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Posted: 8/23/2020 2:26:18 PM EST
I have a ton of airline miles and a week off in September.  Thinking about coming up to Alaska for a week and looking at Palmer.  We basically want to get away.  Covid travel killed our honeymoon (first week of June).  Currently looking at Air BNB. Thoughts?
Link Posted: 8/24/2020 11:21:40 AM EST
Originally Posted By AKJEFF:
I have a ton of airline miles and a week off in September.  Thinking about coming up to Alaska for a week and looking at Palmer.  We basically want to get away.  Covid travel killed our honeymoon (first week of June).  Currently looking at Air BNB. Thoughts?
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I live in Palmer, it's a great place to live.  What are you looking to do while you're here, why Palmer?  There's some hiking in and around town and Hatcher Pass should still be open for driving if you get the right rental, but there's not really much else.  It's close to Anchorage (45 minute or so drive) and is on the road but I don't really think of it as a tourist destination.

If you're looking for a quiet place to relax and do some hiking, Girdwood is great.  Lots of scenic hiking in and through town there, great brewery, and a couple good restaurants.  Alyeska won't be open for skiing but you can hike up the mountain and then ride the tram down (or buy a ticket and ride it up, it's free from the top regardless of how you got there, if it's running).  There's a cafe and a restaurant at the top with great views of the Turnagain arm.  It's a steep hike with lots of switchbacks but not difficult, they run a race up the mountain for charity.  The North Face trail is 3.5km and has a 3800 foot elevation change or there's an unofficial trail right up the side behind the hotel with all the switchbacks.

Make sure you check the travel requirements before coming, I hear it's best to pre-register for arrival.  Speeds up the screening at the airport.

Link Posted: 8/24/2020 2:23:47 PM EST
Well if it's a honeymoon...let's see how well you work together!  West of Palmer a ways is Nancy Lakes Canoe Trail System.  This is a great trip IMHO.  CHECK to see if you can rent a canoe, they have changed hands and weren't active, but I just checked and they look to be open.  I don't facebook, so couldn't get the latest information.  To do the entire trail would be a long day.  Paddle some, portage some; you could also just do a lake or two and call it good.  There are a couple of public use cabins (you supply all camping gear) along the way...I don't think I'd pack a camp in to overnight, but there is a cabin close to the road if you wanted to sleep "in the woods" after a day of canoeing.  I've never seen a bear in there, but it is bear country-hint.

Talkeetna is a classic tourist town.  I'm not sure how much of it is even open this year.  Mahay's Jet Boat Adventures has some nice boat rides up the river.  There are plane rides out of there to flight see...don't know when they switch from tourist to hunter mode.  We be poor, so haven't been on any flights but I know David Hicks of N2ALASKA.COM and he is the guy I'd have my family fly with.

Denali Highway (Gravel road!) is beautiful in the Fall!  Some car rental outfits won't let you drive off the pavement, so check.  Might be a lot of hunters out and about???  I'm not sure what places are available to sleep at either end.

Seward is a nice place on the coast.  

Keep an eye on how far apart things are.  If you go many places you'll burn up a lot of time on the road!

Link Posted: 8/28/2020 7:23:16 AM EST
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Originally Posted By ArmyAirborne:
I live in Palmer, it's a great place to live.  What are you looking to do while you're here, why Palmer?  There's some hiking in and around town and Hatcher Pass should still be open for driving if you get the right rental, but there's not really much else.  It's close to Anchorage (45 minute or so drive) and is on the road but I don't really think of it as a tourist destination.

If you're looking for a quiet place to relax and do some hiking, Girdwood is great.  Lots of scenic hiking in and through town there, great brewery, and a couple good restaurants.  Alyeska won't be open for skiing but you can hike up the mountain and then ride the tram down (or buy a ticket and ride it up, it's free from the top regardless of how you got there, if it's running).  There's a cafe and a restaurant at the top with great views of the Turnagain arm.  It's a steep hike with lots of switchbacks but not difficult, they run a race up the mountain for charity.  The North Face trail is 3.5km and has a 3800 foot elevation change or there's an unofficial trail right up the side behind the hotel with all the switchbacks.

Make sure you check the travel requirements before coming, I hear it's best to pre-register for arrival.  Speeds up the screening at the airport.

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Originally Posted By ArmyAirborne:
Originally Posted By AKJEFF:
I have a ton of airline miles and a week off in September.  Thinking about coming up to Alaska for a week and looking at Palmer.  We basically want to get away.  Covid travel killed our honeymoon (first week of June).  Currently looking at Air BNB. Thoughts?
I live in Palmer, it's a great place to live.  What are you looking to do while you're here, why Palmer?  There's some hiking in and around town and Hatcher Pass should still be open for driving if you get the right rental, but there's not really much else.  It's close to Anchorage (45 minute or so drive) and is on the road but I don't really think of it as a tourist destination.

If you're looking for a quiet place to relax and do some hiking, Girdwood is great.  Lots of scenic hiking in and through town there, great brewery, and a couple good restaurants.  Alyeska won't be open for skiing but you can hike up the mountain and then ride the tram down (or buy a ticket and ride it up, it's free from the top regardless of how you got there, if it's running).  There's a cafe and a restaurant at the top with great views of the Turnagain arm.  It's a steep hike with lots of switchbacks but not difficult, they run a race up the mountain for charity.  The North Face trail is 3.5km and has a 3800 foot elevation change or there's an unofficial trail right up the side behind the hotel with all the switchbacks.

Make sure you check the travel requirements before coming, I hear it's best to pre-register for arrival.  Speeds up the screening at the airport.



We looked at Palmer because it appeared to be somewhat close to the airport, has airbnb openings and the prices were somewhat within budget.  We are all about suggestions at this point.

I appreciate the reply!
Link Posted: 8/28/2020 7:42:41 PM EST
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Originally Posted By AKJEFF:


We looked at Palmer because it appeared to be somewhat close to the airport, has airbnb openings and the prices were somewhat within budget.  We are all about suggestions at this point.

I appreciate the reply!
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Palmer is about an hour and fifteen minute drive from the airport depending on traffic.  Girdwood is 45 minutes or so and will have less traffic unless you drive down on a Friday or come back on a Sunday.

Both are nice, Girdwood is the more touristy place, big ski resort there.  Palmer's draw is it's close to other things, I love living here, quiet semi-rural semi-farming town.  Air BnB prices are similar between the two, with Girdwood having more pricey options.

Depends what you want to do while you're here really.  Post what you're interested in seeing while you're here and I'll pass along what I can.  If you find a place to stay you want checked out let me know too.
Link Posted: 8/29/2020 12:03:53 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/29/2020 10:03:06 AM EST
Palmer isn’t bad but it’s going to feel like any suburb, USA. Gotta get out further to have that true Alaskan feel.
Link Posted: 8/29/2020 6:14:27 PM EST
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Originally Posted By uafgrad:
Make sure you follow the travel mandates or you will be paying $250 upon arrival and  be under quarantine
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I have heard airport police aren't stopping people from walking right past the commie Covid checkpoint. But as has been said, not much going on in Palmer. Seward, Girdwood, Homer, Talkeetna are probably gonna be more fun and you'll see more interesting stuff. Don't waste any time in Anchorage the mayor is being a little dictator and the whole city is pretty well on lockdown and as the saying goes, anchorage isn't really Alaska but you can see it from there. You could probably find a great deal in homer right now and the view across the bay toward the mountains and over the spit is quite incredible, lots of great little restaurants and its a really pretty drive down this time of year, you can stop by the glacier on your way down, hit the brewery in coopers landing, have lunch in Soldotna or Kenai overlooking the river. Usually this time of year you'll see a lot of moose and bear along the roadways between Kasilof and Homer.
Link Posted: 8/29/2020 7:34:49 PM EST
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Originally Posted By deputytrueblood:


I have heard airport police aren't stopping people from walking right past the commie Covid checkpoint. But as has been said, not much going on in Palmer. Seward, Girdwood, Homer, Talkeetna are probably gonna be more fun and you'll see more interesting stuff. Don't waste any time in Anchorage the mayor is being a little dictator and the whole city is pretty well on lockdown and as the saying goes, anchorage isn't really Alaska but you can see it from there. You could probably find a great deal in homer right now and the view across the bay toward the mountains and over the spit is quite incredible, lots of great little restaurants and its a really pretty drive down this time of year, you can stop by the glacier on your way down, hit the brewery in coopers landing, have lunch in Soldotna or Kenai overlooking the river. Usually this time of year you'll see a lot of moose and bear along the roadways between Kasilof and Homer.
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Or any of the 10 other breweries, two cider presses, two distilleries, meadery, or winery you pass driving from the airport to Homer.  There's two more breweries that would be a little bit out of the way, but not far.

Seriously, Alaska has great breweries.  

@deputytrueblood How is Cooper's Landing Brewing?  Haven't made it there yet, I first heard about them right before I went to Kenai for dipnetting but they had just done their soft opening and weren't open for business yet.
Link Posted: 8/29/2020 7:42:07 PM EST
I haven't had a chance to try them personally yet due to Covid I haven't been home this year unfortunately. Many friends have said great things about it though. Will agree though lots of killer breweries all over the state. Guy I graduated with from Service and played baseball with owns double shovel was pretty impressed with their stuff and im not a big cider fan
Link Posted: 8/30/2020 3:23:49 PM EST
Just booked our flight and airbnb in Girdwood.  We really appreciate all of the advice and suggestions and are open to as many as yall feel like giving.
Link Posted: 8/30/2020 4:33:53 PM EST
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Originally Posted By AKJEFF:
Just booked our flight and airbnb in Girdwood.  We really appreciate all of the advice and suggestions and are open to as many as yall feel like giving.
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If you're planning on cooking get your groceries in Anchorage.  Girdwood doesn't have much of a grocery store.

The drive down is great.  Potter Marsh is a wildlife area as soon as you leave Anchorage.  Watch for dall sheep on the cliffs and ridges as you go south of there.

Things to do in Girdwood area:

Crow Creek pass - the whole trail is a multi day hike that takes you to Eagle River, it's still a nice place for an out and back hike
Winner Creek trail - Easy hike, has a cool hand tram over the Winner Creek gorge
Aleyska - Can hike up and take the tram down for free or buy tickets and ride up.  There's a cafe and restaurant at the top.  The restaurant is one you'd want to dress nice and ride the tram up for, free tram ticket with reservations.
Indian Valley Gold Mine
Girdwood Brewing
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a short drive and worth a visit
Indian Valley Meats
Double Musky Inn restaurant
Bird Point recreation area - short hikes and views of Turnagain Arm
Bird Ridge trail
McHugh trail
Beluga Point - views of Turnagain Arm, unlikely to actually see beluga there anymore, good place to see the bore tide
Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ
Turnagain Gallery and Gifts
Whittier is a 40 minute drive, unique town where nearly the whole population lives in one building, a one way combination car/train tunnel to get there, good fishing charters out of here
Hope is an hour drive but a really cool area for a day trip, can often see beluga whales in the Turnagain Arm from Hope
Cooper Landing is an hour or so, new brewery there, it's a fishing town, salmon runs are about over but there's still trout and dollies around
Seward is about an hour and a half, nice little fishing town, SeaLife Aquarium is there, restaurants, fishing charters, whale watching, glacier tours; I see humpback whales from town every time I go, Labor Day is about as late as I've been there though, can catch rockfish and sometimes halibut from shore at Lowell Point
Link Posted: 8/30/2020 5:39:57 PM EST
army airborne covers it quite well, there's also a wildlife center down there and portage glacier. Exit glacier near Seward is a good easy hike and you can actually get onto the glacier with that one.
Link Posted: 9/3/2020 11:08:22 AM EST
The cafe at the top is apparently closed in Alyeska.

My wife suggested a few places but we would like your opinions.

http://www.jensrestaurant.com/index.html (can make reservations but in anchorage)

 

https://doublemuskyinn.com/ (no reservations in girdwood Cajun flare)

 

http://www.jacksprat.net/ (no reservations in girdwood)

 

https://www.clubparisrestaurant.com/ (no reservations)

 

https://captaincook.com/dining/crows-nest/ 

Link Posted: 9/3/2020 12:51:09 PM EST
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Originally Posted By AKJEFF:
The cafe at the top is apparently closed in Alyeska.

My wife suggested a few places but we would like your opinions.

http://www.jensrestaurant.com/index.html (can make reservations but in anchorage)

https://doublemuskyinn.com/ (no reservations in girdwood Cajun flare)

http://www.jacksprat.net/ (no reservations in girdwood)

https://www.clubparisrestaurant.com/ (no reservations)

https://captaincook.com/dining/crows-nest/
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Haven't heard of Jen's.  Looks like they're only doing outside dining right now.  It's getting late in the year for that for me.  We've been down into the 40s over night and days are low to mid 60s.  Nice weather but not for eating outside at a restaurant.

Double Musky is good, get there early and be prepared to wait.  Usually packed.  Probably worse with COVID, restaurants are down to 50% capacity I think.

Have heard good things about Jack Sprat, never been personally.

Club Paris is pretty good.

The Crow's Nest is good but expensive.  You're paying for the view.  It's in the top of one of the tallest buildings in Anchorage.  

Some other Anchorage options my wife and I like:

Moose's Tooth pizza, they're part of a chain of restaurants and a brewery here.  If things were normal I'd suggest the Bear Tooth Theater, they have second run movies and tables in the theater.  They also run the Bear Tooth Grill and Broken Tooth brewery.  Moose's Tooth is rated pretty high nationally for pizza, and the beer is great too.  Our favorite is the Mac and Cheese, I was really skeptical of it but my wife talked me into it, it's good.  Can't go wrong at any of the "Tooth" places.  It's practically a law that we have to mention Moose's Tooth to visitors, but it is good.

Glacier Brewhouse, pretty standard menu, good food, good beer, good location.

49th State, similar to Glacier but sports bar instead of casual upscale.

Simon and Seafort's, good seafood, awesome view of the Knik Arm and Cook inlet, decently priced.

Tequila 61, especially for Taco Tuesday.  
Link Posted: 9/5/2020 7:07:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/6/2020 5:44:16 PM EST by deputytrueblood]
Club Paris is probably the oldest remaining fine dining institution in Anchorage the inside is not what you would expect, they have pretty decent food its definitely old school steakhouse.

Double musky be there as soon as it opens usually about 30-45 minutes early if you can or else you'll miss the first seating. Looks are deceiving in this place but its probably the best meal you'll have in Alaska. The pepper steak and jambalaya are my go to meals. Big portions so bring your appetite

F street station has good food for a bar/pub type atmosphere.

Fancy Moose/Flying machine out at lake hood in the hotel is a cool place to watch the float planes take off and they have pretty decent food as well.

Simon and Seaforts as has been mentioned has very good food and a view of sleeping lady crab dip is delicious so are the teriyaki steak tips

Crows nest has a nice view of the city but the food is very fancy and expensive wasn't overly impressed with it other than the view. Not a bad place though to just go up and have drinks and dessert

On your way down to Alyeska you can stop for BBQ at the turnagain armpit. I like the BBQ and the view is pretty spectacular
Link Posted: 9/6/2020 10:13:44 AM EST
Appreciate the info fellas!

We would like to do a half day fishing trip if not overly expensive.  Any suggestions? So far the only day we have booked is for the reindeer farm.
Link Posted: 9/6/2020 2:52:49 PM EST
In my experience Homer has the cheapest charters. Valdez has the most expensive.
Link Posted: 9/6/2020 5:20:19 PM EST
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Originally Posted By AKJEFF:
Appreciate the info fellas!

We would like to do a half day fishing trip if not overly expensive.  Any suggestions? So far the only day we have booked is for the reindeer farm.
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Can't help you there.  I've only been out on one charter and I wouldn't recommend them (Fish Seward).  We booked the boat (up to 6 but we only had 5) for a full day and when we showed up the captain had one of his friends come along to fill the 6th seat.  We did all catch fish but he beat the fuck out of them and ruined the cheeks in some of the fish.  We had time left after we limited on halibut and rockfish and wanted to try for some salmon but he nixed that idea and headed in.  Now I know people with boats and go out with them.

I will say that for a half day trip you probably won't get halibut, and if you do they'll be small.  Have to go out a ways to find the big ones and there's not enough time to make that kind of run on a half day trip.  Silvers should be in the bay at Whittier and Seward and any captain there will be able to limit you on rockfish.  Lingcod season is in too, I honestly don't know much about fishing for them so not sure if a half day trip would be a possibility.

Since you're coming up to Palmer for the reindeer farm, you might want to check out the musk ox farm too.  
Link Posted: 9/6/2020 5:37:43 PM EST
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Originally Posted By ArmyAirborne:

Can't help you there.  I've only been out on one charter and I wouldn't recommend them (Fish Seward).  We booked the boat (up to 6 but we only had 5) for a full day and when we showed up the captain had one of his friends come along to fill the 6th seat.  We did all catch fish but he beat the fuck out of them and ruined the cheeks in some of the fish.  We had time left after we limited on halibut and rockfish and wanted to try for some salmon but he nixed that idea and headed in.  Now I know people with boats and go out with them.

I will say that for a half day trip you probably won't get halibut, and if you do they'll be small.  Have to go out a ways to find the big ones and there's not enough time to make that kind of run on a half day trip.  Silvers should be in the bay at Whittier and Seward and any captain there will be able to limit you on rockfish.  Lingcod season is in too, I honestly don't know much about fishing for them so not sure if a half day trip would be a possibility.

Since you're coming up to Palmer for the reindeer farm, you might want to check out the musk ox farm too.  
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Can’t speak for half day but I’ve done 3/4 day in homer and everyone limited on halibut. Not huge ones, but decent. And caught some lingcod as well.

I used homer ocean charters and would recommend them.

Link Posted: 9/6/2020 5:39:34 PM EST
Fishing is gonna be a tough one since most charters pull their boats for the season the beginning of September. Your best bet will be Jason Perrego at Alaska Lakes Guide Service, he can put you on some nice lakers, burbot, char and trout. Salmon and halibut are pretty well done unless you have a friend with a boat. Jason is the only guy I know of that runs this late in the season.
Link Posted: 9/28/2020 9:04:35 PM EST
@AKJEFF

Back from the trip yet?  How was it?  
Link Posted: 9/28/2020 9:38:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2020 9:38:46 PM EST by AKJEFF]
@ArmyAirborne

Had a really good time.  We went to Turnagain Arm BBQ but it closed just after we walked in.  Apparently the cook just quit.  The Reindeer Farm was a blast as well as hiking in Girdwood.  Ill post pictures but in all honesty I have yet to have time to sort through the over 2k I took.  

The misses and I really appreciate all the suggestions!  If anyone ever makes it to Fort Worth hit me up!
Link Posted: 9/29/2020 2:35:26 AM EST
The Reindeer Farm is always a good time.  We go every Christmas Eve, they have hay rides and Santa and you can pet and feed the reindeer.

Crazy about the pit.  I haven't been in a few months, last time I was down that way was on the way to/from Kenai for dip netting in July.

Glad to hear you had a good time.  Everyone should come to Alaska at least once.
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