Sunday, August 18, 2013

A little Anchorage history

With sun not always guaranteed in "The Great Land," I decided to do some downtown exploring on one of our sunny days. I came across a great little state timeline. Here are some fun Anchorage facts...

Good info!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Gold Panning Trip

With the Blueberry Festival and the cooking competition behind us, Vince and I set out to do some more Alaskan activities... the next of which was a visit to the famous Crow Creek Mine for a gold-panning adventure :)

The road to the mine

Yay- we found the turnoff!

Our pre-panning demo...

Time to hit the trail!

Getting closer...

Almost there...

Made it!

Vince getting a feel for panning...

Pay dirt!

Here's a close-up of some of the flakes I found :D
Time to head back to the main check-in, return our gear, 
and check out the preserved mining exhibits...

Very cool

Neat old scale!

The blacksmith's shop

Love the old German sign!

...and the old truck

...and the weather! What a great day :)

Blueberry Time!

In my attempts to search out new and fun things to do in and around Anchorage, I stumbled on Alyeska Resort's annual Blueberry Festival! I didn't even know it existed until this year, but it was a great discovery. An added bonus was the fact that it had a blueberry creations cooking contest- which my honey encouraged me to enter. So glad I did; it made going there a lot of fun and was a welcome challenge (my first competition!) for me since I love to cook :)

After hours of brainstorming and a few trial runs at home, I
finally settled on this for my masterpiece- homemade popovers filled 
with a lemony cream cheese filling and topped with blueberry sauce :p

Whoa! I definitely have to practice my timing lol! I made the
filling the night before the competition, the popovers a few hours
before the deadline, and the sauce about an hour before the deadline!
Then Vince & I loaded up all the ingredients in my car and zoomed 
out to Alyeska where I put them all together and got them ready 
for the judges- just made the entry! The picture above is the
courtyard where the festival was taking place :)

A stage with live music

Some of the competition- I felt good knowing my idea was
an original; a lot of other people made pies...

The judges arrival! I was so amped- one was the food & beverage
director for the resort, and the other two judges were the bakers;
all great people to get feedback & advice from :)

...and it started! Here they are reviewing the first entry

...and here they are tasting mine; some of them licked
their utensils- sweet!

With around 15 other entries, the judging took time- I 
had to step back and try to relax haha!

The votes were finally tallied, and I wasn't the winner. However,
I got high praises from all the judges and got some good feedback.
Their only recommendation was that I incorporate blueberries into
the filling- note to self for next time!! I am really glad I did this!

With the competition over, Vince and I walked around, listened
to music, and checked out the other vendors. Only thing that
would have made the day better was some sunshine, but
it was a great day overall :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Anchorage's Native Heritage Center

One thing I love to learn about is history- especially the history of native cultures. This month,  I decided it was a good time to visit Anchorage's Native Heritage Center- a newer establishment that does an excellent job of teaching its guests about the various groups of Alaska Native groups. So cool! Vince and I had a great time :)


Statue of Raven The Creator

Great overview of the different native groups within Alaska

Demo of one of the native games featured in the Native Olympics

Demo of the high kick- wow!

One of many beautiful native clothing exhibits

Gorgeous fur parkas and hats

Toddler parka

Beautiful headdresses

Native dance performances


...on to the village site exhibits outside :)

Athabaskan regions

Lodges and Cabins

Inside the lodges

Time to visit the Yupik and Cupik regions

Wisely, they used the earth to help guard them from the elements

Inupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik regions

...and their homes

Cool door!

...and a model harpoon

Me playing hunter :p

Jawbone from a bowhead whale- from one of the native whaling groups

Great whaling story

Grey whale skeleton

Regions of the Unagax & Sugpiaq groups

Another utilitarian home to shelter people from the cold!

Information about watercraft

Beautful canoe display

Sample home

Traditional-style sleeping platform (sleeping off the floor is much warmer!)

Inside the Sugpiaq home

Beautifully detailed exhibits

Loved this bowl! In the Sugpiaq culture, newborns are given
their own special bowl that represents their personalities (this one 
was a seal to represent curiosity). Very cool!

SE Alaskan groups: Eyak, Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian

The SE Alaskan groups were the only ones that made totem
poles- because they are the only groups that had access to the
large cedar trees that grow in their region

Gorgeous cedar longhouse

Cool door :)

The meaning behind the totems

Longhouse interior

One of the totems

Beautiful creations

Elaborate paddles

Sealskin drum

Back in the main building, we visited the Hall of Cultures

Amazing headpiece

And a traditional fish hook- so glad Vince & I  took the time to visit!