Difference between revisions of "Interior Alaska"
Revision as of 00:07, 21 September 2010
Central Alaska is a region in Alaska.
The greater Fairbanks area is a strange place. Fairbanks proper is like a lot of towns in the lower 48. There's a Wal-Mart, a Home Depot and a McDonald's. Don't let this fool you. There are plenty of Alaskan originals here.
Chena Hot Springs, located about an hour's drive from Fairbanks, is one of the best attractions in the interior of Alaska. The hotel is run almost entirely on geothermal energy, and the greenhouses grow food for the restaurant. The hot springs themselves are best enjoyed in the wintertime, when the icy air contrasts nicely with the hot water. Because of the lack of light pollution, it's also a wonderful area in which to view the Northern Lights.
In Fairbanks itself, there is the University. A dynamic research University, there are ongoing studies about everything from the best ways to engineer buildings for the harsh Alaskan landscape to climate change. There's a museum featuring Alaska Native arts, a botanical garden, and a large animal research station with plenty of muskox and reindeer to view. The University of Alaska system as a whole is making a push for sustainability, and this can be easily seen in the many greenhouses dotted around the campus. Many of the vegetables served in the dining halls and cafes are grown right on campus.
Pioneer Park (formerly Alaskaland) is also located in Fairbanks. It features actual pioneer homes that were moved from the downtown area into a central location that people can wander through to learn more about the pioneering history of Alaska.
One of the best things about Fairbanks is that it's home to so many locally owned, mom-and-pop shops that big chain restaurants just don't flourish. For breakfasts, places like the Alaska Coffee Roasting Company and Lulu's Bagels are local favorites. They have great atmospheres in which to sit and chat, and the food is tough to beat. In the summer, there are many small stands that open up which serve surprisingly good eats. Bun on the Run and Hot Licks Ice Cream are two that locals talk about with reverence and eagerly anticipate when the snow starts to melt. It will surprise most people to hear that Fairbanks is home to some of the best Thai food you'll ever find. There's a debate among people who live here about which is the best: Lemongrass, Pad Thai, or the Thai House. They each have signature dishes for which people will travel many miles. SilverGulch brewery is a fairly short drive outside of Fairbanks in Fox. The food and beer are excellent, and the drive itself is worth it because of the scenery and the views of the Alaska oil pipeline. If you're camping and would like to stock up on food to cook, the HomeGrown Market has locally raised (and reasonably priced) meats, as well as in-season fruits and vegetables.