On our way home after our Mother’s Day extravanganza at the Musk Ox Farm, we stopped in at the Palmer Visitor Center, which we soon found out, is much more than just a place to get free coffee and a map.
A quaint log cabin on the main drag of historic Palmer, the Visitor Center is in the process of being combined with the Palmer Museum of History and Art to provide visitors to this little city in the Valley a nice blend of old and new.
DeLena Johnson, Executive Director for the Museum, happened to be at the site during our stop, and explained that the process is close to completion and will offer visitors the chance to see Palmer life as it was in 1935, when the “New Deal” project brought some 200+ families from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota to get some agriculture going in this fertile, if chilly, valley region.
The cozy cabin plays host to a number of interesting, agriculture-based exhibits; clothing, farm implements, and interpretive signs that explain Palmer’s role in establishing a colony of dedicated, hardy people with a mission to grow the biggest, best veggies of all. We also enjoyed seeing the large stone fireplace with chairs arranged around its base; just perfect for conversation on a chilly day.
No worries, the Center/Museum has every brochure or rack card one could want to plan a perfect visit to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and environs. We picked up a stack, ranging from fishing the Susitna river to hiking at Hatcher Pass, to staying at cozy B&B’s in the area.
Outside, a spectacular showcase garden is just beginning to emerge from the dirt after a long winter of sleep. Johnson says the display is worth the stop alone, and often volunteers will be on hand to give personal tours. There is a picnic table available for families who wish to use the area for a rest and recharge lunch stop.
The Museum is located on Valley Way, across from the old Palmer Depot. Can’t miss it. Look for the big blue sign and the cute little cabin.