“Hello, Central!” That’s the greeting I got disembarking Alaska Air #151 from Anchorage to Nome. My guide, Hizzoner Richard Beneville, was waiting for me.
The company he founded, Nome Discovery Tours , offers day tours and overnight visits from Anchorage to Nome. It’s a great way to visit the Gold Rush City.
So—Richard really is the town’s mayor. But he’s been an evangelist for the town for decades. In fact, the Alaska Travel Industry Assn. recently awarded him a Lifetime Acheivement Award for his contribution to the town, our state and the travel industry.
To say Richard knows the town like the back of his hand is an understatement. He knows everybody in the town, their kids and their parents. Nobody is a stranger. And he’s happy to share these stories with you while giving you an overview of how the town exploded from a small fishing village to a gold rush metropolis in 1899.
Modern-day Nome boasts a front-row seat on the effects of climate change in Alaska: changing weather patterns, sea ice formations, degradation of the tundra and trans-polar travel.
The town also is a regional transportation hub for 17 villages in the region—from Savoonga and Gambell to Unalakleet and Shaktoolik. There’s a brand-new hospital which also is the biggest building in town. Nome also hosts the finish line to the world-famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race—along 1,049 miles of trail from Anchorage.
And of course, mining still is a major economic engine in the region. On any day, you can see floating dredges offshore, scooping up “paydirt” from the ocean floor.
The road system offers a chance to see all manner of wildlife and mining history on the outskirts of town. Richard has some secret spots to show where lots of gold was found, where aviators flew planes over to Russia in World War II, where the best wildflowers are—and where to see Musk ox. It’s all part of the tour!
Check out the pictures. Then call Explore Tours to book your trip to Nome!
PRO TIP: Get a copy of the Alaska TourSaver book and use the coupon to get 2-for-1 on the Day Trip or the Overnight Adventure PLUS 2-for-1 Anchorage-Nome airfare on Alaska Airlines!
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