After a fabulous Alaska Travelgram Show last week at which Kristi Schneider of the Alaska Railroad gave listeners a hundred and one reasons to take the train around the state, I promised to post details for those who either missed the show or needed a bit more info. Well, too, I wanted to revisit the 2011 Alaska Railroad Vacations book, because there is nothing I like more than a good travel planner. Here is the podcast if you’d like to listen directly to our melodious voices.
The Alaska Railroad offers two Vacations brochures, in fact. One for Winter and one for Summer. As Kristi mentioned, wintertime is a lovely opportunity to see Alaska in a completely different light (sometimes literally). Their Aurora Winter Train runs on weekends from Anchorage to Fairbanks with stops in Talkeetna for a little escape time. $199/pp nets RT train fare to/from Talkeetna and one night in this cozy little mountain town (most often at the famous Talkeetna Roadhouse).
If continuing on to Fairbanks, the popular Winter Escape package means a rail-fly option which includes a one-way ticket to or from Fairbanks, one-way airfare, and an overnight at a Fairbanks hotel, all for $349/pp. All transfers are included in this, btw, and passengers are able to add another night in Fairbanks or plan day trips/overnights to Chena Hot Springs. As my co-host, Scott, would say, “Kewl, man.”
For those itching for warmer weather and summer’s beautiful greenery; yes, I’m with you there, too. So is the Railroad, judging by the number of trips they’ve packed into their 2011 brochure. Seward, Hurricane Gulch, Grandview, Spencer Whistle Stop; it just goes on and on. Check out the brochure (linked above), or give the AKRR a call and have them send you one (I’m a purist, I like to have it in my hand). 1-800-544-0552. Don’t forget, too, that the Great Alaska TourSaver offers 2-for-1 deals on the Railroad, including all of the aforementioned trips.
Hey! Did I mention that I like the new House of Bread in South Anchorage? Only about a thousand times last week. Stopped in to meet John and Ginna Baldiviez and snack on a cinnamon roll while absorbing the lovely atmosphere of this little haven on Old Seward Highway. John and Ginna have big plans for the House of Bread, including a little patio area suitable for lounging this summer (there it is again, “summer”). Stop on by and tell them AKontheGO sent you.
If your family needs a little pick-me-up, why not drive on down to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage and visit the little Kodiak Brown Bear cubs who made their public debut a few weeks ago. The Center is operating only on weekends through February (MLK Day and President’s Day excepted), so a little soiree to see the animals might be just the ticket, today.
Stop by our favorite Girdwood family restaurant on the way home. Chair 5 offers some good eats and great kid-friendly atmosphere, and is a nice change from mom having to cook today (everybody gets a holiday today, yes?) Don’t forget your camera! The drive along Turnagain Arm is spectacular, and Dall Sheep have been hanging around the roadways lately. Watch for the ice falls, too. Yep, a great day.
Welcome, Monday! Stay warm and we’ll meet again soon.