My most recent trip took me to Juneau, Alaska to visit a friend who has been living there for a couple of years. As you can imagine, the word Alaska does not inspire confidence when coupled with the word vacation. However, this was the opposite of my experience. I pictured something like this...
Instead what I encountered was something more like this:
Despite low temperatures, the summer in Juneau was quite pleasant. I lucked out in having multiple days of sunshine instead of the predicted rain. What struck me most about Juneau was the easy going, slow-paced nature of the city. People took their time and seemed to enjoy the simple pleasures.
Nature and the abundance of it struck me next. Juneau has a paradise-like feel to it (at least for the summer) and depending on what you are looking for there is a view just for you. You have mountains, forests, lakes, the open road, the beaches (and lagoons), glaciers, and more. Juneau may be small and isolated, but it feels more open and expansive than any other place I have visited. I was incredibly thankful for the crisp and clean air. Living in the city, it is something that I miss dearly.
Aside from taking in nature and great seafood, me and friends were able to catch a free performance from Milo Matthews. My friend had warned me that usually there isn't good music in Juneau but Matthews seemed to be the exception that night. He crafted alternative covers to well-known songs that made you doubt the original was in-fact the original. He was masterful with the guitar, his drum pad, his effects pedal, and his loop machine. Matthews came with no band and no entourage but still created a memorable show. Keep an eye on him as he travels throughout the world on his next tour.
Oh and did I mention the food in Alaska... salmon heaven!