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Top Five Destinations of Juneau

The first thing I thought about when I sat down to write about Juneau, Alaska was that it would have worked well in an Abbott and Costello routine.

Lou: Hey Abbott, where are you going on your trip?
Bud: Juneau.
Lou: But I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking where you’re going.
Bud: Juneau.
Lou: BUT I DON’T… never mind, where are you going next.
Bud: Exactly.
Lou: What?
Bud: Ware.
Lou: I’m the one asking the questions. Where are you going next?
Bud: Exactly.
Lou: You know… where… you are going?
Bud: Yes.
Lou: Yes? What’s that?
Bud: That’s my last destination.
Lou: What is your last destination?
Bud: Yes, Watts is.
Lou: I hate you so much Bud, I will kill you in your sleep.

juneau3Thank you. Thank you. Ok, thank you for indulging my trip back into the 40s and I hope I didn’t rip off an actual sketch.

My other thought when the city of Juneau pops into my head is the simple trivia question, what are the four capital cities of the United States not on the interstate highway system? By now, you’ve probably guessed that one answer is Juneau, Alaska. Two others come from states where I was a resident once upon a time: Dover, Delaware and Jefferson City, Missouri. Those always come easy to me as well. But remembering Pierre, SD is always the one that sneaks into my head last, and then I wonder why I have this information at all.

Well, it’s because that way I have an introduction to what sets Juneau apart from most of the rest of the capital cities of the United States. When I visit this place by boat, by car or by whatever not involved with the interstate, these are the five things I found that also separate it from the pack.

Tour the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery

If I may paraphrase “2001: A Space Odyssey”, my God, it’s full of fish. I’m talking the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. The hatchery releases 120 million juvenile salmon each year. In technical terms, that’s a shitload of fish.

Hike the trails around Mendenhall Glacier

If you take a short drive from Juneau, you’ll come across the Mendenhall Glacier and the Mendenhall Visitor Center that has trails that explore the area around the glacier. Both the Nugget Creek Trail and the West Glacier Trail look like nice ones to get a little exercise while enjoying views of the glacier and seeing some local birds.

Explore the Juneau Douglas City Museum

Because the Alaska State Museum closes in February of 2014 and doesn’t reopen until April 2016, to satisfy my museum curiosity, I’m going to check out the Juneau Douglas City Museum. It may not be as extensive, but they still have exhibits on mining, hydropower and fish traps.

Visit the Alaskan Brewing Company

The Alaskan Brewing Company offers beer tastings every day that they are open. That means samples of their stout, amber, IPA and other yearly flavors and possibly some of the limited and seasonal flavors. Need I say more?

Eat at the Rookery Café

After sampling beers to your heart’s content, I suggest putting some food in your belly from The Rookery Café. The dinner menu includes spicy roasted pecans as snacks, curry crab cake with coconut curry sauce, and coffee marinated duck breast with poached pears. If you still want more beer, they have four rotating taps.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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