Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Anchorage Day Trip to Seward, Alaska, Spring 2015

Time was right for us to see some Alaskan wildlife and awesome snow-covered mountains beside the waters of Turnagain Arm and Resurrection Bay. We took the short 125 mile drive to Seward, Alaska.

Craig and I took the Seward Highway to Seward for a day trip worth raving about. The Seward Highway is a designated scenic byway. It lives up to the hype. Sun was shining, mountains were gleaming, and Turnagain Arm’s tide was out. Best use of the word “awesome” I can attest. Roads are in good condition and traffic was light.

Harding Ice Field was visible from deck of Kenai Fjord’s Glacier Explorer as we explored Resurrection Bay. Captain Cook gave the bay its name as he explored it on Easter. Wildlife sightings included: bald eagle, Murres, oyster catcher, stellar sea lions, mountain goats, porpoises, orcas, but no gray whale—phoney!

When in the dock area be sure to stop at Nature's Nectars. A great latte was made and served by owner Cedar Bourgois. Cedar is a local Seward resident who has won Mt. Marathon multiple times. I think it is seven times!

Also check out AK Starfish Co. I purchased a pair of earning made by a Juneau artist. Marcie’s company also sells her authentic Alaskan clothing designs on shirts, tops, hats, and pants.

A trip into the downtown area is not complete without a stop at Resurect Art Coffee House, 320 Third Avenue. Linger over a cup of coffee and enjoy the paintings, art posters, note cards, jewelry, wood works.

Be certain to spend time in Seward’s SeaLife Center. This summer they have arranged to have a traveling exhibit from Idaho Museum of Natural History on sharks.

Finally take a stroll on the paved trail along the bay from SeaLife Center back to the dock area. It’s a little more than a mile of breath-taking views across the water. Yesterday’s great weather brought out at least two kayakers.

Seward, an outstanding day trip choice!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Anchorage Alaska Rhubarb of 2013

Anchorage Alaska’s Summer 2013 was phenomenal for growing rhubarb. This is the first year we have had rhubarb all summer.  June was extremely hot so I watered the rhubarb. It thrived. August was wet. The rhubarb loved it and continued to produce.  I used the last of the rhubarb in the following fantastic recipe. As tasty as the recipe is I do not recommend it for breakfast.

Enjoy as a dessert!

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 piecrust for 9” pan
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • sliced almonds

In a sauce pan stir together rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Cook over slow heat until rhubarb is tender.

Put piecrust in pie pan.  Pour rhubarb mixture over crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mix cream cheese, ½ cup sugar and beaten eggs.

After pie has baked for 10 minutes, pour cream cheese mixture over the hot pie.  Bake pie at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Chill pie until it is completely cool.

Pour the sour cream over the top.  Put the sliced almonds over the sour cream.


Store any remaining pie in refrigerator.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Anchorage Alaska Visual Art Favorites

Anchorage, Alaska, refers to its art as “A Museum without Walls.” Alaska has designated a One Percent for the Art Program, which is 1% of all public construction budgets being spent on public art installations. There is more to Anchorage Alaska then the city lights, boats, moose, bear, and hockey. Partially hidden along busy streets are unique sculptures just waiting to be admired is this 1% Art as well as other public art! Here are just just ten of the many beautiful pieces of Anchorage Art.
First: Fragmenta This sculpture (Caroline's favorite) sits outside the Alaska State Crime Detection Laboratory south of Tudor on Tudor Center Road. This is wonderful display of the Northern Lights.  Not only is this sculpture incredibly unique, it plays around with the endless Alaskan summer light. The square prisms break the wavelengths of light to display a sea of colors, which is excellent for pictures!

Number Two: Calling all potential UAA college students! This sculpture is located next to the Arts Building on the gorgeous campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).
Number Three: The Northern Lights: Visible at Dowling and Lake Otis Parkway, this Keith Appel, sculpture captures the beauty and elegance of the northern lights. Park at Northern Lights Elementary School and walk along the masterpiece.  The colors change and flow just like the lights do in the winter. A perfect place for this art!

Four – C Street Salmon Run: Running through Anchorage on C Street north of Tudor, these fish are representing the running of the salmon during the summer. The colorful metal dips and dives into the ground exposing fins and heads just like the salmon running in the river. It is unfortunate that the salmon are flowing north with the C Street traffic rather than "upstream." Now if only there was a big bear to catch these beautiful structures!

Five – Film Statue: Hidden among the trees and along the sidewalks on C Street north of 36th Street are three, tall statues that represent the arts. This one in particular shows the beauty of film, reminding the viewer how much film has affected our lives and that film should never be under-appreciated.

Six – Book Nook: The second of these statues represents literature and story telling, which has made even more impact on the human life, especially Alaskans. Unlike other cultures, Alaskan Natives use story telling to pass on their history. Can you guess what the third statue is? It’ll be a trip worth making!
Seven – Flower Art: Visible from the L Street at 15th, a great flower portrait stands--each year with a different picture. This year's display uses red and white begonias to create a dragonfly which embodies the numerous dragonflies that inhabit the Alaskan wilderness. The dragonfly is Alaska's state insect.
Eight - Raven Flying from Night to Day:  Along Tudor Road near Lake Otis Parkway, this art piece lines the side of the cement retaining wall. The raven flies towards the sun, leaving a trail of stars and streams of night that glitter, looking like an actual starry night.

Nine – The Whale: Tucked behind the bushes in across the street from the Alaska courthouse, this giant whale is stunning. The metal waves (circles on the whales tale) made by the enormous whale's tail, are capsizing the ships on the sea. It is Craig’s favorite piece and definitely not one to miss!

Ten – Captain Cook:(As read on statue) “James cook was born in Yorkshire, England, on October 27, 1728. He was apprenticed to serve on sailing ships built in Whitby, near his birthplace, to carry coal along the English coast. At the age 26, he joined the Royal Navy,...
            In 1776, Captain Cook set out on his third voyage, abroad his flagship “Resolution”, to find a northwest passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic. He surveyed the coast of northwest America and Alaska, but, failing to find the passage to the Atlantic, turned south from the Bering Strait and sailed to the Sandwich Isles where, on the island of Hawaii, he met his death on February 14, 1779...
            This monument, created by Derek Freeborn after the statue in Whitby, where James Cook began his career as a seaman, was donated by the British Petroleum Company as a contribute to the Bicentennial celebration of the United States of America.”

Friday, August 2, 2013

Enjoy Alaskan Sun in Camai Bed and Breakfast Garden!

This Anchorage Alaskan summer has been a unique and rare one. It has been sunny most of the days, allowing Camai B&B guests to enjoy the lovely Chugach Mountain Range.  Denali has frequently been seen this summer from various other places in Anchorage. The long sunny days have made Anchorage’s flowers particularly spectacular this summer.

The lack of rain has not stopped the Camai Bed and Breakfast garden from being a glorious display! Anchorage has an almost indefatigable supply of water from Eklutna Glacier.  Our sprinklers are turned on frequently.  Begonias, ferns, roses, trollius, mint, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, and much more flourish in the lush, groomed areas in our garden.  The garden can be enjoyed while sitting on the deck with a glass of wine or sitting in the glider sipping a cool glass of iced tea.

As the sun illuminates all the colors of our garden’s extraordinary flowers, tall purple stalks stand out in clusters. These native plants are called Fireweed. Why are they called Fireweed when they are purple? Wouldn’t the appropriate colors be red, orange or yellow? It is a much asked question.

Wild fires are typical for the summer season in Alaska and they leave the charred remains of a once stunning landscape. But if you revisit the land after a devastating fire, you will view purple as far as your eye can see. This beautiful phenomenon is because Fireweed is what flourishes after a fire and that is how the plant received its perfectly suited name; especially for such an extordinary plant.
Betty Boop Rose
Firefighter Rose
Stainless Steel Rose

Another treasure of Camai bed and breakfast’s garden is Craig’s romantic rose garden. Betty Boop’s laced with pink rims daintily sit besides the bench, the Firefighter Rose’s fragrance is one that will never be forgotten! Other roses, like the Stainless Steal, are pleasant surprises to adore and smell. While you are visiting make sure you stop, sit, rest and smell the roses! 
All of Craig's Roses are on our deck where moose cannot eat them.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hike Anchorage Alaska’s Flattop Mountain

Anchorage viewed from Flattop
Looking from Flattop Trail
Flattop Mountain is one of the most popular and talked about hikes in Anchorage. Craig and Caroline have both done it and recommend it to their guests at Camai Bed and BreakfastFlattop is aptly named as the 3,510 foot top is a sizable flat surface. Flattop hikers are awed with its spectacular views and interesting obstacles. Probably every citizen of Anchorage, as well as most tourists, has hiked this Chugach State Park trail.  This hike is definitely not one to pass up and gives views of both the Anchorage and Alaskan backcountry.
View from Flattop Trail

Flattop Trail
The Glen Alps trailhead parking lot allows for easy access to the Flattop trail and is equipped with stairs at the beginning and mid-way through the hike. Be prepared to pay the $5 parking fee to park. There are probably 30 ways to climb to the top, ranging from a leisurely, groomed trail, to a more rustic, scrambled challenge.

Liz & friend at summit
The last 150 ft. are the most treacherous.  This is the exhilarating part of the ascent. Good, sturdy shoes with traction are highly recommended for scrambling up the rocks to the top. As with Alaskan wilderness hikes the views are worth the effort.

Standing on top, hovering below the wooden pole that signifies your 3,510 ft elevation accomplishment, you can see the most spectacular view of Anchorage. On a sunny day, the cities streets reflect the sun turning them into a golden design in the midst of mountains. To the right you will see the stretch of Power Line Pass where bear and moose are often seen. Beyond that you can see the numerous mountain peaks accessible from Flattop by the continuous trails.

This is a hike for all ages and is a trademark of the great city of Anchorage. If you ask any Anchorage resident which hike they recommend, the answer is surely to be Flat Top.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Anchorage's July 2013 Activities

Happy Independence Day! Camai Bed and Breakfast would like to acknowledge all of the men and women of the Armed Forces who are serving or have served...especially to the men and women of Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson.  We’d like to thank you for your great service and sacrifice for our country. God bless the red, white and blue!

Cow and calf on Camai's driveway
Though there have been looming clouds and a constant possibility of rain, which is much needed, the weather is not keeping our guests tucked inside! A few of our guests have explored the popular hiking trail, Flattop in the Chugach State Park.   The beautiful and relatively quick hike does not disappoint. Gorgeous views of Anchorage are quite the reward either at the parking lot or all the way up at the top.

A resident moose regularly shows his presence in our yard or on the Chester Creek hiking trails behind Camai Bed and Breakfast. The Anchorage trails are great for taking a quick walk or long bicycle ride.  Earlier moose nonchalantly enjoyed some birch trees beside the trail.  A few of our guests were able to get some great shots and witness a bit of Alaskan wilderness. Below are the moose at our B&B.

Mama moose observes the Moose Crossing Sign.

Call the Midwife members assembled representing Alaska Public Media during the parade.
Verona delivered many Anchorage babies during her years as a midwife.

 In the spirit of Independence Day, Liz visited the local parade. The tons of local families and fair-like atmosphere made her feel right at home! The majestic mountains towering in the background as the military personnel marched made her remember why we celebrate today and are to thankful to have our B&B in the great state of Alaska! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

The weather has been perfect for growing a bumper crop of rhubarb. I fought the mosquitoes tonight to harvest rhubarb for baking a rhubarb coffee cake for breakfast at Camai B&B. The cookbook is Joy of Rhubarb which is pictured to the left.  The recipe comes from the cookbook. I baked it in a spring pan for 50 mins. rather than the 40 min. specified.

What is planned for tomorrow morning's breakfast? Coffee, teas (black, green or herbal), juices (orange, cranberry, or apple), and milk. As always we will have several kinds of fresh fruit served with plain Greek yogurt.  The main course will be a choice of a vegetable quiche or a ham and cheese quiche or some of each.  Reindeer sausage is also on the menu.  Of course, the rhubarb coffee cake will be served. Bon Appetit!