Saturday 4 April 2009

New auto museum and trolley service opens in Fairbanks and more

Guests who lodge with Fairbanks' Fountainhead Hotels in 2009 can take advantage of the new trolley service around town. Stops include downtown Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Pioneer Park and the Alaska Salmon Bake as well as three Fountainhead properties: Sophie Station, Wedgewood Resort and the Bridgewater Hotel. Hop off at Wedgewood Resort and explore the 30,000-square-foot Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, which opens June 1. Old wheels roll to new life with the impressive collection of over 60 eye-popping carriages, steam cars, brass-era autos, luxurious 1930s sedans and oddities such as early electric cars, midget racers and cycle cars. The collection will display over 60 historically significant American automobiles and showcase the interesting heritage of the automobile during Alaska's post-Gold Rush era. Visitors will be able to view repair projects taking place in the museum's shop and can expect to see some of the cars driving around the resort on summer evenings. For more information, visit

Contact: Nancy DeWitt, Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
Phone: (907) 458-6112

Haines museum exhibit features a cultural beat

Haines's Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center is one of four Alaska venues that will host the traveling Smithsonian Museum exhibit entitled "New Harmonies: Celebrating America Roots Music" in 2009. The exhibition provides a glimpse into America's cultural history through root music, known commonly as blues, country western, folk ballads, gospel and Native American music. Visitors will learn fascinating facts about familiar songs, instrument histories, the influence of religion and technology on music and more. To help show off the exhibit, the Haines Arts Council and other sponsors will host an array of music-themed festivities. The annual Southeast Alaska State Fair will kick off on July 30 with a concert featuring the well-known Yup'ik musical group Pamyua. The 2009 fair, which runs through Aug. 1, will also include a museum booth where visitors can stop by for a children's drum-making workshop, performances by local, national and international musicians and more. Haines will also host weekly concerts while "New Harmonies" is open and will present a local exhibit highlighting roots music in the Chilkat Valley. Travelers can visit "New Harmonies" at the Sheldon Museum June 26 - Aug. 8. Other Alaska communities hosting the exhibit include the Alutiiq Museum and Archeological Repository in Kodiak, the Dorothy Page Museum in Palmer and the Pratt Museum in Homer. For more information, visit


New Mat-Su tours offer quick trip to Alaska's glaciers

New opportunities for exploring Alaska's glaciers have opened up near the population and transportation hubs of Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. — formed through a partnership of Grasshopper Aviation, Willow Creek Kennels and Knik River Lodge — offers all-inclusive flightseeing tours with a glacier landing and dogsledding option just one hour northeast of Anchorage in the Knik Glacier Valley. Packages include shuttle service from downtown Anchorage, flightseeing, dogsledding with an Iditarod musher or glacier hike, and a meal prepared by the award-winning executive chef of the new Knik River Lodge. Travelers will fly near the highest peak in the Chugach, the 13,176-foot Mount Marcus Baker, and land at the 5,000-foot level in a spectacular amphitheatre of steep granite peaks. Half- and full-day tours are available with the option to overnight at Knik River Lodge. See for details. Meanwhile, Alaska Adventure Unlimited now offers day tours to Matanuska Glacier with Dall sheep viewing and glacier trekking. The only tour of its kind in the Mat-Su Valley, the "Mat-Su Glimpse of Alaska" tour departs from downtown Anchorage providing a convenient pre-cruise or add-on trip. Expert guides accompany travelers on the short drive to the Matanuska Valley with a stop at the Eklutna Native Village and Iditarod Race Headquarters, where they will meet an Iditarod musher and even experience the thrill of the trail on a summer sled dog tour. Guests then travel along the scenic roadway to Chickaloon and experience glacier trekking on Matanuska Glacier before returning to Anchorage. For more information, visit

Contact: Corky Champagne-Einarsen, Alaska Adventure Unlimited
Phone: (907) 373-3494

Paddlers start your engines for Alaska's longest paddle race

The first-ever Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race — a grueling endurance paddle race down the Yukon River — will occur this summer. Currently, 18 teams are registered to paddle for seven to 12 days down the Yukon River for an arduous 1,000-mile course, beginning in Whitehorse, Canada, past the city of Dawson, across the United States/Canada border, through the Yukon Flats and ending at the Dalton Highway at the trans-Alaska oil pipeline crossing. Teams will compete in tandem canoes, kayaks and voyageur canoes or teams of two in solo canoes or kayaks traveling together. Competitors are required to carry Spot™ devices, which contain a GPS receiver, phone messenger and panic button enabling race authorities to track each team's position and progress. Racers will also be required to report their position on a regular basis and make six-hour stops each night. The 2009 Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race will get underway July 20. For more information, visit

National Park Service strikes gold with historical donation

Stampeders to Alaska may have struck it rich in the late 1800s, but in 2009 the National Park Service's Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and the Municipality of Skagway have struck gold of their own. Through a generous donation by the Rasmuson Foundation, four historic buildings and a large collection of Gold Rush-era memorabilia have passed into public ownership. The extraordinary Rapuzzi Collection showcases an estimated 450,000 historical objects from the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 and early Skagway life. Spanning nearly three quarters of a century, the collection includes a number of unique articles, including an original streetcar, signs from the Chilkoot Trail and Skagway businesses of the era, scores of photographs and more. Among the acquired buildings are Soapy Smith's parlor and the George Rapuzzi home. The National Park Service will display a portion of the collection this summer in its visitor center. While in Skagway, visitors can explore the National Park Service-managed Chilkoot Trail — the route traveled by thousands of gold seekers during the Gold Rush — through day hikes or multi-day trips into Canada. For more information, visit


Spotlight on the 50th – Passport to the Kenai

Kenai Fjords Tours is participating in the "Passport to the Kenai" promotion sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council by offering a buy-one, get-one 50 percent off deal on one of its day cruises into Kenai Fjords National Park. Guests will receive a 50 percent discount on an 8 a.m. National Park Tour with the purchase of another 8 a.m. National Park Tour at regular price for the same date of travel. Guests will be treated to a healthy lunch onboard while enjoying the spectacular scenery of Kenai Fjords National Park, which is home to thousands of sea birds, Steller sea lions, whales and more. This special is available for tours between May 30 and Sept 7 and not valid with any other promotions. For more information, click HERE.


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