Recently, my parents (Nana Dee and Papa Ray to the boys) came for a visit. It was brief and the weather was NOT very cooperative. But, we made the most of their time trying to take in some of the sites within about an hour or so of Anchorage.
On an overcast, drizzly weekday, we took a drive up to the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su for short) Valley. The boys and I had not been up to the Wasilla area since we went house hunting in late January. It amazes me how the distance up there is not much more than going into Anchorage proper, yet we just had not been inspired to head up there.
First stop on the ‘tour’ was the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce.
Who’s their most famous resident of the moment?
Why it’s Sarah Palin!
I’d read in a recent paper that tourists will go all about town in hopes of running into her. But, just in case you do not have that random encounter, you can stop by the Chamber of Commerce for a photo op with a Sarah Palin head! Sounded like fun to me (and my dad who HAS met Mrs. Palin in real life.)
The “Sarah board” is definitely a bit on the shiny side. The boys thought it was a little bit creepy that people would go and have a photo op. But, we deemed it a great stop on our quick visit to Wasilla!
The Chamber of Commerce is housed in one of the historic buildings…the old railroad depot.
Leaving the Chamber offices, we drove over to the Iditarod Trail Race Headquarters.
They have a small room with photos, trophies and seating to watch a film about the Iditarod. There is also the requisite gift shop in the main building. Close by to the main building is the original cabin that Joe Redington built near the trailhead used by mushers in the past.
He’s considered the father of the modern day Iditarod Trail race.
In the smallish ‘museum’ room, there were some neat bronze works of art dealing with the Iditarod.
And, two preserved dogs related to the Iditarod.
There was even a replica of Balto that the boys visited in the gift shop!
By the time we left the Iditarod Headquarters, the boys were famished. So, we made a pit stop at Carl’s Jr. (their new favorite fast food establishment) before driving over to Palmer.
In the historic area of Palmer, you’ll find a visitor center/ museum that has a lot about the area’s history inside it’s small walls.
This painting depicts the previous state fair record holders AT LIFE SIZE! They had a cabbage top the previous record recently,so the picture needs updating.
But, the gem is OUTside as they have an educational garden that truly showcases all they can grow up in the Mat Su Valley.
I’ll have to do a separate post to show off some of the flowers and plants growing in their garden. Someone truly interested in horticulture could spend a fair bit of time just browsing each planting bed.
All I can say is that I wish I saw that much color looking outside my windows. But, alas, that’s the difference between living in the valley and living on the mountainside.