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Romantic Alaska

Dine Like a Local
Romantic Alaska
Forget the same ol’, same ol’ romantic vacations. Snuggling up to an Alaskan adventure—say, camping under the northern lights or kayaking under a waterfall—is next-level eternal love sort of stuff.
Photo by age fotostock
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    Dine Like a Local
    Dine Like a Local

    Alaska has long been known for its seafood and, at the Alaska State Fair, giant vegetables (which usually end up as snacks for animals at the zoo). And of course, hearty meat dishes, too, including burgers. But today’s Alaska has loads more choices for locals and visitors alike. There’s a lot of pride in produce grown in Alaska (the carrots!), and you’ll see it highlighted on restaurant menus around the state. The restaurant scene has also taken a huge leap forward, with plenty of international choices on offer. (Some of the most New York-y pizza in the state is produced on the edge of the Bering Sea.) Asian cuisine is beginning to make an appearance, too, including Vietnamese and Thai.There's even an Alaskan spin on Mediterranean. Try to befriend some locals while you’re in town; Alaskans are often a welcoming lot. There’s a good chance you’ll end up at a summer party, fresh-caught salmon and halibut on the grill, local beers in growlers all around.

    Photo by age fotostock
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    Stay Cozy on a Cruise Ship
    Stay Cozy on a Cruise Ship
    One of the most popular ways to get to Alaska is by cruise ship from Seattle or Vancouver, Canada. Cruise season runs from April to September, when the weather is mild and clear and eagles fly in groups overhead. Relax on a pristine patio deck with the Pacific Ocean waving before you while you sip on a refreshing cocktail. Your every need will be taken care of, as the ship’s captain steers you toward each major Alaskan sight, from Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier through Resurrection Bay to Seward’s snow-tipped peaks. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the wilderness on your own, safe in the knowledge that your comfortable ride home is waiting for you.
    Photo by Jake Stangel
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    Raise a Pint
    Raise a Pint
    While craft beer has grown from niche to mainstream in the rest of the States, the trend has always been respected in Alaska, where dozens of brewers compete with hundreds of seasonal beers each year. Swing by HooDoo Brewing in Fairbanks for highly rated brews including a German Kölsch or porters. Or hop on a Big Swig Tour out of Anchorage for a day of drinking, learning, and hanging out at breweries.
    Photo courtesy of Big Swig
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    A Land of Picture-Perfect Sunsets
    A Land of Picture-Perfect Sunsets
    In the summer months, most of Alaska sees around 18 hours of sunlight per 24-hour period, much of which is a prolonged state of twilight, with the sun dangling tauntingly over the horizon. For true eternal sunlight, make the long trip out to Barrow, on the tip of the far north, where darkness approaches but never really settles in. This ongoing sunset is good for two things: incomparably gorgeous photo ops and a nearly manic Alaskan population, noticeably livelier than during the cold winter. Try to visit near the summer solstice, around June 21, to experience the longest day of your life in Anchorage before the sun sets near midnight.
    Photo courtesy of Chris McLennan/State of Alaska Tourism Office
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    Stop and Smell the Flowers
    Stop and Smell the Flowers
    Spend an afternoon in Anchorage exploring one of its many quiet urban parks. Rent a city bike to glide through Kincaid Park on the western tip, and enjoy a private picnic overlooking Turnagain Arm and the distant Fire Island, beautifully set up when the sun sets in the distance. Alternately, head north to the coastal Earthquake Park for a peaceful pass through memorials of the 75 homes destroyed by the Great Alaskan earthquake of 1964. To literally smell the flowers: Take a hike during the summer months, when Alaska’s wildflowers go crazy.
    Photo courtesy of Frank Flavin/State of Alaska Tourism Office
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    Traditional Alaskan Breakfast
    Traditional Alaskan Breakfast
    Alaskans believe in hearty morning meals, so indulge along with them and order a reindeer sausage omelette, crab cake Benedict, and fresh sourdough bread; alternatively, opt for Belgian waffles and heavy pancakes topped with whipped cream and fresh wild berries. Most breakfast joints serve breakfast any time of the day, but expect long morning lines at some of Anchorage’s most popular restaurants, like Snow City Cafe and Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop. The latter is a contemporary bakery with old-style charm, famous for its buckwheat cinnamon rolls and quirky twists on traditional sourdough. For a real local experience, check out the Resurrect Art Coffee House, housed in a former church, to peruse the art while sippin unmatched espresso drinks, or stop Froth & Forage Coffeehouse and Eatery for a jolt of caffeine and a doughnut breakfast sandwich.
    Photo courtesy of Snow City Cafe
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    Romantic Lodge Getaways
    Romantic Lodge Getaways
    Alaska’s rustic scenery is perfect for a romantic escape from downtown Anchorage or Juneau. Forget about shopping and just relax and enjoy being in the wilderness on its own merits. Rent a car and drive south from Anchorage to Summit Lake or Upper Trail Lake on the Kenai Peninsula. Here, truly isolated waterside cabins are protected by stands of skinny balsam poplars and delicate paper birches. Or hole up for a long weekend of cooking, wandering, and drinking wine at Tutka Bay Lodge. Alternatively, drive north from Juneau to Mendenhall Lake, where a smattering of spread-out getaway lodges sit within a stone’s throw of the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier.
    Photo courtesy of Tutka Bay Lodge