Q: What is your connection to Anchorage, AK?
A: My family moved to Anchorage when I was 7 years old. I attended most of elementary, junior high, and high school in the Anchorage Public Schools. Since college I have returned to Anchorage to work for Cruise West.
Q: Do you have a funny story or little known fact about Anchorage you’d like to share?
A: Hmmm… so many to choose from! Anchorage is loaded with wildlife. The Department of Fish & Game estimates the Anchorage moose population at around 1200. With this in mind, we encounter them all the time. In high school I was on the Cross-Country Ski Team. I remember during one race I was skiing up a very steep hill. It was about 9 kilometers into a 10 kilometer race and I was struggling. About 3/4 of the way up I look up to see four racers coming down the hill. Considering that it was a one-way race course I knew something was wrong. As they come flying by me a moose came over the hill toward me. In a split second I was heading down the hill praying I didn’t fall. The only other thing I remember was skiing up that blasted hill one more time!!!
Q: What is your favorite time of year in Anchorage and why?
A: May and September are a wonderful time in Anchorage. In May we typically have some of the best weather of the year. In September the rainbow trout fishing is at its peak! The fish have been gorging themselves on salmon eggs and spawned salmon and have reached their peak in size and weight. In both May and September, there are a lot fewer visitors in town. This means that visitors can explore town without the crowds that hit town in the mid-summer months.
Q: Is there a particular food or song that reminds you of Anchorage?
A: PIZZA!!! Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria creates the best pizzas in Alaska if not the entire Pacific Northwest! Additionally they handcraft over a dozen different beers which rotate all the time. Live music the first Thursday of each month caps it off. There are no reservations available, and on a weekend you have to wait upwards of two hours for a table.
Q: What is on your “must see” list for visitors to Anchorage?
A: Anchorage is a very diverse area loaded with things to do. For me it’s all about the out of the way places. I love going up to Glen Alps and Flattop Mountain where you can have a fantastic look out on the city, especially around sunset. I will also bring visitors to the Alaska Native Medical Center for their world class displays of Alaskan Native Art.
Q: Is there a favorite activity that you enjoy in Anchorage?
A: THE IDITAROD!!! The first Saturday in March the Iditarod Trail Sleddog Race kicks off in Anchorage. It is loads of fun. Thousands hit the streets of downtown Anchorage and it is a wonderful atmosphere.
Q: Is there a particular restaurant that you’d recommend for visitors?
A: The Anchorage dining scene is very unique in that many of the best restaurants are situated in strip malls, commercial parks, and other off the beaten path locations. My personal favorite, aside from the aforementioned Moose’s Tooth, is Kincaid Grill. It offers fantastic cuisine, a solid wine list, and a great “bring your own” wine policy!
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: The quality of life is head and shoulders above what many other places offer. Anchorage is home to some of the greatest people you will ever meet. Though the population is up to 280,000 people, there is still a small town community feel. If I leave my car running while getting a cup of coffee in the wintertime, I know it will be there when I get back. If I get a flat tire, I know somebody will pull over and help. It is simply a great place to live and visit!
Cruise West guests visit Anchorage when they travel on our Voyage to the Bering Sea, Coastal Odyssey , Glacier Wonderland or Best of Both Worlds cruises. Anchorage is also the home base of our land tour program. If you’d like to learn more about Anchorage, consider visiting the Anchorage Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website.
Posted by Andy Compton