The flight from Juneau to Gustavus is only about 50 miles by air – a trip so short that there’s no time to remove your seat belt or use the lavatory. That was fine with me, because I don’t care much for flying. I prefer to just get it over with. Within about 20 minutes or less, we were in Gustavus, which has a population of 1,000 in the summer and about 400 in the winter. I imagine they freeze their asses off in the winter.
After landing, we jumped on this “vintage” bus for the 10 mile ride to Glacier Bay Lodge, located at Bartlett Cove. This is near the entrance to Glacier Bay.
Here’s the lodge, where I got to see how the other half lives.
I admired museum-quality art before eating in the Fairweather Dining Room, where we enjoyed a “free” meal. Well, it wasn’t really free. It was part of the package deal that my parents paid for and probably cost an arm and a leg. Still, with our tickets we got a three-course meal and could pick anything for an appetizer, entree and dessert. Life was good.
They didn’t have my usual Peter Vella in a box, so we had to settle for this swill.
For an appetizer I had the wild Alaskan salmon cakes served with a spicy sweet chili seaweed and cucumber topped with a lemon aioli. As you can see, the chef had fun with his or her plastic squirt bottles.
For an entree I had the wild Alaskan salmon served with sweet onion, carrot and summer squash ragout, Yukon gold whipped potatoes and a red wine syrup. For some reason fancy dinners are supposed to be “tall,” which is why the salmon is propped up on the potatoes. The salmon was fantastic. Once again, those squirt bottles were liberally used in the kitchen.
I was way too full for dessert, but ordered it anyway. This is called The Queen, which is ice cream served on a flour-free brownie. At first I thought “Big deal. I could make that at home anytime.” Wrong! The flour-free brownie is like some sort of chocolate merengue. It’s light and airy and decadently delicious.
After dinner, it was time to explore. We admired this Tinglit canoe, carved from a Sitka spruce.
We hiked the Forest Loop Trail near the lodge.
This is a classic Alaskan landscape. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any mosquitoes.
We made our way to Bartlett Cove, skipped some rocks and then called it a night. I returned to my stylish room, made some orange tea and flipped through some books about Glacier Bay.
The next morning we returned to the Fairweather Dining Room for breakfast before our boat ride up Glacier Bay. Check out this incredible hand-carved piece in the dining room.
Then again, such art is even better when it’s oozing with sap, like this piece carved in a tree on the path to the dock.
Here’s the view from the dock. It was foggy, but it looked like it would burn off.
Our boat was waiting for us. The Fairweather Express II is a 78.5-foot-long aluminum catamaran propelled by water jets.
Upon boarding the boat, we were each given a plastic cup, shown above, for our beverages, as well as a map. The circle at the bottom is the dock near the lodge. The circle at the top was our destination.
Coming next: Glaciers, grizzlies and mountain goats