Category Archives: Places to Stay

Off to Fairbanks, Alaska

With minimal planning — as we now like to do because we’ve realized jam-packed weeks of vacationing are tiring — we attempted to leave Denver for Fairbanks, Alaska two weeks ago. After a delayed flight, we managed to make it to Fairbanks a day later than expected.

Just a traveling tip here, if you call your hotel to let them know you won’t be able to make it for the first night of many nights of your reservation, be sure you are positive they understand you still want to stay the subsequent nights of your stay! We got to our hotel to find out that they had sold our room even though we had called them. We holed up in a Motel 8 instead and fell promptly asleep, hoping to make up our lost time in the coming days.

Fairbanks is a big place to navigate, but a small place to live and hang out. Maybe there’s not much to do in the summer, or maybe we just didn’t plan enough. Most of the roads are filled with construction crews trying to finish their work before winter sets in. There’s plenty of hiking to do, but the summer days seem to be typically overcast and rainy, making pretty miserable hiking weather.

Where We Stayed in Fairbanks, AK

Chena Hot Springs Resort (Website)

We spent the next couple of days at Chena Hot Springs Resort, hoping to catch some sights of the aurora and to bask in the hot springs located on sight. The resort was…pretty alright. The room we stayed was sparse, and the cabin itself was being painted and renovated, which led to much noise and cigarette smoke through most of the day and night. The weather was not very cooperative, resulting in a nonstop overcast sky and rain throughout most of our stay, which was not conducive to viewing the aurora, so we missed out there. But, the hot springs, pool, and jacuzzi, as well a pretty great restaurant made up for some of the trouble.

Arctic Roots Farm (Book on Airbnb)

We left Chena feeling indifferent about Fairbanks, moving on to our next base of operations for the rest of our trip, a small farm cabin on a sheep farm via Airbnb. The cabin at Arctic Roots Farm was clean and comfortable, surrounded by tons of flowers, with a great view of the pasture and mountains from the living room and porch. Unexpectedly, the couple that runs the farm also provided homemade continental breakfast each morning — scones, banana bread, homemade yogurt and strata. Needless to say, our stay in the cabin on the farm really perked up our moods after becoming a bit jaded while staying at the ‘resort’.

Sightseeing in Fairbanks, AK

Morris Thompson Cultural Center (Information)

This is one of the first places we visited and the museum inside is definitely worth a visit. It’s free and a bit interactive, full of information about Fairbanks culture and wildlife. The first thing we realized about Fairbanks while viewing the exhibits is that it seemed like most of the action seems to occur during the snowy winters.

Large Animal Research Station (Website)

Musk Oxen are the providers of one of the softest, warmest fibers available on earth, so they were the reason we went to visit the Large Animal Research Station (LARS for short). At the station, you can get fairly close to musk oxen and caribou/reindeer. Take the $10 tour to learn a lot of interesting facts about the animals and the research that the University of Alaska Fairbanks does regarding these animals.

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum (Website)

The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum was one of the places we’d actually planned on going before heading out to Alaska, we weren’t expecting too much but were pleasantly surprised at the size and quality of this museum. We’re not huge car enthusiasts, but really loved walking through the museum and seeing all of the antique cars. Antique dresses and fashion accessories were displayed alongside the cars, which gave you a feel for what women were wearing while riding around in these cars.

Pioneer Park (Website)

I’m not sure if we just weren’t looking at Pioneer Park the right way, but we found this (luckily free) park to be a bit depressing. It’s full of historic cabins that have been converted into shops and cafes, playgrounds and museums. It seemed like a place that used to be exciting and fun but lost the excitement along the way. But hey, it was free.

 Steese Highway Scenic Byway

Perhaps if the weather was clearer, this drive would have been better but it just felt boring. We turned around after a couple of hours, having gone that long hoping the next turn would reward us with amazing views of… anything. The only interesting thing we saw on half of this byway was part of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline.

After making it to the farm, the weather began clearing a little and we decided to make our trips to Denali Nat’l Park, which we’ll save for its own blog post, but suffice to say, it was absolutely incredible. After multiple trips out to the park, across mountains and massive straights of amazing scenery and roads, finally catching the aurora, and seeing the highest mountain peak in North America, we had had our fill of Fairbanks, and knew that Anchorage was calling for us.

More Pictures from Evans Knob Farm

There’s not much more to say about Evans Knob than John already said. We completed our two weeks of WWOOFing yesterday and are really sad to have to go back to our normal lives. Kathy, Reid and the rest of the Evans family (pets included), all really made us feel at home, useful and appreciated.

The featured image is an epic shot of the ducks that John took with his iPhone. We’re all a bit amazed at how well it turned out.

Trees in a foggy forest
From the living room window of the cabin

Continue reading More Pictures from Evans Knob Farm

Off to Steinhatchee, FL!

Steinhatchee, Florida. A three hour trip north of Orlando, just south of Gainesville and right on the Gulf Coast. According to Wikipedia, the 2010 population was taken at 1,047 people.

I can’t imagine it’s changed too much since then.

Apparently known for its local seafood, specifically the scallops, Steinhatchee seems like one of those small towns that’s built up around a rental market. During the spring, summer, and fall, I imagine it’s a booming place with people from all around the U.S, coming in to roost for a week near the coast. If you’re patient, however, and can wait until the winter, that’s  when the real deals roll around.

Because the winter in Florida is typically in the seventies, Mandy and I decided to take a small road trip out to Steinhatchee Landing Resorts to take advantage of some  of the off-season deals they have. We knew right when we talked into our cabin that we had made the right decision.

Our cabin in Steinhatchee

A photo posted by Mandy Bee (@mandybee) on

Mandy and I are both suckers for fireplaces, and this cabin had one of the nicest I’ve seen. The fireplace actually extended from the main room into the bathroom so it sat above the bathtub. You could sit in a gigantic hot tub with a fire going in front of you. Awesome. It had a full functioning kitchen with a stove, so in lieu of going out every night (there weren’t a whole lot of restaurants to choose from), we cooked in, played board games, and read a bunch.

Fancy fireplace at Steinhatchee Landing Resort

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Totally nerding out with some pre-packaged DnD A photo posted by Mandy Bee (@mandybee) on

Delicious curry on black rice with swai fish made by john in a small kitchen A photo posted by Mandy Bee (@mandybee) on

In the mornings, weather permitting, we would walk around outside and take in the sights and sounds of the resort area and Steinhatchee proper.

This place is adorable A photo posted by Mandy Bee (@mandybee) on

A photo posted by Mandy Bee (@mandybee) on

A photo posted by Mandy Bee (@mandybee) on

A photo posted by Mandy Bee (@mandybee) on

It’s a small town, but one you could easily get lost in if you didn’t know where you were going. We didn’t see any real grocery stores or chain restaurants with the exception of one dockside Hungry Howies (wat), but the coast always holds its own mystique that pays for itself by just being near it. Birds every morning, the smell of the ocean everywhere, and just being a little bit far from home, even just three hours, is a nice vacation.