Infamous Alaskans: The Witch of Kantishna

Fanny Quigley Cabin

Alaska’s history is full of characters whose stories are as wild and fascinating as the land in which they lived. Fannie Quigley, a wilderness woman whose colorful reputation earned her the “Witch of Kantishna” nickname, is one of them.

Fannie came to Alaska in the late 1800s. She was an expert drinker and cusser whose famed foul language she picked up while working more than 15 years in railroad camps and lawless mining towns. She was also industrious, funding her way along the gold rush trails by making and selling meals out of a canvas tent she hauled on a sled. Fannie eventually made her way to Kantishna on the northern side of Denali. It was in this remote wilderness that she made her home.

Having quite the green thumb, Fannie proved that with a little care and effort you could grow bountiful produce even in Alaska. She built her gardens on top of the tundra, hewing planks and digging stones to form terraced beds she later filled with soil up hauled up from the valley floor. A cold frame extended the scant 10-week growing season. In these beds she cultivated rhubarb, cabbage, onions, rutabagas, cauliflower, potatoes, lettuce, and even warm weather crops like corn, tomato, and cucumber.

Fanny Quigley CabinHer gardens weren’t all for sustenance. In a show of whimsy for an otherwise pragmatic woman, Fannie also grew flowers, propagating poppies, pansies, and wildflowers that she’d later press and dry. In the winter she worked on a fine embroidered tablecloth, recreating those pretty flowers in thread. (more…)

Your Alaska Travel Update: Here’s What’s New for 2019

Totem Inn Valdez

At Alaska Tour & Travel, we’re always looking for new accommodations, activities, and ways of getting around in this beautiful state. For the 2019 travel season we’re excited to add several new options to the list of more than 200 quality products we book for you. (more…)

Alaska in 4 Days: Making the Most of a Short Stay in AK

Alyeska Tram

When people daydream about a trip to Alaska, it’s usually epic. There’s a cruise and a land package, a couple train rides, a few remote destinations. While these big bucket-list adventures are amazing, it’s also possible to get a taste of Alaska when your paid time off and budget don’t allow for such a long vacation. Here’s how you make the most of a short trip in Alaska.

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Talkeetna Eats: Part Two

With so much to experience in Alaska, it’s easy to forget about the food that fuels your travels. Talkeetna puts great eats right alongside the fun of a train ride and thrill of glimpsing big wildlife. It is one our favorite food towns in the state, so much so that we couldn’t limit our recommendations to a single article. So, without further ado, it’s part two of our top Talkeetna eats.

Mountain High Pizza Pie Talkeetna AlaskaFamily recipes rule the menu at Mountain High Pizza Pie. Sauce, dough for subs and crusts, and soups pull from these treasured heirlooms, so it’s no exaggeration to say that everything they offer is yum. If you have time to enjoy a meal out on their covered patio after flightseeing around Denali or ziplining through boreal forests, you can’t beat a Papa Georgio pizza or Ravioli Dinner. If you’re hurrying on to your next excursion, try one of their hot Italian Flatbread Sandwiches to go.

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Seeking Seward’s Magical Temperate Rainforest

Seward Alaska Temperate Rainforest

Seward‘s waters have a way of drawing attention — and rightfully so. The deep blue-green hue, the reflection of snow-tipped mountains, and the potential for spotting some of Alaska’s iconic marine wildlife all draw our state’s many summertime visitors into Resurrection Bay for day tours and cruises alike. But bordering that waterway lies yet another remarkable ecosystem: The temperate rainforest. (more…)

Trip Report: Kayaking Bear Glacier Lagoon

The team at Alaska Tour & Travel is an adventurous bunch, and we don’t take recommending day-trip tours and excursions lightly. That’s why, when we’re not manning the phones at our office in Anchorage, we like to go out and experience what our guests will. Next stop? Paddling among blue giants in Kenai Fjords National Park’s Bear Glacier Lagoon.

Bear Glacier Lagoon Kayak

Paddling in the Lagoon, Bear Glacier capped in clouds in the background

Our trip began on a typical Seward morning: Drizzly, with clouds in shades of grey skimming the green mountains around Resurrection Bay. We met Libby, our Liquid Adventures guide, at their office at the north end of the small boat harbor. With our standard waivers signed, Libby cheerfully got down to the business of briefing and outfitting. We were each issued a dry suit, rubber clogs, dry bag, and waterproof case for our phones. Thus equipped, our group of six paddlers shuffled down the boardwalk and into the harbor to meet the boat. (more…)

Talkeetna Eats: Part One

When the opportunity arises, I spend a lot of time in Talkeetna visiting with friends at our favorite local restaurants and pubs. For the size of this small town, which boasts less than 1,000 year-round residents, there’s a delicious array of ways to satisfy hungry Whether that vacation takes you into town for a half-day fishing excursion or perhaps to spend a night or two at a Talkeetna lodge, a morning in Talkeetna should start with a trip down to the historic Talkeetna Roadhouse on Main Street. (more…)

Kenai Fjords National Park Day Cruise Options

aialik-glacierOne of the most popular national parks in Alaska is Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward is the small coastal community located at the entrance of the park. Located about 130 miles south of Anchorage, Seward is easily accessible by car, bus or train. From Seward you can take a day cruise out to see all the park has to offer. Kenai Fjords National Park is known for great marine wildlife viewing, such as whales, sea lions, otters and lets not forgot its glaciers!

There are several types of cruises offered out of Seward: “National Park” cruises that go 110-120+ miles round trip and shorter “Resurrection Bay” cruises that go about 55 miles round trip. It is important to understand that the longer the cruise the better chance you have to see wildlife as well as additional tidewater glaciers. It is also helpful to know that two companies operate Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay cruises – Kenai Fjords Tours and Major Marine Tours. Both companies have good reputations so choosing what company and what cruise to take really comes down to identifying which cruise is best for you based on your own preferences and schedule. (more…)

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