Recently I have been lucky enough to take a vacation with my family to Alaska. Within the first two days we went to the cities of Anchorage, Whittier, and Seward. Despite the fact that each town was located on the water, each was vastly different.
Day 1: Anchorage
The first day of our vacation was mostly spent on two planes- one layover and then the very long flight to Anchorage. Even though the long plane ride was not the most entertaining, I love to fly. It is amazing to watch the ground slowly fade until you are higher than the clouds and all you can see is a white blanket.
Even though it was only 6 pm when we arrived, we didn’t really do much other than try to find a place to eat. That was quite a big feat. For some reason, restaurants in downtown Anchorage don’t have tables for 7 on Saturday nights without out reservations or wait times. Crazy, right? It took us four tries to find a restaurant with a table open for us, but the food was amazing. Unfortunately, the was the only adventure we were up for on day one.
Day 2: Whittier
Whittier was not the only town we went to this day. We were actually driving to Seward along Seward Highway and made several stops along the way, but Whittier was my favorite town that day.
Every Alaskan tours or trips book will tell you that Seward highway is the states most scenic highway, and they do not lie. For most of the way, the road was flanked by mountains on the left and the ocean on the right. The sights were beautiful! Every so often along the road were stopping points- look outs- where you could pull over and take picture. The most popular stop was Beluga Bay. When the tide is coming in there is a really good chance that you can see beluga whales (awoooooooo: all of my finding dory people will understand the reference). However, the tide was very very far out when we reached the look out, but that wasn’t too disappointing. When the tide goes out, mini rock formations and islands are revealed. You can walk out onto the rocks, get close to the water, and take some awesome pictures.
Side Note: If you did not understand my beluga whale reference then you probably haven’t seen finding dory, which is a shame as the movie is Donovan and I’s current obsession.
Further on past Beluga Point is Lake Portage home of Glacier Portage. my parents and i were supposed to meet the rest our family there. And yet, being the directional challenge people that we are, we passed it and got lost. Yay us! We dead ended at a toll booth for a tunnel. Thankfully the booth attendant pointed us to the U-turn lane (that was its only purpose) and sent us on our way.
Eventually we found our family at a little diner right next to lake portage where the owner, a sweet local lady, explained that we went to the entrance of Whittier. She explained that the tunnel is the only way to get in and out of the city. It’s one way and at the half hour you can enter the city and at the top of the hour you can leave the city. She also mentioned that once in the city you can drive up the mountain and see a perfect view of the glacier. At this point my parents and I were sold, We had yet to see a glacier and the $13 tunnel fee was much less the Portage Glacier tour. So after lunch we piled into our minivan, and head to the tunnel.
The tunnel was cut straight through a mountain and was actually made for a train to go though. So the seven mile ride was spent straddling the minivans wheels over the train tracks. The experience was pretty cool but also kind of freaky.
The town of Whittier is very small. the entire “downtown” is smaller than most neighborhoods with a few restaurant and local artisan shops. The main attraction is the harbor. Whittier is a fishing town, almost completely surrounded by Prince Williams Sound. The water there is gorgeous. It’s eerily bright, it’s a bright blue-green color that seems to almost be glowing. We learned the water is like that because of the glacier runoff. After spending about an hour in the town, looking at boats and pressing pennies, we headed up the mountain.
At the top of the peak, there are a couple of benches and looking up you can see the glacier. The huge mass was situated between to two mountains. The views were breathtaking.
I’m not going to talk much about Seward today. After all the sight-seeing, we were exhausted and dinner was our only plan. We met up with the rest of our party in Seward, where we all shared a condo. After a lot of lollygagging we finally finish cooking dinner and had quite a feast.
Day two was extremely eventful and lots of fun.