The Captain Bartlett Inn turned out to be a great pick, although
somewhat pricy at $100/night. The hotel was surrounded like a moat
with fire lanes, however, placing the parking lot far off to the side of
the hotel and requiring a long bag drag to the room. Once inside the
hotel, however, we found a pleasant atmosphere and a room with many
amenities, including solid blackout curtains, a fan, and other great
stuff. No tub, however. The blackout curtains were probably the most
welcome item, helping us sleep through the bright night, though I woke
up a couple of times.
We woke up around 10 am, called the Northern Alaska Tour Company to
make arrangements to join a Barrow tour on Saturday (the airfare was
about the same price as the tour with lodging, so we elected to take
the tour), then went to the northernmost Denny's in the world for
breakfast. The restaurant was very crowded but we were able to get a
seat in a secluded part of the restaurant. Their waitstaff service was
hurried but good, although the "souvenir certificates" they offer were
not available. We then drove to the downtown district, which mostly
consisted of a smattering of gift shops.
The University of Alaska at Fairbanks had a great museum detailing the
cultural and anthropologic history of the state; unfortunately there were
almost no exhibits showing Alaska's very unique geological background.
Regardless we were entertained there for a couple of hours and the
museum earned a solid B+ rating from us.
From there we made an unsuccessful effort to find the National
Weather Service (caused by duplicate street names around Fairbanks),
then headed back to the hotel for about 2 hours of rest. At 5 pm we
decided to try the dining room at Captain Bartlett's, starting with an
Alaskan Oatmeal Stout which was an outstanding beer. I had the fish +
chips and Shannon had the chicken strips. The food and service were
We went to see the 7:30 pm showing of the Star Wars movie at the only
theater in town, Regal Cinemas Goldstream, a fairly large theater with
10 screens. The movie complex was somewhat dirty but seemed to be very
popular among locals. Star Wars was fascinating and played to a 2/3rds
packed audience, but was slightly out of focus for the first 45 minutes.
The movie was over just before 10 pm, and we walked outside into bright
sunshine; a weird experience. We went back to the hotel to go to bed
and get rested up.
A word of warning -- throughout the day we were disappointed to see that
Fairbanks was pretty much closed off to tourists until June 1; we found
that the ice sculpture museum was closed until May 29 and the northern
lights film we were looking forward to at UAF was unavailable until June
(geez...!!) Because of this ridiculous scheduling I would suggest that
anyone planning a trip to Fairbanks before June or after August should
do their homework and call ahead to various attractions first before
making a journey.
Miles driven today: 0 (no travel miles)
Business ratings (0-4 stars):
Captain Bartlett Inn, Fairbanks AK * * * 1/2 (would get 4 stars with tub)
Regal Cinemas Goldstream, Fairbanks AK * * 1/2
Fairbanks, AK -- Beautiful colors paint the Alaskan
sky at 1 a.m.
Fairbanks, AK -- high noon in Fairbanks, and we just
stopped at the theater (left of service road) to get
advance tickets for Star Wars.
Fairbanks, AK -- the excellent Captain Bartlett's Inn
that we stayed at for two days.