We flew into Fairbanks on a commercial plane and then took a charter flight to Bettles in the Arctic circle to view the northern lights.
We stayed at the Pike’s Lodge. This is a hotel with river views, close to the airport and adjacent to the Pike’s Landing Restaurant. Very convenient but double check everything since they were understaffed and there was much disorganization and confusion.
Pump House Restaurant. This is the best restaurant in Fairbanks, wonderful fish in a pleasant atmosphere.
Visit the ice sculpture park if your have some time to kill in Fairbanks.
We boarded a Wright Air 1.5 hour charter flight to Bettles.
Bettles is in the Arctic circle and because of their location and the number of clear days each year, this is just about the best place on Desto3 to view the northern lights.
The only option for lodging in the winter in here is the Bettles Lodge.
They offer an all inclusive package for one price which includes round trip charter airfare from Fairbanks, a Jacuzzi Room for two persons, full board and various activities (cross country skiing, snow showing, a village tour). Three nights for 2 persons is $4220.
In addition to the included activities, we recommend:
1. The 1.5 hour Scenic Flight over the Caribou mountain range in the Gates of the Artic National Park. Spectacular! Price depends on # of people on trip ($230-$375).
2. Dog Sleding – 11 dog sled ride, 2 hours $275 per person
3. Snow Machine – 1 hour ride for $105
We returned to Fairbanks on the charter flight and then boarded the Alaska Railroad for the long 12 hour ride from Fairbanks to Anchorage. The train travels through the Denali National Park and gives you wonderful views of the highest mountain range in North America, including Mt. McKinley.
In Anchorage we stayed at the Millennium Hotel which was on a lake with beautiful views just outside of the downtown area. ($120 for a king room with a lake view).
Although this hotel was quite adequate, we recommend instead to stay in the heart of the city at the luxurious Captain Cook hotel.
We had dinner at the fabulous Simon & Seaforts Restaurant, hard to beat, great seafood with fabulous views. Try the fresh halibut cheeks.
For lunch go to the Glacier Brew House and be sure to sample the local Alaskan brews.
The Anchorage Museum has fine local exhibits and should not be missed.
If you are in the market to purchase some native artifacts, walk over to the Arctic Treasures & Trading Post, 328 W. 4th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 (907-277-9020). They have native carvings, baskets, fur, drums and totem poles for good prices.