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TRAVEL JOURNAL INDEX > The Kindness of Strangers

Anchorage, AK  10/11-13/06 (Day 169-171)
The Kindness of Strangers

It’s funny how things happen. Back in September, as we were waiting for our Skagway Air flight from Haines to Glacier Bay National Park, a woman on the tarmac next to us gave us her business card and told us to call her when we were in Anchorage. We didn’t have enough time to look at the card or even introduce ourselves before she was off to board her plane.

But we kept her card and as we approach Anchorage we give Rita Gittins, owner of Alaskan Frontier Garden B&B, a call. She invites us to stay with her for a few days and we drive to her place in the foothills above Anchorage. It is stunning. On a clear day you can see Mt. McKinley. At the B&B, Rita has created a lush garden around her enormous A-frame house (an assortment of local wildlife—including moose—help Rita “prune”). There’s a hot tub on the deck. You can even get spa treatments in a private sun room. Add in a big fireplace, homey bedrooms and even two charming dogs and it’s just like your house, only way better.

We tell Rita not to bother with the breakfast part of her bed and breakfast (she’s been so generous already), but she insists and each morning is another celebration of the most important meal of the day: Belgian waffles with rum peaches, amaretto French toast, Alaskan blueberry pancakes, we count more than a dozen different types of syrup on the table, there’s reindeer sausage, gourmet coffee, herbal tea, fresh seasonal fruit, cereal and juice. Yum.

Rita, herself, is a treat. Well traveled (both within Alaska and throughout the world) she’s lead a fascinating life (so far) including running a construction company in native Alaskan villages way up north. While there, Rita developed a love and knowledge of native arts and crafts and over the years she’s amassed a museum-quality collection of pieces which are displayed throughout her home.

If we’ve convinced you to go stay with Rita (and we hope we have), do us a favor and thank her again for us!

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