TRIP REPORT: Off to Juneau, Alaska’s Capital City

The view of Juneau from across the channel in Douglas.

Juneau is one of my favorite Alaska destinations. We have good friends there—so it’s fun to visit. But during the legislative session, there’s a lot of work to be done.

All of the legislators I talked to (except one) said it’s a good idea for citizens to visit in Juneau and make their voices heard. The research is in, by the way. Visiting your legislators in person is an effective way to advocate!

If you plan on going, be sure and contact your legislators in advance for an appointment. Also, the staff may ask you if there are specific issues (budget, PFD, oil and gas, education, etc.) you want to discuss.

My “trademark issue” is tourism funding, which suffered last year—along with many other state expenditures. But my other concerns include working on a sustainable budget and long-term fiscal policy.  Also high on the list is funding to benefit Alaska’s at-risk children, including OCS staffing levels and early-childhood development programs.

What’s on your list? The budget? Oil and gas policy? Education? Land use policy? Now is a really good time to visit your legislators, as they are working on these issues right now—and they want to hear from you.

I used 15,000 Alaska Airlines miles to fly from Anchorage to Juneau. You can fly there using as few as 10,000 miles, but you have to make your plans 21 days in advance. I flew on Sunday evening (Alaska #70), which means the plane was full of legislators, staff and lobbyists. Since I was staying with friends, I picked up a car at Avis.

Breakfast: Sandpiper Cafe. Adjacent to the Driftwood Hotel …it’s the best. I get the breakfast burrito. The coffee is great.

Lunch: The Island Pub in Douglas. This is one reason to have a car—so you can drive across the channel to Douglas. I like the “Island Blue” salad, topped with chopped steak. But the wood-fired pizzas are g-r-e-a-t. So are the views of the water. Some of my best Juneau photos have been taken from across the channel in Douglas.

Dinner: Salt. This restaurant is just a couple of blocks from the Capitol building. Everything is good.

Progressive Dinner: Kelly “Midgi” Moore runs a nice food tour (with cocktails) that stops in three places. It’s called a “Prohibition Progressive Party.”

Coffee: “Life is short.” Stay awake. That’s the motto for Heritage Coffee. Heritage has several shops around Juneau. It’s the best.

Accommodations: If you want to spend the night, there are many hotels. I’ve stayed at most of them. Here are two that I keep visiting again and again:

Driftwood Hotel. This is not as fancy as the Baranof, or as new as some of the airport hotels. But it’s close-in with free parking. Plus, the Sandpiper Cafe is RIGHT NEXT DOOR! You can walk up to the Capitol by going through the giant SOB (State Office Building) and taking the elevator up eight floors. TIP: There’s a two-for-one coupon for this hotel in the Alaska TourSaver.

Silverbow Inn. This USED to be next to the Silverbow Bakery—bagel shop to the stars. No more. But it’s sandwiched between two nice restaurants on Second Street. There are just 11 rooms….and it definitely qualifies as a “boutique inn,” complete with a hot tub on the deck!

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