To kick things off on a somewhat random note, Vanitha observed that Alaska has a lot of hilarious license plates. I got a nice laugh from seeing this one in downtown Anchorage:
|Were Forrest Gump and/or Bubba hanging out in Anchorage, too?|
Alaska Native Villages lecture
My first night in Anchorage, Vanitha and I went to the University of Alaska Anchorage to attend a lecture. The speaker, Barrett Ristroph, spoke on how Alaska native villages are adapting to climate change and how the law helps or hinders.
In general, the subject matter was very eye-opening and informative to me, as I had no prior awareness of the ongoing challenges. It made me realize what a different completely life we live in the Lower 48.
Following the lecture, Vanitha and I went to dinner at Orso. This is a local "farm-to-table" restaurant in downtown Anchorage that features Alaskan ingredients and dishes. I loved the warm, rustic interior:
|Upper L: King crab corn dogs|
Upper R: Rockfish with red quinoa salad
Lower L: Alaskan sockeye salmon niçoise
Lower R: Guittard chocolate, espresso, and vanilla cream custard
The first thing I did was head out for my long run on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
After my long run, I went to visit the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. My favorite exhibit was the Alaska Native Cultures, which features hundreds of indigenous artifacts from various tribes. I was surprised to learn there are over 200 federally recognized Alaskan tribes.
|Saying "welcome" in various tribal languages and dialects|
|Alaskan street art|
|Original newspaper announcing Alaska being voted in as the 49th of the United States in 1959.|
It's a little scary to realize my parents are older than Alaska's statehood.
|Alaskan king crab|
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Vanitha and I went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood for our first of two weekend visits. Since I already covered it in detail separately, I won't rehash it here other than to share this adorable pajama set from the gift shop:
Here are some of the stunning landscapes we saw during our drives in between Anchorage and Girdwood (NOTE: these sights weren't limited to Day 2, we saw them all throughout). The pictures so do not do the majestic scenery justice.
On our way back from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, we stopped by the beautiful Girdwood Hotel. In my opinion, it is the type of winter lodge that ski resort dreams are made of. Look at the views from the lobby:
For dinner that night, Vanitha and I went to a local Anchorage favorite called Moose's Tooth.
|Upper L: Mexican squash soup|
Upper R: Half Solstice, half Veggie Delight pizza
Lower L: Half Amazing Apricot (I think), half Spicy Thai pizza
Lower R: Lemon Love cake
This was my last day in Alaska. Vanitha and I went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center for the second of our two visits. Afterwards, we did some more exploration on the way back, including browsing at a few local shops, plus stopping at the...
Girdwood Picnic Club
This is a super cute little restaurant nestled in downtown Girdwood with a cozy, artistic flair.
Indian Valley MeatsI wanted to try to find some smoked Alaskan salmon to take home. Vanitha had heard of this place as a great destination for local products, so we stopped by.
Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center was closed for the season. However, since it was near Halloween, the center was hosting a special fall festival with entertainment, shopping, and food; with trick-or-treating and story-telling options for kids.
It was cool to see the replicas of Alaskan abodes:
It goes without saying that I am tremendously grateful to Vanitha for being the most wonderful hostess for the weekend, and for being the best friend anyone could ever ask for. I can't even begin to express my gratitude for the incredibly valuable time we had to catch up, laugh, share stories, and talk in full detail about everything that life was throwing our ways. I am already looking forward to the next time Vanitha and I can get together, whenever and wherever it may be.
Cheers to lifelong friends sharing travel adventures!
I will be linking up with Lauren, Van, Isabel and Marcella for Wanderful Wednesday; with Chris and Heather, Lauren, Ashley, Amanda and Brian, and Carolann and Macrae for Weekend Wanderlust; and with Arnie and Jo, Sally-Ann, Anda, and Anisa and Katherine for The Weekly Postcard.