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Ketchikan

Snow Day in Ketchikan, Alaska

  Snow and ice are the first things many people think of when they hear the word “Alaska,” but snow is a rare treat in Ketchikan because we are located in Southeast Alaska’s temperate rainforest. It’s been a long time since the kids of Ketchikan got a real snow day, but when 4 inches of snow fell on the first day of winter break, we had to get out and capture the moment before the rain washed it all away. Ketchikan’s red bridge and the brightly colored houses of the former red light district.  It’s quiet in downtown Ketchikan after the cruise season but local businesses like Soho Coho, The Hive and Parnassus Books remain open through the winter months.  The Ketchikan Creek runs through the heart of downtown Whale Park on Mission Street. According to locals, Whale Park is so…

Alaska Cruise Planning: Where to Find the Highlights

The internet has made vacation planning so much easier, hasn’t it? Well yes, in some ways… but sometimes the sheer volume of information available is overwhelming and it’s hard to know where to even begin to narrow down the choices. Between the excursions sold on board cruise ships and local companies like ours, there are literally hundreds of choices in shore excursions for Alaska cruises. Where do you begin? Start here: our list of the Alaska cruise port highlights is based on our own local knowledge and what our guests have shared about their own cruise experiences. Ketchikan is a great port for kayaking. If kayaking and a floatplane trip to the Misty Fjords are on your bucket list, check out the Orcas Cove/Misty Fjords Flight combination . Photo: Dan Kiely Ketchikan Ketchikan is the first or last stop on…

What’s Special About Ketchikan? And How to See it When You Visit

It’s not often Ketchikanians have an actual ball to attend but our newly elected governor and lieutenant governor chose to recognize the isolation, inaccessibility and uniqueness of Alaskan communities by travelling around Alaska holding inaugural balls in some of Alaska’s bigger towns. Last weekend the Tatsuda family, Greg and I attended the final inaugural ball in Ketchikan. The Ketchikan Governor’s Ball began with bagpiping complete with men in kilts, followed by a story told by Tlingit artist Mary Ida Henrikson and short speeches by the lieutenant governor and governor. Governor Walker is a wonderful speaker; I think the state can feel comfortable with its reins in the hands of a man who, as a child,  had to sneak through a herd of buffalo in 40 below weather to get back inside from the outhouse. He opened his speech with a…

Ketchikan Winter: A photoblog

Dark, damp, chilly and gloomily beautiful: winter in Ketchikan, Alaska. What is it like here in Ketchikan in the winter? Most of the time it’s pretty much like the summer except even rainier, a little chillier, a little snowier and sometimes a whole lot windier.  Ketchikan is in the world’s largest temperate rainforest which means that the temperature is relatively mild all year (usually between 39 and 52 Fahrenheit) and it rains more than it snows. In January this year Ketchikan got just over 31 inches of rain, with 10 of those inches falling in just two days! There were only about five days in the month with no recorded rainfall and we had very little snow. Deer Mountain disappears into the clouds on a misty day in Thomas Basin, Ketchikan, Alaska. The reward for enduring all that rain? Rainbows!…

Kid Ketchikan

Things to with Kids in Ketchikan Every Saturday, the Disney Wonder’s “Wish upon a Star” horn heralds a day of family fun in Ketchikan but it is not just Disney bringing families to Alaska, many other Alaska Cruise lines now offer great kids programming and families are also traveling to Alaska on the Marine Highway ferries, and flying in with Alaska Airlines. Whichever way you travel to Alaska, don’t be afraid to bring the kids. Alaska is a great destination for families and a truly unique place to share with your children. We travel with a tornado of twins who are now almost eight years old: they are active, outdoors loving boys with no patience for being still or shopping, unless it’s in a toy store. When we visited Seattle last year, the only activity that they really did not…

Winter in Ketchikan, Alaska

Playing hide & seek at Totem Bight State Park, Ketchikan, Alaska. “What do you do in the winter?” It’s one of the most common questions our guests ask us. Does life in Ketchikan end once the last cruise ship has set sail? Although the silence downtown is spooky for a couple of days fortunately, for those of us who live in Ketchikan year-round, there is a lot to do in the off season months and, because we are in the midst of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, our winters are not nearly as cold as most people imagine. We do have winter jobs too. I know, it’s unbelievable, but after finishing our ridiculously fun jobs for the season we don’t just kick back and relax or head to warmer climes. Greg often works the sea cucumber dive fishery in the fall…

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