March 10, 2010

i love Juneau.

My third time in second time staying at the Silverbow Inn. If you go to Juneau, stay at the Silverbow Inn. It is a great bed and breakfast ( in the middle of Juneau's historic downtown. Although the building was built in 1914, the rooms are newly reconstructed with European style charm.

If you stay at the inn, you get a ticket for a free breakfast at the bakery, which so happens to be the longest running bakery in the big state of Alaska.

Yes, free...and when you collect $20 in per diem for every meal when traveling, a free breakfast is change in your pocket.

Always a good thing.

However, this bakery is so worth the money. They make their own bagels by boiling and then baking them and also make their own cream cheeses. I had a multigrain bagel with peanut butter. My stomach felt like a rock after, but it was good with more peanut butter slathered on top than I could ever have requested.

Juneau is located on the Gastineau Channel in the panhandle of Alaska. It has been the capitol of Alaska since 1906, when the government of the Alaska Territory was moved from Sitka (also in SE Alaska). The municipality unified in 1970 when Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding borough, which is bigger than both Delaware and Rhode Island and almost bigger than the two states combined.

Anyway, downtown Juneau actually sits at sea level and is built into the side of Mount Juneau. The city is beautiful, as you can see below.

The weather was snowy, sunny, windy, cold, balmy, and rainy while I was in Juneau. Literally, weather passes through this town like I have never seen before. Sitting in Yakatat waiting for our plane to take off for Juneau on Sunday, we had an hour lay over due to "two snow storms that moved through the pass." It was crazy.

Above is Bartlett Regional Hospital's "Tobacco Free Campus" sign.

I think it is a very nice sign.

Monday night we attended a presentation by Dr. Richard Hurt, who is the Director of the Nicotine Dependence Center and a Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. A true leader in the field of tobacco, Dr. Hurt actually testified in the multi-state Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement against the largest tobacco companies. Because of his successful testimony, I have a job.

Thank you Dr. Hurt.

One other thing I should mention about Dr. Hurt is that as an undergraduate he played basketball at Murray State in Kentucky. Let's just say he was a bit excited that they had just won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, punching their ticket to the NCAA tournament.

He was fun to talk with.

So...after the presentation we ate dinner at a fantastic restaurant in Douglas, called The Island Pub ( Jessi (the State of Alaska Cessation grant manager and who was on the site visit with Allen and myself), Allen, and I shared a spanakopita appetizer and the mediterranean chicken pizza, which was a special for the night.

We also enjoyed our choice of an Alaska Brewing Company brew on tap. I chose the IPA.

On Tuesday, after another day of "site visiting" Bartlett Regional Hospital, Allen and I had some time to kill before our plane left for Anchorage.

After visiting the Alaska Brewing Company (more to share about that later), we decided to check out Juneau's famous Mendenhall Glacier.

The most famous of the glaciers in the Juneau Ice Field, Mendenhall Glacier, is named for Thomas Corwin Mendenhall, who served on the Alaska Boundary Commission that surveyed the international boundary between Canada and Alaska.

The Mendenhall Glacier is 12 miles long and 1-1/2 miles wide where it stretches across the Mendenhall Valley. The glacier's ice can be 400 to 800 feet deep.

Above is just a landscape picture on the opposite side of the glacier. I thought it was pretty.

I mentioned we went to the Alaska Brewing Company ( before viewing the glacier. Above is a picture of a "sample glass" that I picked up at the Alaska Brewing Company. Unfortunately for us the brewery was closed, and the door that said "Alaska Brewing Company Gift Shop" was locked.


the door that said "Alaska Brewing Company Cooperate Offices - Do Not Enter" (or something to that nature) was not locked. So, as Allen walked back to the car, I went in the door.

Upon entering the building, I navigated my way to the gift shop and into a guy that worked at the brewery. Allen finally ventured in behind me and we began a conversation with the man. He was nice and looked like he had enjoyed many beers in his day.

I purchased the sample glass (it was the only glass that had "Juneau, Alaska" on the front) and Allen purchased a 1998 bottle of the Alaskan Smoked Porter. Once at the glacier, I tasted a little bit, which is why my glass has beer inside.

The beer was actually quite good. The limited edition smoked beer (which is known as "rauchbier" in Germany) was first developed in 1988 and is produced in limited "vintages" each year. This beer has been credited as helping to inspire the American revival of smoked beers.


From the time we first saw the glacier to the time we left, the weather had changed from light falling snow to heavy falling snow with fog.

We ate dinner at Chan's Thai Kitchen. The Tom Yum Soup with seafood was so delicious. Upon leaving the restaurant the fog had lifted and the snow had stopped.

Our flight was leaving on time.

After arriving to the airport and returning my rental car, I checked in for my flight. Little did I know that when switching my seat toward the front of the plane, had I chosen to sit in seat E, row five instead of seat E, row eight, my conversation on the flight home would have been much more interesting.


Coincidently, a very special someone was also flying back to Anchorage...

(sorry for the bad picture)

Joining us on the flight and sitting in COACH was Mr. Sean Parnell, the governor of the State of Alaska (a Republican!).

However, as luck would have it, because I chose seat E, row 8, and not seat E, row 5, I was not able to strike up a discussion with the governor.
Only Allen.

So, I slept.

The whole way home.