100 Years of Haines, Alaska

Fireworks in Haines by Gary Lidholm

Fireworks in Haines by Gary Lidholm

Our congratulations go out to the Borough and residents of Haines, Alaska on their Centennial (100 years). We’re sure this isn’t hardly the “end of the trail” for one of our favorite cruise destinations.

Haines festivities on the 3rd and 4th included: a Mt. Ripinsky Run, Golf Tournament, Mad Raft Race, Flag Raising, Parade, Pies & Coffee, Book, Bake, Hot Dog, Hamburger and Garden-burger Sale, Mud Volleyball, Children’s Games, Balloon Twisting, Face Painting, Nail Pounding Contest, Pie Eating Contest, Cannon Firing, and Fireworks!

Check out Haines Alaska News and Comment for article and pictures.

Haines: Surf and Turf at The Fort Seward Lodge and Saloon

Appetizer Crab Cakes and Beer at The Fort Seward Lodge and Saloon

Appetizer Crab Cakes and Beer at The Fort Seward Lodge and Saloon

Once we returned to Haines and stopped at a local dime store for toothpaste, we boarded the ship and discussed our dinner options. The ship wasn’t pulling out of the harbor until after 9:00 so we decided to find some local fare in town. Our concierge recommended two or three places but the promised historic ambiance of the Fort Seward Lodge and Saloon sounded most intriguing to us, so did the price tag on the prime rib and crab leg dinner we were encouraged to try.

The Fort Seward Lodge and Saloon is located in one of the original Fort Seward buildings. It once held the Fort Seward Post Exchange, housing a gymnasium, offices, a soda fountain, a library, a movie house and two bowling lanes.

Surf n Turf at The Fort Seward Lodge and Saloon

Surf n Turf at The Fort Seward Lodge and Saloon

Although renovated twenty years ago, there are still telltale signs of the establishments original use. There were trapeze devices hanging from the ceiling of the main dining room and the original paneling still adorns the walls.

Service was OK, not five star, but in general our waitress was really personable and helped us forget we were tourists for a moment. Ryan ordered the ‘surf and turf’, I ordered salmon. It was so nice to have fresh Alaskan food. I couldn’t believe the size of Ryan’s prime rib or the plate of crab legs he was served. We had to go give our compliments to our chef, Dave.

Chef Dave kicking out some legs

Chef Dave kicking out some legs

We ended our evening with purchasing a piece of local artwork by John Svenson , a nice walk back to the ship and enjoyed a bottle of wine in our room.

A Morning in Haines, Alaska – Fort William H. Seward

Our next port of call was Haines; another small, historic fishing town along the inside passage. Haines is also home to Fort William H. Seward, a military post that was officially deactivated in 1946. Although known as ‘Fort Seward’, this army post should not be confused with the town of Fort Seward located in California or Seward, Alaska.

A building in Fort Seward; Haines, AK

A building in Fort Seward; Haines, AK

Its buildings still stand and have other uses, such as a hotel, a bed & breakfast, the community arts center and several private residences. These white buildings are situated in a rectangle around a grassy lawn and are quite easy to identify from the ship. Haines is also home to the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world and we could see them overhead as we came into dock.

We planned no sponsored excursions for our day in Haines, wanting to explore at our will and on our schedule. We did however wanted to make sure we had time to get to Skagway, a port just a few miles up the coast, accessible to us by ferry. We bought our tickets for an afternoon departure.

Dutch Sailing Canal Barge in Haines marina

Dutch Sailing Canal Barge in Haines marina

Setting out in Haines started with a walk up Front Street, visiting their marina first and find ourselves on Main Street. Our first goal was to find a great cup of coffee and we did so at a little coffee shop just past the curious Hammer Museum we had heard so much about. http://www.hammermuseum.org

We didn’t make it into the museum while we were there but apparently it houses over 1,500 hammers from around the world, dating back to Roman times.

Carving Crow totem pole, Alaska Indian Arts, Winter 2007-2008 Project

Carving Crow totem pole, Alaska Indian Arts, Winter 2007-2008 Project

We stopped at the Rusted Compass Coffee shop for a real latte, baked goods and some local conversation. The coffee on the ship was fine, for all intents and purposes, but freshly ground does add something.

Most of the morning was spent exploring the streets of Haines, working our way back to Fort Seward. There honestly wasn’t much to see in or out of town, but it was quiet and beautiful. Entering Fort Seward felt a little like stepping back in time. We traveled across the green and found ourselves in the fort’s old hospital, now the Alaska Indian Arts gallery and studio. The walls were lined with black and white photographs and vibrant Tlingit prints. In a large room off to the right, we found a local man working on an actual totem pole. He wasn’t a man of many words, any words actually. But it was very meditative to watch him at his work.

Haines, Alaska Map Sign

Haines, Alaska Map Sign

We finished our morning walking through some of the local shops along the edge of the Fort, we found an amazing flower garden and visited Dijon Delights right across the street for some smoked salmon.