Long time, no see!
Aaron turned 28 yesterday! 28! Can you believe that?! He’s almost 30. Which means I’m strategically planning the perfect time to start making a baby. Don’t tell.
As much as Aaron and I have done in Alaska, we haven’t really traveled that far North of Anchorage. We’ve both seen traces of the Northern Lights here and there, but nothing that’s taken our breathe away. So a few weeks ago I booked a quick trip to Fairbanks in hopes of catching the Northern Lights and celebrating Aaron’s 28th.
Of course travel never works out the way you intend… The cloud coverage was no joke and there were NO Northern Lights to be found.
Luckily, we were pleasantly surprised with the other activities Fairbanks had to offer and ended up having a grand ol’ time!
And so I give you… 5 Worthwhile Things to do in Fairbanks, Besides Looking for the Northern Lights!
I love Santa! I love Christmas! So of course we had to visit North Pole, Alaska- a quick 30 minute drive from downtown Fairbanks. The museum is free of charge and if you’re in need of a sweet treat, fudge can be purchased!
Check out the history of North Pole, Alaska here: http://www.northpolealaska.com/community
I planned to eat at The Cookie Jar Restaurant because it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. If Guy Fieri thought it was worth it, it must be. It was okay. Aaron ordered a Stromboli and I ordered some kind of breakfast hash thing. It’s a very cute diner with a very homey feel; cookie jars lining the rim of each wall!
The coolest thing we experienced in Fairbanks were the Chena Hot Springs. The average temperature of the hot springs is around 106 degrees year round. Even though the temperature outside was in the low 30’s, it got a little too hot for our Alaskan bodies so we could only stay in for 30 minutes at a time! I booked a hotel room at the Chena Hot Springs resort, so we enjoyed the springs free of charge. For visitors not staying at the resort, it’s about $15.00/ person to access the springs and indoor pool.
And the rumors are true about the Japanese Tourists… In more ways than one.
Even though made accommodations at the resort we still had to pay to explore the Aurora Ice Museum. It was well worth the $15.00/person.
Chena Hot Springs Resort is home to the world’s largest year-round ice environment in the world, the Aurora Ice Museum! It was created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all harvested at the resort. The museum was completed in January 2005 and stays a cool 25° Fahrenheit (-7° Celsius) inside. Keeping the museum icy cold in the heat of summer comes from the patented absorption chiller, the first of its kind in the world used for this purpose! Parkas are available free of charge to use during your tour.
Neither one of us is really into cars or museums, but we loved playing dress up at the Fountainhead Auto Museum!
Fairbanks wasn’t the coolest place we’ve explored, but it certainly wasn’t the worst! We hope to return in March for the Ice Festival and to see if we can’t catch those darn Northern Lights!
I only took one picture of the butternut squash moose chili making process because I was watching Mistresses at the same time and got caught up. Why’d they kill off Karen?!
Despite the lack of photos, this recipe is way too yummy not to post!
I guess the only difference between this chili recipe and any other is that moose adds a hearty, gamey flavor- so I did what I could to add as many spices as possible, in addition to adding the butternut squash for a nice sweet balance.
How did we end up with moose meat? While I was in Boston Aaron went on a hunting trip with one of his co-workers. He said he only shot a few grouse but ended up bringing home about 5 lbs of meat that his co-worker had killed and already prepared.
90% of the time we eat chicken or fish, so I was excited to try something a little different!
A warm, hearty meal for a chilly fall night.
You obviously don’t have to use moose, as it’s hard to come by- beef would be just as tasty!