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Aurora borealis. The northern lights. Often nothing but a light
green glow in skies of the northern continental United States. But
in the cold, crisp Alaskan skies, the air becomes charged with
electricity as the lights flare up and dance their long red and
green tendrils leaping into the heavens, pulsing and swirling like
curtains in the breeze.
Fairbanks, Alaska, offers one of the best aurora-viewing
opportunities and finding the right combination of lodging and
services makes all the difference. Located 12 miles from the
Fairbanks airport, Taste of Alaska offers all this, yet with the
conveniences of being downtown. I felt like I was at the end of the
road, and in many ways, I was.
Owner Debbie Eberhardt rises up and greets me warmly. She offers
me coffee and a seat at one of the huge picture windows. This isn’t
your everyday B&B. This is bed, breakfast and adventure.
Around the grounds, the trails were small roads coursing through
dense stands of birch and spruce. Grouse drummed in the distance,
and fresh moose tracks crossed the trail. No mosquitoes. No
pollution. No noise. The pond was decorated with ample
placer-mining decor, from dredge buckets to metal tractor seats
welded onto large water pipes used for sluicing operations.
This is the Alaska experience set on 280 acres of remote boreal
forest decorated with collectibles from the early 1900s. Walter
Eberhardt, Debbie’s father-in-law, settled the 160-acre homestead
in 1947 and continues to farm today at age 84.
“The entire lodge is patterned after an Alaskana theme from our
home cooking with smoked salmon and blueberries, to the
collectibles in each room,” Debbie said. “We live elsewhere, and
guests have the entire building for themselves. I’m up at 6 a.m. to
prepare breakfast, and you won’t see me unless you need me.”
The remote cabins on the property are mini-resorts and their
inside decor could easily make the cover of Good Housekeeping. They
are perfect for honeymooners or couples who want their privacy to
see the northern lights on their own schedule.
The two-story log home is more resort oriented, while the
spacious dining room offers a look at the scenery. But this is no
ordinary view. From here, guests can take in the Alaska Range,
Mount McKinley, and Fairbanks in the distance.
Few sights are more spectacular in mid-winter than watching
Fairbanks glow under a blanket of ice fog, the mountains bathed in
the orange glow of the Alaska sun as it races across the southern
skyline. In a few hours, these sights are replaced by a nightly
performance of the northern lights. The lodge offers a front-row
seat to some of Alaska’s finest natural performances.
Some groups like this arrangement because they can easily gather
and discuss issues comfortably, without interruption, all at the
“Our large-scale building and outlying cabins allow us to cater
to large groups,” she said. “Private bathrooms are a must, as are
For example, the Log House offers clients private, two-bedroom
accommodations as well as a hot tub, full kitchen, dining and
living room and 1½ baths.
The entire house is appointed with antiques, handmade quilts and
collectibles. Log House visitors can have breakfast set up in the
house the night before or eat at the Main Lodge at 8 a. m. each
morning. Cable television, phone service and wireless Internet
access are available.
Taste of Alaska has a beer and wine license, which allows them
to serve alcoholic beverages with appetizers or the full-dinner
service they have during the winter months. And clients won’t need
reservations: The B&B is not open to the public.
Even with ample privacy, Debbie said creating this outdoor
hideaway has been challenging.
“We have had several weddings, where the moose have joined in,”
Commission: 20 percent
Room rates start at $185 for two people and $200 for a