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Publication: Weekend GetAways
North To Alaska

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       WEEKEND GETAWAYS - Friday, December 22, 2006
    Make The Most Of Your Vacation - From Coast to Coast!

Greetings Getaway Lover,

Last week we went South this week we're going just 
the opposite....Enjoy! We're off to Alaska!!!!

With nearly half the state's population, Anchorage is 
Alaska's biggest city and the state's only true metrop-
olis. You'll find a varied selection of ethnic 
restaurants, a performing arts center, theater groups, 
an opera company, and an orchestra here. The Anchorage 
Museum of History and Art houses an outstanding collec-
tion of historic and contemporary Alaskan art. The 
Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates the rich 
diversity of the state's original inhabitants. At near-
by Lake Hood -- the largest seaplane base in the world 
-- the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum preserves examples 
of rare and restored planes. 

Happy Trails,


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--DESTINATION: Anchorage

For all the attractions Anchorage offers, most visitors 
spend little time here, using it as a jumping-off point 
for excursions into less-settled parts of the state or 
merely as a place to catch a plane home. But there's 
plenty to do and see if you are passing through -- and 
the occasional moose ambling down a city bike trail or 
a hawk passing through will remind you of the vast 
stretches of wilderness just outside the city borders. 


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Alaska Zoo 
Zoo/Aquarium, South Anchorage 
Caribou, Dall sheep, reindeer, Siberian tigers, musk ox, 
seals, moose, and various Alaskan birds call this home -- 
you'll even find the state's only elephant. The star 
attractions are Oreo, a brown bear, and Ahpun, a polar 
bear; the two were orphaned as cubs and grew up together 
at the zoo. During the summer, the zoo operates a shuttle 
from downtown ($10 round-trip). 2 mi east of New Seward 
Hwy. www.alaskazoo.org. COST: $9. OPEN: May-Labor Day, 
daily 9-6; Labor Day-Apr., daily 10-4:30. 

Address: 4731 O'Malley Rd., Anchorage, AK, USA
Phone: 907/346-3242

Resort, Town, Girdwood 
A ski resort, summer vacation spot, and home to an 
eclectic collection of locals, the town of Girdwood, 
40 mi southeast of Anchorage near the head of 
Turnagain Arm, sits in the trees within a deep valley 
and is backdropped by tall mountains on three sides. 
The main attraction is the Mt. Alyeska Ski Resort, 
the largest ski area in Alaska. Besides enjoying the 
obvious winter attractions, you can mountain hike, 
rent a bike, or visit several restaurants and gift 
shops open all year. Girdwood is wetter than Anchorage; 
it often rains (or snows) here while the sun shines 40 
mi to the north. www.girdwoodalaska.com. 

Museum/Gallery, Downtown 
Children can stand inside a giant soap bubble at the 
bubble lab, visit a starfish in the intertidal marine 
exhibit, check out the creepy insects, learn about the
northern lights, take a galaxy tour in the planetarium, 
or learn how planes fly at this experiential science 
museum. Other attractions include such "radical reptiles" 
as an iguana, an alligator, and even a 19-foot python. 
It's an educational fun house for children and adults 
alike. The upstairs gift shop features all sorts of un-
usual science toys. www.imaginarium.org. COST: $5.50. 
OPEN: Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. noon-5. 

Address: 737 W. 5th Ave., in Glacier Brewhouse Mall, 
Anchorage, AK, USA
Phone: 907/276-3179

Other Places of Interest:

Potter Marsh 
Park, South Anchorage 
Canada geese and other migratory birds as well as the 
occasional moose or beaver frequent this marsh about 
10 mi south of downtown on the Seward Highway. An 
elevated boardwalk makes viewing easy. The Potter 
Section House, an old railroad service building just 
south of the marsh, operates as a state-park office. 
Out front is an old engine with a rotary snowplow 
that was used to clear avalanches. 
www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks. OPEN: Weekdays 8-noon, 

Address: Seward Hwy., Anchorage, AK, USA
Phone: 907/345-5014

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail 
Trail, Downtown 
Strollers, runners, bikers, dog walkers, and in-line 
skaters cram this recreation trail on sunny summer 
evenings, particularly around Westchester Lagoon. In 
winter, cross-country skiers take to it by storm. The 
trail begins off 2nd Avenue, west of Christensen Drive, 
and curls along Cook Inlet for approximately 11 mi to 
Kincaid Park, beyond the airport. In summer, you might 
spot beluga whales offshore in Cook Inlet. Access 
points are on the waterfront at the ends of 2nd, 5th, 
and 9th avenues and at Westchester Lagoon. 
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15 Chandeliers Bed & Breakfast 
$100 to $200, Hillside 
One of Alaska's premier B&Bs, 15 Chandeliers is a 7,000-
square-foot mansion with a spacious front lawn and a big 
patio with floral gardens in the rear. Owners James and 
Audrey Schefers make guests comfortable in five theme 
rooms, all with private baths, antique furnishings, high 
ceilings and chandeliers, queen beds, phones, and tele-
visions, plus access to the common areas. A filling 
breakfast is served buffet style. www.15chandeliers.com. 
5 rooms. In-room: no a/c. In-hotel: no kids under 12, 
no-smoking rooms. AE, MC, V. Full breakfast. 

Address: 14020 Sabine St., Anchorage, AK 99511, USA
Phone: 907/345-3032
Fax: 907/345-3990

Anchorage Hilton 
Over $250, Downtown 
Alaska's largest hotel is just a block from city center 
and fills with cruise-ship tourists all summer long. An 
inviting and ample lobby includes Alaskan touches and is 
flanked by a café and a classy sports bar. The hotel's 
premier restaurant, Top of the World, occupies the 15th 
floor of the west tower. An outdoor deck provides the 
highest outdoor eating experience in town. Well-main-
tained rooms, decorated in a contemporary style with oak 
and maple furnishings, are in two towers, one of which 
is 22 floors. Request a corner north-facing suite on the 
upper levels for Mt. McKinley vistas. www.hilton.com. 
572 rooms, 23 suites. In-room: ethernet. In-hotel: 2 
restaurants, bars, pool, gym. AE, D, DC, MC, V. 

Address: 500 W. 3rd Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Phone: 907/272-7411 or 800/245-2527
Fax: 907/265-7044

Aspen Hotel 
$150 to $200, Downtown 
Part of a small Alaskan-owned chain, the Aspen opened 
in 2003 and is Anchorage's newest downtown hotel. Rooms 
are large and comfortably furnished with a single king 
or two queen beds, a writing table, 27-inch TV, DVD 
player, mini-fridge, and microwave. Two-room suites 
include a larger refrigerator, stovetop, and pull-out 
sofa; some also feature in-room Jacuzzis. The hotel is 
just a block from the museum and Delaney Park Strip, 
and has limited off-street parking plus a pool and 
Jacuzzi downstairs. www.aspenhotelsak.com. 75 rooms, 
14 suites. In-room: refrigerator, DVD. In-hotel: pool, 
gym, laundry service, airport shuttle, Internet. AE, D, 
DC, MC, V. Continental breakfast. 

Address: 108 E. 8th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Phone: 907/868-1605 or 888/506-7848
Fax: 907/868-3520

Arctic Roadrunner 
American, Under $10, Downtown 
Every year when locals vote for Anchorage's best burger 
joint, Arctic Roadrunner comes out on top. Forget 
McDonald's -- these cheeseburgers are the real thing. 
Eat in or drive through and head to nearby Valley of 
the Moon Park for a sack lunch with the kids. Ultrathick 
milk shakes and crunchy onion rings are also on every-
body's list of favorites. No credit cards. Closed Sun. 

Address: 2477 Arctic Blvd., Anchorage, AK, USA
Phone: 907/279-7311

Crow's Nest Restaurant 
Contemporary, Over $25, Downtown 
In the Hotel Captain Cook, American and French cuisine 
is the order of the day, along with the best view in 
Anchorage -- the Chugach Mountains to the east, the 
Alaska Range to the north, and the sprawling city of 
Anchorage 20 stories below. Equally impressive are the 
10,000-bottle wine cellar and hefty portions. The expert 
waitstaff presents a menu of seafood, along with game 
and other meats, served in an elegant setting with plenty 
of starched linen, brass, and teak. It's best known for a 
leisurely five-course set Chef's Tasting menu: $70 per 
person or $110 with wine pairings. Reservations essential. 
AE, D, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. and Mon. in winter. No 

Address: Hotel Captain Cook, 20th floor, 5th Ave. and K 
St., Anchorage, AK, USA
Phone: 907/343-2217
Gwennie's Old Alaskan Restaurant 
American, $10 to Over $25, Midtown 
Historic Alaskan photos, stuffed animals, and memora-
bilia adorn this old family favorite, just south of 
city center toward the airport. Lunch and dinners are 
available -- including an all-you-can-eat beef barbecue 
for $17 -- but the restaurant is best known for its 
old-fashioned breakfasts, available all day. Try the 
sourdough pancakes, reindeer sausage and eggs, or crab 
omelets. Start the morning the right way with 
Anchorage's best Bloody Mary. AE, D, DC, MC, V. 

Address: 4333 Spenard Rd., Anchorage, AK, USA
Phone: 907/243-2090

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