Special Correspondent Juno Kim spent a week in Fairbanks…the Golden Heart City. Here is her report…Scott
The year 2020 marks the year without travel. However it allowed me to explore Alaska in more depth. One of those places was Fairbanks. I had traveled to Fairbanks a few years ago but I never went back other than one trip for work. This time, I spent a few days getting to know the Golden Heart City much better and was pleasantly surprised. Most importantly, the diversity of Fairbanks played a big role in my trip. Read on to find out how I traveled the world in Fairbanks, Alaska.
America: Automobile Museum and Sophie Station
Travel back to the late 19th century in America at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. It’s a museum dedicated to the history of automobiles, a collection of antique clothes, and the unique role automobiles played developing Alaska. The museum is adjacent to the Bear Lodge and Wedgewood Resort.
The most amazing thing about this museum is that most of these antique cars still run! You can see video footage of the cars running behind the museum. My absolute favorite vehicle at the museum is the 1926 Fordson Snowmotor.
Finish the tour of America at Sophie Station Suites, located near the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Locally owned and operated, Sophie Station captures the essence of the Fairbanks experience and provides guests style and comfort in the Golden Heart City. Click HERE for reservations at Sophie Station.
I traveled to Moldova just a few years ago and absolutely loved it. It was at the end of my long journey through Central and Eastern Europe. Traveling in this small country wedged between Romania and Ukraine, I was blown away by its raw, authentic, and vibrant culture.
After hearing that there’s a Moldovan restaurant in Fairbanks, we had to check it out. The name of the restaurant is Soba. I walked into Soba and it was like I was back in Moldova again. The dishes, decorations, tablecloths; everything about it was completely Moldova.
The restaurant is, of course, run by a Moldovan family. And most of the staff are also Moldovan. Our server was quite surprised to hear that we had traveled to Moldova. We shared fond memories of her home country, ate authentic food (mamaliga!), and re-lived our memories of Moldova.
Fairbanks is well known for excellent Thai food. There are many great Thai restaurants but one place that stands out is Lemongrass.
Run by the Navachai family, Lemongrass has been serving authentic Thai cuisine since 1996. We ordered a few signature Thai dishes that we often had in Thailand: Panang curry, Larb, and Khao Soi. Every bite reminded me of hot, humid, and sweaty Thailand. We haven’t been back to Thailand in years so this was heavenly. I haven’t had really good Khao Soi in a while and it was spot-on.
Japan: Oishi Bakery
Asian savory baked goods are a simple pleasure. Oishi Bakery is located in downtown Fairbanks. It’s small but full of delicious goods. Biting into the curry pan was pure happiness. They also have hot dishes that you can order to go. Hot tip; if you go after 5 pm on Saturdays, everything is 50% off! Of course, I went back on Saturday after 5 pm to pick up a few more goodies.
China: Sipping Streams Tea Company
I was recommended to visit Sipping Steam because I have a passion for tea. Jenny Tsi, the owner, is an energetic and knowledgeable entrepreneur who lives and breathes tea! The amount of knowledge and experience Jenny has is astonishing.
This is the power of tea and travel. Jenny and I got connected through social media after my visit and she invited me to be on her popular podcast, The Essence of Tea. You can hear about it here. Tea was one of the strongest driving factors of our past travels but I never thought of it that way. China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, England, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and many other places, I have strong memories connected to tea. It was great to tie them all up and talk about it.
Alaska: Museum of the North and Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center
Learn all about the natural history of Alaska and rich Alaska Native culture at two institutions in Fairbanks: Museum of the North and Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center. If you’re new to Alaska, the Museum of the North can teach you a lot about Alaska. My favorite place in this museum is The Place Where You Go To Listen. Unfortunately, it was closed due to maintenance this time but my last visit was transformative. The Place Where You Go to Listen is a unique sound and light environment created by Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams.
Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center has a free exhibit featuring culture and history of the Alaska Native people in the region. There are full size dioramas displaying the traditional and modern lifestyle of Alaskans, as well as a display about Morris Thompson, the namesake of this place.
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