Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hotline Help Means Personal Service

The Anchorage Alaska Bed and Breakfast (AABBA) Hotline has been helping potential guests find high quality, inspected and approved B&B’s in the greater Anchorage area (including Chugiak, Eagle River, and Indian) for more than twenty years.

Sally, a recent visitor, stayed in Anchorage at Gardenside B&B when she first arrived in Alaska. After going to Denali National Park, she and her daughter stayed at Camai Bed and Breakfast since Gardenside did not have availability for her return. These accommodations were suggested by the AABBA Hotline volunteer.

Over breakfast at Camai, Sally commented, “I called the Hotline and got the association volunteer who was answering the phone. Mary (AABBA’s president and volunteer that week) knew the schedules and knew who would be a perfect fit for my needs.” Sally was delighted to get such personal help with planning where to stay in Anchorage.

The association members send their updated calendars of availability to the Hotline volunteer on duty.  The volunteer answers the phone from 8 in the morning until 9 at night (Alaska time).  S/he listens to your needs and then recommends up to three B&B’s which have the availability you desire.

The trained AABBA volunteer will ask you for your travel dates and the number of nights you wish to stay at the B&B.  You will also be asked the number of guests as well as how many are adults and how many are children. You will be asked how many beds you need. If you have special needs, inform the volunteer as s/he may be aware of the B&Bs that can accommodate them for you.

By staying with an association member, you know you will have a safe and enjoyable stay as all AABBA members have met the high standards of membership including onsite reviews based on more than 60 criteria. The volunteer is likely to have visited most other member bed and breakfasts personally, and has more than a printed description to consult when helping you!

The AABBA Hotline is easy and efficient to use.  Merely call 907-272-5909 to get help with finding just the right bed and breakfast for your Alaskan experience starting in Anchorage… with a local host who lives in Anchorage or environs and knows Anchorage and Alaska.

Caroline Valentine of Camai Bed and Breakfast is an Innkeeper and member of the  Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Anchorage goes Nationwide on the Early Show

Innkeepers Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association

The CBS Early Show kicked off its reality show segment “No Way Home” featuring Dave Price. Dave had $50 and his electronic gear plus a ticket to Anchorage.  His mission: get back to New York City with those limited resources in a week’s time. Viewers of the show, beating out Newport, selected Anchorage. To see the clip, visit the Alaska Daily News.
B&B hosts and other residents joined Mayor Dan Sullivan in front of the ACVB Log Cabin at 2:30 AM for the taping which aired Monday morning November 15th on CBS. Dave remarked on the Anchorage warmth, referring to the hospitality of our city.

B&B visitors often comment on that warmth, as well.  How many of them, watching the Early Show, are thinking back to their Alaska trip and their experiences in Anchorage? 

Even in the snowy months, Anchorage is a wonderful destination for travelers. Planning now for a trip during the Iditarod dog sled race March 5 2011 is timely.  Need accommodations?  Visit for one-stop shopping of the Bed and Breakfast inns that share a code of ethics and standards of practice – this group are inspected and evaluated by peers to assure comfort, quality, and cleanliness.

Near term travels may bring you to Anchorage for the holidays.  While planning, be certain to check the schedule of local cultural events on the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau site (book mark it to return for updates in coming weeks). Seeing the Nutcracker at the Performing Arts Center in Anchorage may be a highlight of your seasonal travels, and your B&B host can help you select the best of seats in the house!

Need immediate assistance?  Call the Hotline at 907-272-5909 to speak with an AABBA member – all members voluntarily staff the Hotline several weeks each year and are trained to help you find the perfect accommodations for your stay.

Rhubarb Pie - Dee's Favorite!

Dee continues her series of Rhubarb, sharing this recipe. See her previous posting about rhubarb and its story.

Rhubarb Cherry Sour Cream Pie

Pie filling:
6 Tbls. flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 ½ cups sugar (add more if you like your rhubarb recipes really sweet)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 tsps. Vanilla
6 cups rhubarb, cut into small pieces
1 can cherry pie filling (it’s ok to use sugar free filling

½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbls. butter

Prepare your own pie crust for two 9 inch pies – bottom crusts only.

Sift together flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
In a separate bowl mix egg, sour cream, vanilla and pie filling.
Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
Cut rhubarb into small pieces and put half into each of the uncooked pie shells.
Pour the combined ingredients evenly over the rhubarb. 

Prepare topping and cut in butter until crumbly.  Set aside.

Bake pies at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 for 20 more minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle topping over the pies and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes. 

Use caution when filling the pie plates.  This pie will bubble over if you over-fill the pie plate.

Dee Memoune hosts Alaska House of Jade and is one of the Innkeepers of  Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Day at Hatcher Pass for Bed & Breakfast Guests

Hatcher Pass in July
Lori Roth, Photographer
What do you do in Anchorage when it is a beautiful day and you want to go for a ride/

You can ask people on the street and many will say go to Hatcher Pass. What a wonderful place. It is a beautiful 60 minute drive from Anchorage. Once there, stop and admire the blue of the water as it passes the road. As you drive up the pass, you have no choice but to get out of your car and admire the views and the vastness mother nature has perfected. If you are lucky, you can go around a turn and see para-gliders jumping form the cliffs. 

And for a bit of gold mining history, visit Independence Mine State Historical ParkW
hat a treat! It is well worth the trip. I couldn't help myself but to take a picture of two men taking a picture of the horizon. Boy do they look small. And upon returning home, I had to check Wikipedia's entry about Hatcher Pass to know more of its story. What a diverse geography - and what an amazing number of sports take place there.  Skiing and other winter sports abound, but the summer paragliding is the most amazing to watch in the season of long days and warm temperatures.

If you come back through Palmer, try Turkey Red for lunch or dinner. You will encounter another part of history. Turkey Red is a hard winter wheat that was grown in the 1800's brought to the Matanuska Susitna valley by earlier settlers. Used for breads, the Turkey Red connection is a clue to some of the great choices on the menu. Look for locally grown foods, as these are featured daily. Then head for your Bed & Breakfast to share stories of the glorious day at Hatcher Pass!
Submitted by Lori Roth, innkeeper at Susitna Sunsets. Lori serves as President of the Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Fabulous Fur Rendezvous Festival  2/24/17-3/5/17

Walking around town in February of each year, you’ll hear people saying Let’s Rondy!  What the heck is that all about?  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and find out here. Turns out the Fur Rendezvous Festival is a significant part of the history and tradition of Anchorage!

Picture the mid-1930's.  Anchorage was a tiny town of 3,000 that stretched between the Park Strip and Ship Creek. Winters were tough, long, and hard. Spirits would dive after the holidays.  Cabin fever would hit.  People got moody, cranky if you will. 

Enter Vern Johnson, the father of Fur Rendezvous.  Vern was an outgoing Anchorage citizen, a likable man with a keen understanding of social conditions. To put the “win” back into winter and to help raise the spirits of his townspeople, he and his friends established a festival to coincide with the time that the miners and trappers came to town to sell their winter's bounty. It began as a three-day sports tournament on February 15, 16 and 17, 1935 and featured hockey, skiing, boxing, basketball and a children's sled dog race down Fourth Avenue. People came outside to “Rondy.” 
Fur Rondy Photo Gallery

Today, Fur Rendezvous continues to be a party that residents relish.  It has earned national and international notice, bringing visitors here from throughout the world. Let's Rondy!

There are many Fur Rondy events --some old, some new. The Blanket Toss*, an ancient Native Alaskan tradition, joined the Festival in 1950. Alaskan Native hunters and dancers were flown into town from Nome and Little Diomede to participate in the Blanket Toss and perform artistic, captivating tribal dances.  And of course, the Official Rondy Fur Auction has been a Festival event since the beginning- in fact, the Festival was named in large part because the fur trade was Alaska's third most valuable industry in those days.

The World Championship Sled Dog Race started in 1946 and has become a main event of the Festival bringing teams of sled dogs and mushers to Anchorage from across Alaska and the world. The World Championship Dog Weight Pull began in 1967 as a bet between two dog owners to see whose animal could pull the biggest load. Four decades later, dog owners are still competing against each other for the cash, notoriety and the highly coveted title for that event. Other traditional Fur Rondy events include the Grand Parade, the Rondy Carnival, the Alaskan Original Men's Snowshoe Softball; and the Grand Prix Auto Race, one of the oldest street races in North America.  The Frostbite Footrace, Miners and Trappers Charity Ball, the Outhouse Races and many other events are also not to be missed.  For a complete schedule of the events, see the Official Site!

“Let’s Rondy!”   See you there!  

(Official Fur Rondy Website information was used in the writing of this article.)

Written by Marilyn Morgan of 11th Avenue B&B and one of the Innkeepers of Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Winter Travel in Anchorage Alaska - Why?

Hoarfrost in Sun - MM Rydesky
Hoarfrost at Jarvi Homestay B&B

Why would anyone willingly travel to North in January?  

If for no other reason, perhaps for the beauty of the out of doors. This is the time of snow fog and icy tree limbs, called hoarfrost. Add a little sun, and you have a magical fairy land.

Hoarfrost in Snow Fog - MM RydeskyAnchorage temperatures have ranged above zero and below 32 degrees for several weeks now. With these colder temperatures, little snow falls, but the air is crisp and the ice crystals form on the trees. If snow fog is in the air, the days have a blue cast, adding to the mystery of the area's appearance. Add a bit of midday sun, or the hues of Winter sunsets, and the scenery adopts an entirely different look.

Outdoor sports are not on hold, even with this weather pattern: bicyclists and walkers are out in number - bundled up in the kind of gear that ensures a pleasant outing. Indoors, there is plenty to do: spend the day at the Anchorage Museum, attend a play or musical performance at the PAC in the evenings, or share a cup of cocoa while wrapped up in a comforter near the fireplace at your Bed & Breakfast. Round out your stay with a day trip with Salmonberry Tours, visiting a glacier for walk, or view it from a cruise. They will take you ice fishing and dog sledding - or take an overnight trip to view the Aurora Borealis!

Hoarfrost on Trees in Anchorage - MM Rydesky
Trees in January
Traveling in late February? Plan to see the ice and snow sculptures featured around the city. If you visit in early March, you can catch the Iditarod dog sled race event and plenty of Fur-Rondy happenings indoors and outside, too.

Try a Winter visit. Staying an Inspected & Approved Bed and Breakfast will make it all the cozier. If you would like some recommendations, call the AABBA Hotline at 907-272-5909 and speak with a volunteer who, as a local resident, knows what might best match your travel dreams. Hope to see you soon!

Submitted by Mary M Rydesky of Jarvi Homestay, one of the AABBA Inns Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Red Chair Visits Anchorage Alaska on Coast-to-Coast Journey

Move over Flat Stanley, the Red Chair is the newest travel icon
Jarvi Homestay Bed and Breakfast hosts The Red Chair
              Where travelers once held photos of Flat Stanley in unusual places, photographers now shoot photos of a humble red chair. Long considered simply a place to rest after a long day, the lowly wooden chair has been elevated to celebrity status, and is being welcomed at inns and B&Bs throughout America. 

It’s all part of a multi-year B&B awareness program that focuses on a traveling red porch chair to highlight the comfort, hospitality and friendliness of bed and breakfasts. Since its start in New England in 2012, B&Bs and inns have taken inspiring photos of the Red Chair from beaches to bandstands.
The Red Chair makes its way across the United States, bringing attention to B&Bs and beautiful travel destinations.  It traveled along the East Coast and Southern states in 2014, spent 2015 touring the West Coast, and so far in 2016 the chair has ventured into Alaska and Canada.  Participating B&Bs, including Anchorage’s Camai Bed and Breakfast and Jarvi Homestay Bed and Breakfast host the Red Chair, tell  its stay with blog posts and photos on and other social channels.  Thanks to a partnership with, the Red Chair makes its way across the United States, bringing attention to B&Bs and beautiful travel destinations.  
From May 7 to May 21, the chair visits Anchorage, first to visit Jarvi Homestay Bed and Breakfast and then Camai Bed and Breakfast.  Look for innkeepers Mary Rydesky  and Caroline Valentine  shooting images of the Red Chair at scenic and unique venues throughout Anchorage. Both inns have attained the “Inspected & Approved” badge of quality from the Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association (AABBA) through peer review.
Loussac Library's water sculpture suits the
Red Chair for reading and multimedia
“We are honored to be selected, and to receive the chair as National Travel and Tourism Week is closing, as it continues the celebration of B&B participation in Alaska’s booming tourism industry”, said Rydesky. 
It all started in winter 2012 with a single image.  Innkeeper Beth Colt of Woods Hole Inn posted a picture on Facebook of her simple red chair perched on the ice behind her house and watched her page light up with “likes.”  The picture was shared on the Facebook page of a nature photographer from California, who was inspired by the image to visit the Woods Hole Inn and took an amazing second photo of the chair on a local beach.
During these years, the Red Chair developed a personality of its own being photographed by innkeepers in communities from one end of New England to the other.  Starting in Cape Cod, the Red Chair journeyed throughout the six New England states on a 9-month tour.
          “This chair is the little engine that could,” said Colt.  “I could never have imagined that it would travel so far, to every corner of America, all on the kindness and hospitality of innkeepers. It’s a barn-raising of sorts; the sharing of a piece of Americana.”
Stories from the Red Chair’s travels have been chronicled on blogs at each stop throughout its journey. Look for tales of the Red Chair’s travels to Camai Bed and Breakfast and Jarvi Homestay Bed and Breakfast on the AABBA Blog ( as well as on the websites and social media for Jarvi Homestay and Camai Bed and Breakfast.
For a compilation of these blogs, visit . For a complete view of Red Chair photos, visit and get ready to be inspired. To learn more about Jarvi Homestay, visit and Camai Bed and Breakfast at 
About the Hosting Bed and Breakfasts
Craig and Caroline Valentine have been operating Camai Bed and Breakfast since May 1981 and welcome visitors from the world over. Caroline is a retired public school mathematics teacher. She is now a math adjunct at University of Alaska Anchorage. Craig is a retired civil engineer. Caroline is a handbell director and church musician. She remains active in AABBA and has served as President, Vice-President and Treasurer

             Mary M Rydesky opened Jarvi Homestay in 2007 to host health care practitioners traveling to and from the rural communities of Alaska.  Today, travelers seeking a ‘healthy way to stay’ are her guests. She teaches business management for Wayland Baptist University and the University of Anchorage, encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in every student. She currently serves as President of the Anchorage Alaska Bed and Breakfast Association (AABBA).

Innkeepers Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association