Do you remember the show from the early 90s called Northern Exposure? It is widely thought that the show is based on the Alaskan town of Talkeetna. Apparently, the cast visited for a short period of time and disliked the remoteness of the town. Hence, the show’s filming was moved to the Lower 48 in Washington.
Personally, I think they missed out on some amazing opportunities. Talkeetna is exactly what I imagine a small Alaskan town should look like. It is quirky and colorful. The people are friendly and helpful. Both times I visited I went without hotel reservations. The Roadhouse was booked full both times. The manager gladly called around to the hostels and found me a room. Who does that? She was awesome.
All the restaurants in the main street area are locally owned. The first time I visited I restaurant hopped. I was craving some variety and different options from the employer-provided food I lived on in Healy. Talkeetna did not disappoint. Fried lasagna bites and garlic pizza at Mountain High Pizza Pie. Stout brownie and vanilla ice cream at Twisted Creek. Pecan rolls and molasses cookies from The Roadhouse. Oh, so good.
The town offers many activities from flights around Denali to fly fishing. The only activity I participated in, besides eating, was the zip lining tour provided by Denali Zipline Tours. As a first-timer, I thought the tour was well worth the price. The guides were very knowledgeable and patient. They were well-informed of the area as well as on the activity. I took the 3 hour tour which included instruction and 9 ziplines.
One thing I did not know prior to going was the spectacular viewing spot for Mt. McKinley, also called Denali. If you walk down to the end of East Main street, it dead ends into a park. Keep walking. You will hit the Susitna River. Look to the right. Be ready to have your breath taken away.
See. I told you it was breath-taking.
Taking the side trip to Talkeetna off Parks Highway will be time well spent.