Working for a small, independent company means that a lot of us will cram 12 months’ worth of work into 5 – most of us will work 70-80 hours a week for five months, May through September; at the end of September the cruise ships stop coming and life comes to a screeching halt. Some of us welcome the change; others, like yours truly, deal with the sudden lack of running all day by organizing all of the canned goods in our pantry and then visiting friends to do the same to theirs. Not the healthiest coping mechanism, I’ll grant you, but it looks pretty!
Once the initial shock wears off, we go out! Juneau is like an island: if you didn’t bring it here, you won’t find it here. We’re extremely lucky to be in the company of some incredible talent – open mic nights are ubiquitous, happening almost every night of the week. From Woosh Kinaadeiyí Poetry Slam at an area coffee shop to the Alaskan Hotel & Bar open mic ukulele, folk and bluegrass, there’s a way for everyone to refill their cup of local flavor. For the less professional – but maybe more drunk – crooners, there’s not a night where you can’t find karaoke.
Winter is also the time when old friends reappear! Juneau isn’t just tourism – federal, state and city governments are huge employers here, and we have a thriving medical community serving almost all of southeast Alaska. Now that we have time, we settle in with our loved ones and enjoy winter’s coziness. Dinner- and movie nights, live performances at Perseverance Theater, hiking through the snow to a warm cabin for a couple nights of Cards Against Humanity and wine, and Mudrooms and Food Truck Fridays are all activities that we enjoy while renewing the bonds of friendship. And always, everyone is welcome – it’s not just the more the merrier, it’s that we just want MORE! Many of us are thousands of miles away from our families. The friends you choose in Alaska become your family.
Cruising to Alaska is great, of course! But, just once, come visit in the winter. Hotel rooms are plentiful; use a nationwide chain or luxuriate in a local B&B like the Beachside Villa Luxury Inn, where Susan will make sure you’re supplied with hot cocoa and directions for the best Northern Lights viewing. A cozy beach bonfire and hot buttered rum will leave you knowing that Alaskan winter is nothing if not full of charm.