apparently, the bears think so too.
As the evening progresses, the bears casually meander closer waiting for their turn at the grill. They are never fed by staff or guests, as they don’t want to encourage them and potentially have them become dangerous.
But, the bears come closer and are quite willing to be patient until everyone gathers inside to eat the fresh feast. Isn’t she being a good girl? Well, at least she is right now. 🙂
Not moments after everyone is inside however, the bears climb up on the deck to feast on the sand underneath the grilling grates, where the salmon oil has dripped through.
The perfect end to a perfect day.
Now, that’s a path I’d love to walk again to just drink in the love of Alaska.