The next morning we had the best breakfast in Alaska at the Aurora Express B&B. The breakfast was served in the dining car. Mike is such a skillful chef. Everything was so tasty, from reindeer sausage, fancy omelet to amazing French toast. I couldn’t praise more of this B&B. Do stay here if you ever visit Fairbanks.
BTW, I promised Susan to write a stellar review for Aurora Express in TripAdvisor. Well, it hasn’t been done yet. You know, I owe a lot to TripAdvisor when searching for lodging info. So I feel obliged to give back and contribute as well. Especially info about places that are low-key that people don’t know much about. Anyway, if you stumble upon a TA review of an Alaska hotel that sounds oh-so-familiar, that’d probably be me. :)
The Riverboat Discovery Tour is rated the #1 boat tour in North America. This is a must for any visitor to Fairbanks. Advanced reservations necessary.
Welcome aboard the Riverboat Discovery! My first time on a sternwheeler.
From Denali National Park, Fairbanks is another 135 miles further north. Read about Denali NP here. Our first stop was Gold Dredge No. 8 Tour. We walked in to find out that it had been fully booked that afternoon. I didn’t realize this tour was popular and made a mistake by ‘not’ making an advanced reservation. We were lucky to be able to book ourselves for the next day.
North Pole and Santa Claus House
After that, we went to a small town called North Pole, Alaska. It’s only 15 miles from downtown Fairbanks. The main attraction here is the Santa Claus House.
My upcoming vacation comes sooner than expected. In fact, it was a sudden, spontaneous decision. A ‘spur-of-the-moment’ kind of trip. Since it was quite urgent, we didn’t want to go abroad. Somehow our ‘domestic’ destination has turned out to be one of the most exotic and remote destinations in the world! Right here in the land of the US of A.
It is a land of contrasts. It is America’s largest state in terms of land and wealthiest in terms of cash reserves, yet was bought from Russia a century ago for only a penny. (Well, not literally ‘a penny’, but still.) Its median household income is ranked behind only industrialized Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut. Yet it is still mostly untamed, and some Native Alaskans in remote areas still follow subsistence way of life like their forefathers. The only place in the world where residents get paid from the government; not the other way round. The state does not tax its residents and even pay them annual ‘dividends’ out of its $40 billion state fund. The state capital, Juneau, is the only capital city in the world that is not accessible by land. You have to go there by plane or cruise. Welcome to Alaska.