SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



The most picturesque city in all of Alaska
By Jay Hamilton


July 23, 2006

My wife and I spent five nights and six days in your beautiful city last week (7/13-18). Ketchikan is the most picturesque city in all of Alaska. We have visited most of them. Our first trip to your city was via a cruise ship. We liked what we saw and we realized we could come back to fish as well as enjoy other tourist attractions. Locals were friendly and informative with a genuine warm welcome.

There were several tourist and service providers that truly enriched our vacation experience:

Mary Bolshakoff, owner of Alaska Travelers Accommodations, accurately explained and answered all of our questions. Her expert advice turned everything into exceeding our expectations.

Eagle Heights Bed & Breakfast owned by Tom and Cherry Ferry was unbelievable! We have traveled the world and have never stayed at a cleaner lodging accommodation. It was stocked with food, toiletries and kitchen utensils far above anything we have ever experienced. It was decorated with beautiful original art work and Alaska pioneer artifacts. The view of the water channel was fantastic.

We chartered Rick Dale of Big Fish Charters for three days. He is a class act gentleman, honest and put us on the fish. We had some special requests that Rick happily accommodated.

Annabelle's is the best restaurant we found and has an outstanding seafood menu. All staff members were fun to be around. The manager and owner took time to visit with us.

But there were tourist related problems in Ketchikan! The first ambassadors of the city in many cases are taxi drivers. We found all of the Taxis were dirty inside... just inexcusable. We were ripped off once and refused transportation another time. The two culprits were Yellow Taxi and Alaska Cab. Alaska Cab charged just under $12.00 to go from Eagle Heights B&B to Annabelle's. On the return trip using Yellow Taxi the fare was under $6.00. The Yellow cab driver was nice enough to explain the discrepancy. He charged a mileage base fare and that is what they charge local residents. Alaska Cab charged a mileage and a time fare. I was advised when calling for a cab ask for a point to point trip with the timer off. I did what he said and called for another yellow cab, but a different driver showed up. He was unkempt and when I repeated my conditions of the point to point fare he said "who are you!" and refused service and drove away. I understand a time based additional fare is justified when the patron asks the driver to show them around. I understand time based fares in large cities with heavy traffic conditions all hours of the day, but you are not a BIG city.

The other unpleasant experience was with Alaska Rain Forest Sanctuary located south of town. We pulled into visitor parking in front of a large artifacts store and went in. At the coffee bar, I asked the girl if we could walk behind the store and view the Eagles along the river. She said yes and we did for about 5-10 minutes. On our return, a man with an operation's managers badge aggressively confronted us and stated this is private property and we must leave or pay $69.00 per person like cruise customers and take their tour. We told them we were staying at a B&B. We saw the gated tour entrance and were not going to enter that section. We stated we just wanted to look at the Eagles and had permission. I am surprised he was not smart enough to say OK we will charge you 10 bucks for that privilege. The store is most inviting and the property signage we observed was "visitor parking" and "guests only". The manager has no people skills and would be terminated if working for me.

Let me stress two other points: I think it is a better value to stay at a B&B and fish from the city rather than go to a remote all inclusive fishing resort that can charge $5000 per person for the same period of time. Second we left over $4000 in your city during our stay. On a per capita basis, that's more than cruise ships.

We will return again as we had a wonderful time. Thanks for your gracious hospitality and life time memory....Texas Tourists.

Jay Hamilton
Dallas, Texas, USA

About: "I am a retired businessman. My wife owned and operated for 25 years a successful travel agency in Dallas."


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Ketchikan, Alaska