Jumping Into 2011: Monday Morning News from AKontheGO

Gooood morning, AKontheGO’ers, 2011 is beginning in fine form with a review of our trip to Talkeetna to celebrate the New Year AK Fam-style, complete with enough firepower to make even my pyro-technic boys happy.

We also have a few updates courtesy of my Alaska Travelgram Show cohort, Scott McMurren, who dug up the Top 10 Airfares going on right now and a welcome return of Alaska Airlines’ “Kids Fly Free” program to Disneyland.

Our New Year’s Eve overnight at the Talkeetna Roadhouse was charming, relaxing, and about as good as one could get for a truly Alaskan experience. As we’ve mentioned before, the Roadhouse was built somewhere between 1914-17 by two teamster brothers who clearly knew a good thing when they saw it, and the original building stands as a testament to the way life used to be before fancy hotels, dining rooms, and spa tubs. AK Fam stayed upstairs in one of three little rooms that practically oozed charm from every spruce log. The floors creaked, we could see and hear the folks in the restaurant right below, and the little window looked right out to Main Street where the festivities rallied on for this First Night.

Trisha Costello, owner and the primary reason the Roadhouse keeps its sense of history and tradition, fed us a New Year’s Eve Supper that really, my own grandmother would have been proud to eat. Roast Beast (beef), mountains of mashed potatoes, a gorgeous salad (cunningly served in metal mixing bowls), homemade creamed corn (even AK Kid ate it), and, to top it all off, bread pudding made from (gasp) the Roadhouse’s famous cinnamon rolls. Oh, the humanity! We sipped mulled wine in front of the gas fireplace, played cards, read National Geographic magazines from the 1970’s and sank lower and lower into a puddle of utter satisfaction as the evening progressed.

With a number of families visiting the town, and a wonderful sense of welcome from Trisha and staff, kids were everywhere, playing and shooting off sparklers thoughtfully provided by the Roadhouse. We stood in the middle of the street exploding even more, where AK Kid and his pal were mesmerized by the light, sound, and flavor of a truly small-town celebration to which we felt honored to be invited. You can visit the AKontheGO Facebook page to see more photos from this memorable trip.

Would we do it again? Reservations are being made already for next year. We might take the train, though, since the Alaska Railroad sends their “Aurora Winter Train” to Talkeetna and on to Fairbanks on weekends (NYE is on a Saturday in 2011), departing Anchorage at 8:30 a.m. and arriving in Talkeetna by noon. Check it out, since the cost is as much as filling up the SUV and the ride is lovely. Stay, play, and eat in Talkeetna then return home the next afternoon, arriving back in Anchorage by bedtime. Why not? Check out the Railroad’s web site HERE for the full scoop, or call 907-265-2494 for info.

On to Mr. McMurren and his Top 10. Scott listed some darned good airfares, including a super RT to Portland for $400, all in on Alaska Airlines. Now that’s something to celebrate. Check out the rest of the list at the Alaska Travelgram site HERE.

Speaking of Alaska Airlines, they have indeed returned the popular (and by now traditional, to some of us) “Kids Fly Free” to Disneyland deal. One child, ages 2-11 can fly free with a paying adult to the Magic Kingdom. Alaska also offers other discounts on places like the Disneyland Hotel (my fav) and other locales where a family can recover from a day spent with Princesses and Donald Duck. Look for “Vacation Packages” under the “Reservations” tab of the Alaska Airlines web site. Yes, blackout dates are many, and travel must be completed by April 15, but if you want to surprise the kids and don’t have many calendar worries, it’s a great deal.

Era Aviation is flying to many, many places in Alaska this winter at discounted rates as well. It might not be Disneyland, but when you only have to pay $199 to Fairbanks, it’s just as good, sometimes. Check ’em out HERE.

Happy Monday, and don’t forget to join us tomorrow from 2-3 p.m. on KOAN AM 1020 for your fair and balanced Alaska Travelgram Show! We’re kicking off 2011 in style with some great info and happy times, as usual.



Posted in Alaskan Winter Fun, Good Deals, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Miscellaneous.