Exploring Portage Valley, AK

One of our favorite spots to explore and play it out in Portage Valley. Located just 45 minutes outside of Anchorage, it winds back into heavy woods to offer secluded campsites, access to Portage Glacier, Portage River, and one the of the longest tunnels (2.5 miles of enclosed highway) in North America to open up to the small seaside city of Whittier and surrounding Prince William Sound.

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In addition to the Begich-Boggs Visitor Center, there are numerous trails to hike as well with guided boat and hiking tours. Whether a full-fledged adventurer or a newbie, there is something for everyone and that is what we love the most!

The dogs always have a great time running themselves silly, and we get in a nice hike and fresh air ourselves 🙂

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Exploring Portage Valley, AK

A mini vacation in downtown Seattle

On a whim, we decided we needed a break from Alaska, so we hopped over to Seattle to celebrate my birthday. It’s funny how you can leave your neighborhood, walk into someone else’s, and it feels like a vacation.

Personally, I blame Groupon. They sent me one of those Getaway emails that had a beautiful hotel in downtown Seattle as a special. I was hooked and it was booked!

The Roosevelt Hotel didn’t disappoint, it was welcoming, clean, and our room was incredible! Fully updated with extra credits allotted to the room, a fun view, and such a comfortable bed. This trip was two months ago and I’m still thinking about those crisp white sheets. With the Groupon deal, we also had a complimentary breakfast delivered swiftly to our room comprised of a banana, greek yogurt, a very large muffin, and juice. It was the perfect early-bird start to our day downtown.

We didn’t want to rent a car and fuss with parking, so we committed to walking everywhere to really soak up what Seattle had to offer. Luckily, Seattle was hovering between 40-50 degrees (a heatwave for us coming from Alaska) and sunny! We spent the morning window shopping and browsing through Pike Place Market, and the gum wall! We hit Local Color Coffee for mid-morning (and late afternoon) pick-me-ups as well as the Pike and Western Wine Shop for birthday wine to share that evening back at the hotel.

When lunchtime rolled around, we were half starved. Mama’s Cantina was the perfect spot to sip margaritas, crunch on chips and salsa, and enjoy hot enchiladas. It was a laid back and quirky place, it’s definitely on the list next time we hit Seattle.

After a lot more exploring and shopping, we committed to the whispered about Underground Tour. I had done this same tour 10 years prior, and let me tell you this was an entirely revamped version. Where you purchase your tickets is conveniently located in a bar, so we hopped over to grab something to sip for the tour. The introduction was hilarious, the tour itself entertaining and engaging, and we left feeling pretty stoked that we had chosen to do it. Next time? We’re thinking about the haunted pub tour.

We found so many little treasures over this corner of the city, fun bookstores, map stores, and lots of shopping centers that we just don’t have in Alaska. It was a day well spent.

On our last day we experienced typical drizzly PNW weather and were thrilled by it. D and I spent the early morning trekking to a new part of town to have breakfast at Biscuit Bitch. I wish I had a picture of our bitchin’ selections but it just didn’t stay plated long enough. Might I suggest the Nutty Bitch, for my Nutella lovers out there? We spent the rest of the day hitting the market one more time and it was even more vibrant than the day before. One of our favorite shops is called All Things Lavender and we will definitely be repeat customers online. Their beard balms and oils are to DIE for.

We cruised along the Alaskan Way and ended back up near our hotel for a quick lunch to warm us up at the Cheesecake Factory. Then it was back to the airport and home we went! It was the perfect way to spend my 27th and I’m grateful to have had such a fun time with D. Our touristy Seattle weekend was a great get-away and we’re excited to go back in August!

Let me know your fav spots for our next trip!
H

A mini vacation in downtown Seattle

Visiting Alaska: Plan Your Trip!

Planning to visit the great northern state of Alaska? Here are some tips to navigating Anchorage, the place that I call home. The first thing you’ll want to do is think about how you’re getting here, how long you want to stay, what season to visit is important to you, and what you want to do while you’re here!

For Your Planning Needs
Check out Visit Anchorage and Trip Advisor
Plan recreational activities in the Kenai Peninsula area here!
 
Where Should You Stay?
Best Hotels in Anchorage – USA News
AirBNB
Springhill Suites
Dimond Center Hotel
The Hotel Captain Cook
The Lakefront Anchorage 

Car Rentals
Alamo
AVIS
Budget
Dollar Rent a Car
Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Dining Experiences
Glacier Brewhouse
Snow City Cafe – Breakfast/Brunch
Bear Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
Simon and Seaforts Saloon and Grill
Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse
Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant
Midnight Sun Brewing Company
Fat Ptarmigan
Crush Wine Bistro and Cellar
Spenard Roadhouse
Midnight Sun Brewing Company
Middle Way Cafe
South Restaurant and Coffee House
Fire Island Rustic Bakery
Tequila 61
Whale’s Tail Wine Bar
Rustic Goat
Blues Central, A Proper Establishment 
Hearth Artisan Pizza
Wild Scoops – Ice Cream Truck
M.A.’s Gourmet Dogs (Food cart!)

Neat Places to Shop
The Wildberry Place
Ozark’s Antiques
Farmer’s Market
Polar Bear Gifts
5th Avenue Mall
The Ulu Factory
Octopus Ink
Sweet Chalet, Artisan Chocolate & Confectionery
AK Starfish / AK Mermaid
The Spice & Tea Exchange 

Get Out and Play
Potters Marsh Bird Sanctuary
Ghost  Tours of Anchorage
Beluga Point
McHugh Creek
Girdwood
Winner Creek Trail
Alyeska
Portage Glacier
Alaska Zoo
Flattop Mountain
Museum
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Alaska Botanical Garden
Top 10 Places in Alaska
Kenai Fjord National Tours
Soldotna, Alaska (2 hours, 40 minute drive from Anchorage, 147 miles)
Nikiski, Alaska (3 hours, 20 minute drive from Anchorage, 171 miles)
Seward, Alaska  (2 hours, 20 minute drive from Anchorage, 127 miles)
Homer, Alaska  (4 hours from Anchorage, 222 miles)
Nikolaevsk, Alaska  (4 hours from Anchorage, 216 miles before Homer)

Fishing in Alaska 
Check out what’s happening on the Kenai River and refer to a fishing guide or two to get ready! June is a great month for fishing!

I Spy … 
Moose
Bear
Bald Eagle
Whales
and so much more!

Visiting Alaska: Plan Your Trip!

Quartz Creek, AK

Let me tell you a little something about Alaskan men. They like to be outside. A lot.

6 am rolls around a Sunday back and I’m greeted to the day with, “B is bailing on fishing today.” Then crickets.

Before I know what I’m doing, I’m rolling over with, “Do you want ME to come with you?”

Not expecting a yes, that’s of course what he exclaimed.

“YES!”

After pulling on layers, throwing on a hat, grabbing puddle boots and feeding the dogs – we hopped into our loaded Nissan and pulled away from the house headed to Coopers Landing which is about a 2-hour drive south from our city.

Let me set the scene: we caffeinate, we get breakfast, we hit the twisty highway leading out of town and out of cell service. We blast music and sing at the top of our lungs. There might be some dancing, and definitely some rain.

We had a blast. Impromptu, refreshing, and fun. This is why I’m marrying this man. The days are never boring and he makes an otherwise lazy Sunday morning an adventure. This is a blessed life and I’m so grateful.

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Quartz Creek, AK

I have a confession. I love to travel. I love travel organization and fashion, I love airports, subways, meeting new people, seeing new things, and eating and drinking different kinds of foods. However, I do not enjoy flying in large planes. Small planes sure, any day of the week. Large planes? I might need a horse tranquilizer.

I’ll be traveling in a few weeks and I’m feeling a little anxious about it. The moment I hit purchase on those tickets my stomach flip-flopped. Partly with excitement, yay organizing a carry-on! And partly with already fearing turbulence and germy air with my weak immune system. Turbulence, I can’t control. Wellness while traveling, I can!

What are some easy ways to stay healthy while traveling through airports & breathing airplane air? 

1. This is a no brainer but stop by the restroom before you board the plane. Use this as an opportunity to give your hands a thorough washing with warm water and soap. I used to think this was silly when I was a kid and I saw my mom do this, but using a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open doors will also cut down tremendously on the amount of germs that hop a ride with you on the plane. Gross, I know. Keep your bags off of the floor as much as possible too.

2. Make sure you have snacks for your flights, this will be easier on your system and your wallet as well as save you from airplane food (news flash, NOT nutritious AND overpriced). Nuts, berries, clementines or bananas, dark chocolate, jerky, granola bars and crackers are all easily and compactly packed and carried.

3. Congested? Allergies? Bring along a strong decongestant and nasal spray, or your medication and take 30-60 minutes before you fly. In flight ear or sinus pain is not a joke my friend. Travel sized tissues are never a bad idea either!

4. Stay hydrated. Let’s be real, flying sucks the moisture straight from your body. Liquids cannot be brought through security, so plan on bringing an empty bottle that you can fill at water stations once you are through. Need to shake it up? Add a flavor mix, immune boosting powder, or bring tea bags – your system will thank you.

5. Eye drops. Remove the contacts. Get those glasses ready. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES. Seriously. Stop that. My mother’s voice is coming out full force today. Keep your peepers sparkling!

6. Wipe your airplane seat DOWN. When you get to your seat, perhaps just take a moment to disinfect your armrest and seating area prior to take-off. Do you really think the flight attendant had the time to thoroughly disinfect every seat between flights? Not a chance I’m okay with taking.

7. Before you drink or eat, sanitize or wash your hands. It might seem a little OCD, but when it comes to infectious diseases, touching contaminated surfaces (basically anything in the airport or airplane) and then inevitably your lovely face is enough to bring you down with a cold from hell.

These are such easy preventative measures to keeping you as healthy as possible for your trip. What are some tried and true methods you have to share? Also, if you know a guy with some tranquilizers, you know who to send him to!

Happy travels!
H