Cruising Alaska

I may not be able to see Russia from my house, but I can see The World from my deck.

I am often asked "do people in town like the tourists?" Of course we do is my response. We love our tourists and it isn't because of the dollars tourism generates - although that is a good reason in and of itself. I think we feel rather honored that a bunch of people are willing to spend their time and hard earned money to travel to our playground.

Wrangell is a small town of 2000 people where Front Street is lined with privately owned businesses taking care of the locals. And while the owners thrive during the summer months our businesses are open year round for our needs. "Shop Local" is a slogan heard strongly throughout our community.

In other communities the downtown businesses are owned and/or operated by the the cruise industry. Not only do storefronts close during the off season most locals don't venture into the downtown area. In those communities taking a picture of an eagle is without question easier than spotting a local Alaskan. Shops include tourist trinkets made in China, employee name tags of those from India, the Philippines, and South Africa, and "deep discounts" taken at the register for the BOGO special of the day. In fact, stepping off a ship in the Caribbean looks a lot like landing in Juneau. Even the names of jewelry stores are the same. (Ok, so I'm not sure about the names of the jewelry stores but you get my point.)

If locals act like they don't like tourists coming to their town, you are probably in the wrong place. Wrangell is known for being the friendliest town in Alaska for a reason. People here are REALLY nice. And I'm not saying that just because I live here. And it isn't that they try and go out of their way to be nice because you're from out of town. People here are just nice which probably can be a bit overwhelming if you aren't used to it.