Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sitka, Alaska


A few weeks ago we island hopped up north to see another part of the great state of Alaska. Sitka is on another island and can only be reached by plane or boat. We flew from Ketchikan which was less than an hour in the air, and thanks to some bonus miles with Alaska Airlines, it was only $11 each round trip. So we could not pass up the opportunity! We only had a couple of days to see the town which was enough because it's pretty small and we walked mostly everywhere. The day we planned to hike was pretty foggy so we instead rented a car at the last minute and drove the extent of the road system.
I particularly loved Sitka because of the history...which I will talk about some below. Enjoy the pictures of our trip to Sitka, AK!!

Living life from one boarding pass to the next. Just how we like it.


KTN to SIT. Fun fact: Sitka's airport has been named as having one of the top 10 scariest runways. Look it up on a map and you will see why. Ocean to the left and ocean to the right.

After we landed and took a taxi to our cottage we took a long nap because we had worked all night the night before, and luckily when we woke up, even though it was around midnight, we found somewhere that was still open and serving food.

The next morning, we started at the top of the list of everything we wanted to see and just started checking things off...

...starting with Highliner Coffee. See. Just like I mentioned in another post, living in Alaska makes you a seafood snob. Wild fish is the only fish to eat. ;)

We walked to Castle Hill. On October 18, 1867, this is where a ceremony took place signifying Russia's sale of Alaska to the US. An American flag was raised...but it took another 92 years before it became an official state and another flag with raised with 49 stars on it. An interesting fact I learned is that Russia never intended to populate the Alaskan territory, and that's why there is not an overwhelming Russian influence in the state. They simply used the land for its natural resources.

St. Michael's Cathedral, a prominent historical landmark in the middle of town, is the earliest Orthodox cathedral in the New World. It is a symbol of Russian influence in southeast Alaska and in America. It was founded by a Siberian priest who had lived and worked in Unalaska. All of the history is so fascinating to me!

The church is full of tons of fittings, gifts, art, and icons, including Our Lady of Sitka and Christ Pantocrator. I'm a bad notetaker and can't remember what the object in the picture above was called. I want to say something about the Inexhaustible Cup, but I may be wrong?

Later in the day we walked to the Russian Bishop's House which is owned and operated now by the National Park Service. Back in the day it was a cultural and educational center in Alaska, and it is one of the few surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture on our continent. We did a free guided tour and learned more of the history. Basically the house functioned as living quarters for Ivan Veniaminov, a Russian Orthodox leader, but also as a school, missionary headquarters, and chapel (pictured above), which is still active.

Getting away just you and your spouse is lovely, refreshing, and healthy. We highly recommend it. ;)


Once we decided to rent a car for the next day, we walked that night across the bridge from Baronof Island to Japonski Island where the airport is and picked up our car. It was after 9:00pm here. Still bright and beautiful!

Now I hate to disappoint you fans of The Proposal, which is how a lot of my friends had heard of Sitka, but I think it was actually filmed on the East Coast in Massachusetts. But yes, this is supposedly where Margaret Tate and Andrew Paxton go to visit for his grandma's birthday.

The next day we drove south of town to the Fortress of the Bear, a nonprofit rescue center for orphaned bears. It is home of the only black bears on this island, but most of them are brown bears. I thought it was interesting that there are no bear rehabilitation facilities in the state (though there are some in the Lower 48), but this center is hoping to become one.

Another stop was the Alaska Raptor Center. We kind of see eagles all the time now after living in Washington and Alaska, but the efforts of the center are impressive. Inside their facilities there is a flight training center for injured birds.

We also made other stops including several downtown shops, a cozy bookstore, a science center/aquarium (if you can even call it that...because super tiny), the Sheldon Jackson Museum which displays tons of native and historical artifacts (the site is a former college and Presbyterian mission), the Sitka National Historical Park, and the Sitka Historical Museum.

Our cottage for the stay. :) Super small, but super cozy! It was all we needed.

On our last day it was another super quick flight back south and then back to work that night for Landon. We were so thankful we could make a quick getaway and fit this trip into our busy July schedules! There is so much to see and explore in Alaska that I feel like I could live here the rest of my life and not do all that I want to...so doing whatever we can as we can is important.

Coming up, we have a camping trip this week here on our island which I will try to blog depending on if my computer acts right. My in-laws will be here next week!

Then in two weeks we leave for London via a stopover in New York City. We are going on a backpacking adventure to 10 different countries, and 7 of those will be new to us. We have been counting down to this trip for months and months. If you want to follow along in real-time for that trip, see here.

So keep an eye out for lots of pictures and adventures coming up! And don't forget to take some adventures of your own. Live life! XO 

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