Meet me in Ketchikan…Alaska’s First City

In Alaska Travelgram by scott

Make plans now to visit Ketchikan, Alaska’s “First City”.  For those of us who live on Alaska’s Rail Belt, Ketchikan may well be regarded as the “Last City” before hitting Canada and the Lower 48. Above, looking north from Salmon Falls Resort.

Whether first or last, Ketchikan is a great place to visit. Believe it or not, the cruise ships still are sailing into port, which means many of the tour offers and shops still are available.

I arrived early in the morning on Alaska Air’s nonstop from Juneau (the view from my window seat on Alaska flight 70, above). Your first excursion when arriving by air is to take the Ketchikan airport ferry. It’s $6 for passengers (below, the m/v Ken Eichner, which sails between the airport and town). If you’re renting a car, it’s typically cheaper to pick it up on the “town side” rather than paying extra to drive it from the airport’s parking lot on to the ferry and back.

I lucked out on accommodations. Jim and Nicole Church own and operate the Black Bear Inn (pictured, below). It’s right on the water. More importantly, the Churches are gracious hosts. It’s a real bed-and breakfast. There’s plenty to munch on in the morning: fruit, cereal, sweet rolls, yogurt….the works. The coffee is hot and the views are spectacular.

My room was up on the second floor (pictured, below, with Nicole) with a nice table for my laptop so I could see the water ($197/night). There’s also a fully-contained separate unit for a family. 

The view from my “office” at Black Bear Inn (below).

There’s lots of cool stuff to do in Ketchikan, including:

Fishing. My friends Jeff Wedekind and Nadra Angerman own Chinook Shores Lodge on the north end of the road by Knudsen Cove. It’s a lovely piece of paradise. They offer packages where anglers stay for a week at their lodge—and drive their own boats. CLICK HERE to check it out:

BUT, Nadra sent me a list of guides that they like if you want to go out for just a day or two:

Action Adventure Charters: Kevin Beck, 607-617-0015 [email protected]
Alaska Dream Sportfishing : Kit Willet, (907) 225-1672 [email protected]
Anglers Adventures & Outfitters: Brian Ringeissen, (907) 254-0880 [email protected]
Reel Alaskan Sportfishing: Gage Heath, 907-617-3590 [email protected] 
Santa’s Choice Charters: Alex Rudolph (406) 871-1054,  [email protected]

Ziplining: Kawanti Adventures runs a great zipline course south of town by an old hatchery. There’s also a rainforest walk, a totem park and a logging museum.  #TourSaverCoupon

Flightseeing: Fly with Taquan Air to Misty Fjords National Monument. Spectacular! #TourSaverCoupon

Ferry to Prince of Wales Island. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority (IFA) runs every day from Ketchikan to Hollis. You need a car to explore the island! #TourSaverCoupon

Kayaking: I haven’t sailed with these folks—but it looks like fun.

Shopping: Check out historic Creek Steet downtown (pictured, above). There are two stores I really like: Soho Coho, featuring the art of Ray Troll, Evon Zerbetz…and more. The other store I really like is Parnassus Books. I always spend time in both of these shops…right by Ketchikan Creek.

Beer Drinking: it’s one of my favorite hobbies. A block away from Creek Street is my favorite Ketchikan micro-brewery, Bawden Street Brewing. I met a friend there (above) and had a great time.

Coffee time: My new favorite coffee is “Local Grounds”, a drive-thru set-up near Walmart. Two thumbs up. Caution: they’ll charge you an extra 50 cents for cream. 

Over the years I’ve come to love my visits to Ketchikan. You will, too! Surf over to Visit Ketchikan’s website for more info.

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