Fun & Weird
A Hundred Dollar Bills Ya’ll!
Chatanika Lodge was the last stop of our last day in Fairbanks. We started off with a trek to North Pole (how can you not go when it’s less than 30 minutes away?). Despite my rather candid review from the summer, my friend still felt rather let down by the experience. Not much I could do about that, since all I said is that we’d see reindeer and visit Santa’s house, which is what we did…
We grabbed lunch at the Mexican place in town, but apparently we should have visited Pagoda Restaurant which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives for the walnut shrimp.
It did not take long to see the North Pole sights and still had several hours until our flights left, so we dcided to check out Chatanika Lodge. It had been recommended as a great place to see the Northern Lights but fortunately our place wound up being perfectly situated. If you need a good view though, this is likely to be a great place to go — good 360 views and very little, if any light pollution.
It’s a 30-45 minute drive out of town on Steese Hwy and along the way you’ll pass a viewing area for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
The restaurant is much what you might expect — the usual selection of bar food with Alaska prices. A comfortable atmosphere with friendly people and an adorable dog!
We were there around 4, early for the dinner crowd, and got to hang out with a few locals and one or two other tourists. And spent some time checking out the bar tradition of autographing a dollar bill to be posted somewhere on the walls and ceiling.
The bathroom was rather amusing — double sinks and one enormous stall with swinging doors that don’t latch.
I was sad that we were apparently a few weeks too early for the Chatanika Days which features outhouse races and human bowling!
If you’re on a tight schedule and not going for the Northern Lights, it’s probably not worth the time it takes to get out there. But if you’re looking for things to do or need a place for the Aurora Borealis, it’s a fun time.
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