Playing Tourist in My Town

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I am writing this blog while sitting here on our boat in the middle of the ocean off of Juneau Alaska, while my family halibut fishes. I have not written a blog post in a while, since my Daughter and Grandbabies were here for 3 weeks.

While they were here, we tried to give them the authentic Alaskan experience in the hopes that they would love it as much as we do. This way maybe they would decide to move here from Oklahoma as well. We miss them so much and know they would have a wonderful life here.

1st Tourist Attraction

We hiked the trail to Nugget falls and to see Mendenhall Glacier. They had never seen a glacier and my Grandkids were excited since they had learned about them in school.

2nd Tourist Attraction

We took them out on our boat to do some whale watching and the whales did not disappoint! We saw an Orca and a Humpback feeding in close proximity to each other.

It was amazing!

The Humpback comes out of the water, mouth wide open to lunge feed. This ensures that they catch the maximum number of fish at a time. The force of the water expands the whales throat and throat grooves for a spectacular site!

The Orca did its signature move of lifting the front half of its torso out of the water, so we got a clear view of its sleek shiny black and white body.

3rd Tourist Attraction

We did what most tourist on the cruise ships do when they stop here. We went shopping downtown and looked at all the wonderful shops that are open during the summer. I purchased a couple of t-shirts for them to take home as memorabilia from The T-shirt Company.

While downtown, we could not resist the wafting smell of chocolate coming from The Alaskan Fudge Company. They make fudge right in front of you so you can see how it is made. Their fudge is delicious and makes a great gift as well!

4th Tourist Attraction

We took them to First Friday and the Summer Block Party. Every first Friday of the month, Juneau has a walking art tour and various business locations. Besides all the natural beauty and world class outdoor activities, Juneau has an amazing art scene.

Having these community-based art activities are great for giving the residents of Juneau something indoors to do, especially in the winter months.

For First Friday, the Alaskan State Museum is free, so we took them there. We then went over to the Summer Block Party and watched some dancing before we made our way home.

5th Tourist Attraction

My Daughter, Myself, my Husband, and my Cousin went bar hopping. Juneau has some top notch breweries and bars in the downtown area.

On Wednesday, The Devil’s Club Brewery has gourmet pizza, so we made the first stop there to eat pizza and have couple of beers. The breakfast pizza with spam and arugula is to die for!

We then made our way over to Amalga Distillery. Amalga Distillery makes craft gin. I found my new favorite drink, gin and tonic. They have a great atmosphere, great Gin and you should check out their wallpaper!

Next, we went over to The Red Dog Saloon. The Red Dog is the longest running tourist attraction in Juneau and has been around since the early mining days. It has a real Alaskan feel with taxidermy animals on the walls and they put saw dust all over the floor in the summer. We hung out and listened to live country music and tried their famous duck fart, a must.

Last, we made our way over to The Viking to play some pool and sing karaoke. I got up and sang karaoke, which I haven’t done since I was a child. It was great! I “busted a move”, haha.

I took my daughter bar hopping to show her that Juneau does have things for younger adults, and it is not all about the nature in Juneau. She is not a huge outdoors person.

6th Tourist Attraction

We rented Salamander Cabin on Shelter Island for a couple of days. The cabin slept 10 and had a diesel and wood burning stove. It was nice to see all my children playing games at the table and enjoying each other’s company.

The downside of this trip was that it was cold and poured rain the entire time unfortunately.

The funny story is that the 2nd day of the trip while it was storming, we saw that our boat had moved a good distance in the cove. My husband drove the Zodiac out to take a look and we had lost our anchor. So, he called his friend to see if he had an extra and headed to the harbor to meet him with an anchor.

All I have to say is thank goodness that did not happen while we were sleeping, and we woke up to no boat. We know someone that happened to and he said, “it was NOT a good feeling”!

7th Tourist Attraction

We went to the Shrine of St. Therese near the Lynn Canal. One of the best tourist attractions in Juneau. My family and I had been there when there was still snow on the ground and it was so beautiful then. It was even more beautiful this time. They have beautiful gardens and there are so many flowers in bloom. The church is amazingly built on an outlet overlooking the ocean. It is a serene and peaceful place.

An unexpected bonus to going there a dusk is the marmots come out of the rocks along the walkway to the church to feed on the grass. They are not very afraid of people and they are the cutest things you ever saw!

My Grandkids and Kids were enamored. My one Granddaughter said, “now I can go back to school and say I saw a wild animal”! We cracked up laughing.

8th Tourist Attraction

We hiked part of Perseverance Trail and on the way back went to the Last Chance Mine. Perseverance Trail runs along Gold Creek Valley. There is Ebner falls, salmon berry bushes, and bridges along the route. It is absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite trails in Juneau.

While on the trail, we past a few tourists with their bear bells on. My husband likes to call those “dinner bells”. That way the bears know where to find you, haha. They were headed back and were huffing, puffing and sweating. Needless to say, the trail can be moderately strenuous, especially if you are not used to it!

9th Tourist Attraction

The night before my Daughter and Grandbabies left, we hiked up Mt. Roberts to the tram. It is 2 miles of switch backs up the mountain about 1800 feet. It had rained a lot that day, so it was extremely muddy and slippery.

Once we reached the top, the view of Downtown Juneau and Douglas Island was spectacular. We had a cup of coffee and then headed down the tram. You can spend $10 a person eating or drinking or pay $10 a person to go down the tram after the strenuous hike. We wore them out just before they had to sit on a plane for hours.  

One of the things my Daughter wanted to see the entire time she was here was a black bear. We do not really have brown bears in the Juneau area, thank goodness. As we were coming home after the hike, we were headed down the road near our house and what do we see, a black bear in the mobile home park. He took off running so we turned into the park. We saw him an additional time and as we looped the park to come back out, what do we see? A mama bear and her two cubs. It was the cutest thing ever. I hadn’t even seen a bear yet and we saw 4 that evening. It was a great way to end her trip! Now my Granddaughter CAN say she saw a wild animal!

Overall, it was a great visit and we ran ourselves and them ragged. I say that Alaskan’s need the long winters to recuperate from the exhaustive long and glorious summer days!

As for deciding if they will move here, we will have to wait and see if they decide to make Juneau their home.