Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hope: Picturesque Alaskan History off the Beaten Track

Our original plan was to take the RV from Seward down to Homer before heading back to Anchorage to end our trip. However, after a few days of sun and hiking on the Kenai peninsula, the prospect of driving another 4 hours south did not appeal. Instead, we decided on a last minute detour to Hope, Alaska. I'm so glad we did!
Hope has a population of 190 people, all of whom appear to live in idyllic mini log cabins with bright painted doors.
The town was a hub of gold-mining activity in the 1890's. We stumbled across the volunteer-run historical museum.
Inside, the museum has hundreds of artifacts donated by locals, including the original post office set-up.
Outside the museum are a handful of old log buildings including a school, lodging house and blacksmith shop. Each one is carefully outfitted with period-appropriate trimmings and has a recorded narration at the push of a button.
The thought of these Alaskan locals volunteering to act out narration to tell the story of a german school teacher and cook from 110 years ago was just too endearing.
From the historical museum, we walked a few houses down to the public library. Housed in the old schoolhouse, this library was started by a local volunteer in 1987 and has expanded now to a very nice gift shop, espresso shack and a used book store.
I "caught" a hand-sewn halibut pot-holder in the shop.
More perfect little log cabins and art studios on the way to "downtown" (pictured at the top of the post).
Most of the waterfront town center washed away in the big 1964 earthquake, leaving just the bar, cafe, community hall, one small store and RV camping. Past town, you can follow a trail through campsites out to a large grassy meadow.
So romantic to wander this windy field with snow covered mountains in the distance and a rushing river flowing into the Turnagin Arm bay. Sandhill cranes and loose horses galloping around.
Crazy pretty and so much like what you'd expect from Alaska! We ended our day in Hope at the 100-year old Seaview Bar.
Bar snacks, local microbrews, Cards Against Humanity and good conversation inside.
Outside, a local band was playing on the patio.
Cheers to you, Hope! Here's to another 100 years of your adorable town and artistic, tidy, civic-minded locals.


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