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Old 11-21-2010, 05:15 PM
 
Location: AK
214 posts, read 248,590 times
Reputation: 83
Default Any small towns on the rs that aren't so touristy?

I've lived in rural AK (off the road system) for a few years now- on the Norton Sound, on the YK Delta, and now on the North Slope.

Next summer, I'll be driving up from the lower 48 and all over AK, and want to scout out some towns for my future permanent home- hoping to get a house built within the next 5 years or so.

I have a picture in my mind of where I want to live:
-NO tourists (I would find that very annoying)
-One main street or square that I can walk (like in Palmer or Nome's front street) with all the local businesses (no chains, except maybe AC) that has some charm
-A friendly, tight knit community with good people
-Spread-out residences (I want a log house in the woods a miles or so out of town on a few acres)
-Lots of snowmachine and hiking trails
-On the Road System

Does a place like this even exist? I visited Palmer last summer and liked it except for all the tourists, and the 'suburbia' feel of it. Also, knowing the Palins were so close made me a little nauseous :P

I prefer the weather, feel, and scenery of Fairbanks to Anchorage, by the way. It feels more like 'real' AK to me, so I feel like I should start out around there.

Any suggestions for the itinerary?

Thank ya in advance!
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
14,719 posts, read 23,815,850 times
Reputation: 12651
Sterling is pretty much what you described...except we have no town square. We do have a 5 lane through what I call town...so in the summer when the tourist flow comes through, we can actually pull out onto the road. Sterling is purely a residential community and 10 miles from town. There are a few business' like a gas station, elementary school, a few churches, one bar, and a pizza place.
It's extremely quiet in the fall/winter/spring. It borders the moose range and has miles upon miles of woods with a powerline and gasline cleared nearby which offers some nice riding of snowmachines and 4 wheelers. There are lot's of hiking trails within 10 miles and lot's of lakes closer than that. With the Kenai and Moose River meeting right in the center of the community, boating is another great option.
There is still alot of vacant land in just about any acreage one would want to build on. The locals are a fine bunch. We have an unofficial organization we call the Sterling Mafia. A group of locals that make it a point to help anyone that needs it...regardless of what that might be. It's located in the center of the Kenai Peninsula so traveling to any of the coastal towns ranges from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. It's colder in the winter, but warmer in the summer due to it's location.
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
1,929 posts, read 2,272,664 times
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Ester?

Willow?
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:37 PM
 
Location: AK, CA, FL, WA, AUS
6,134 posts, read 4,258,151 times
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Talkeetna, it might be too touristy for you during the summer though.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:02 PM
 
Location: AK
214 posts, read 248,590 times
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Cool, I'll make a list and be sure to visit these towns next summer. Haven't been to any of them, but it's funny you mentioned Ester- that's where my cousin lives. I'll be staying with family at his cabin out there for New Year's, so I'll check it out. I wasn't aware it was an actual town.

Thanks
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Palmer
2,485 posts, read 3,656,505 times
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Pretty much all the real towns on the roads are touristy in the summer. Come in the winter and you won't have to worry about them.

There are places like Manley and Kenny Lake that aren't touristy...but they don't have a real town center either.

Ester is one of those places too.

You might check out Nenana.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
20,960 posts, read 21,198,544 times
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Sutton!
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Deltana, AK
698 posts, read 707,525 times
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Delta seems to be a lot less touristy than most places on the primary, paved road system (though it's impossible to avoid entirely unless you're well onto the gravel), and it fits your description of a concentrated town center with most people living on large lots in the woods scattered throughout the general region. Other benefits are the "junction" location so there's lots of beautiful, mostly empty, but accessable country, especially to the south in Alaska Range. Great hunting, good fishing (for the interior), lots of multi-use trails (only a couple designated single tracks for hikers and bikers). Some "brand stores" (NAPA, IGA) in town but they're locally owned. It's also less buggy here than in much of the interior because of gravelly soils and frequent wind. No borough, no taxes.

Downsides: The wind in summer is nice, but gets really old in winter, though the circulation keeps it warmer than Fairbanks (doesn't feel like it of course). The town itself isn't particularly attractive (though better than most small interior communities) with businesses just kinda scattered along the highways, but I'd say the unique combination of mountains, farmland, and forest of the region makes up for it. Also, the missile defence station nearby is the main driver in our economy at the moment. It means the demographics are a little more interesting than many towns this small, and we have a lot of restaurants, but also a more transient population. Many won't like the atmosphere that the military base leads to. To minimize it, live closer to Big Delta / Tanana Loop, or maybe way out along the Alaska Highway, where most residents are more tied to the land and community.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Anchorage, AK
191 posts, read 175,789 times
Reputation: 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by heathen View Post
Delta seems to be a lot less touristy than most places on the primary, paved road system (though it's impossible to avoid entirely unless you're well onto the gravel), and it fits your description of a concentrated town center with most people living on large lots in the woods scattered throughout the general region. Other benefits are the "junction" location so there's lots of beautiful, mostly empty, but accessable country, especially to the south in Alaska Range. Great hunting, good fishing (for the interior), lots of multi-use trails (only a couple designated single tracks for hikers and bikers). Some "brand stores" (NAPA, IGA) in town but they're locally owned. It's also less buggy here than in much of the interior because of gravelly soils and frequent wind. No borough, no taxes.

Downsides: The wind in summer is nice, but gets really old in winter, though the circulation keeps it warmer than Fairbanks (doesn't feel like it of course). The town itself isn't particularly attractive (though better than most small interior communities) with businesses just kinda scattered along the highways, but I'd say the unique combination of mountains, farmland, and forest of the region makes up for it. Also, the missile defence station nearby is the main driver in our economy at the moment. It means the demographics are a little more interesting than many towns this small, and we have a lot of restaurants, but also a more transient population. Many won't like the atmosphere that the military base leads to. To minimize it, live closer to Big Delta / Tanana Loop, or maybe way out along the Alaska Highway, where most residents are more tied to the land and community.
Hope sounds like a real possibility for what you want. Another choice might be Cordova? It isn't on the road system ..but it is an easy ferry ride to Valdez which is. Cordova has a nice small downtown, good community feel.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
4,043 posts, read 4,807,689 times
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Delta was a lot more touristy in the '70's and '80's, big buses full of them would make stops in town, and there was a lot of Alaska stuff for sale, like moose turd jewelry and sourdough starter and fake native items, and the usual clothes, spoons and shot glasses. I thought of Delta too, just wasn't sure of how much summer tourism activity there is anymore. It's not all idyllic, the town has maybe more than its share in social problems.
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