A Well Kept Secret, Nenana, Alaska

Nenana means, in the Native Athabascan language, a good place to visit between two rivers.  Although this may be a loose translation, the meaning rings true in Nenana, Alaska, this little village/city in the Interior of Alaska.

Nenana sits just south and west of the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks, Alaska, and is a short drive of 56 miles heading south from Fairbanks on the George C. Parks Highway.

This short stretch of the Parks Highway features some of the most amazing scenery on the entire highway from Fairbanks south to nearly Anchorage.

There are points that on a clear day give amazing views of Denali “The Great One”, or Mt. McKinley as it is sometimes referred to.  The surrounding mountains are just as spectacular, stretching along half the distant horizon from different vantages along that short stretch.

As you travel along the ridges, valleys and curves of this well maintained highway, you may see at different times of the year, hitchhikers and bicyclers.  If you are a long-distance bicycler looking for some strenuous exercise, this is a good contender.  Many times as I have traveled this stretch of road, I’ve seen bicyclers huffing and puffing their way sloooowly up the hills.  I don’t usually notice them going down hills, though, probably due to the short amount of time it takes to cruise down the steep hills.

What’s to do in Nenana, Alaska?

There are a general store, a few places to wine while you dine, one gas station, overnight accommodations, both indoors and out and summers, more than in winter.  There is also a very informative cultural center with a gift shop with authentic local gift and souviner items.  Then, you should know that Nenana is home of the Nenana Ice Classic, Alaska’s unofficial lottery.  Tickets are only $2.50 each and the annual winnings are usually in the neighborhood of three hundred thousand dollars.  Talk about return on investment.

If you are in business and are looking for a getaway for a small conference, maybe for your sales staff, there are sufficient numbers of accommodations and meeting facilities for small groups, moreso in the spring, summer and early fall.

If you’re in real estate, prices are low.  My home cost $33,000. but it’s a fixer-upper.  It’s now worth about $55,000. due to some work on our parts, not necessarily in an upswing in the market.  So, for an investment standpoint, long term is the norm.  Nowadays, you can see real estate signs out on some properties, but that has been a recent development.  When I moved here in 1997, there were lots of places for sale, but it was strictly word of mouth.  I would encourage any realtors to advertise in the local newspaper, Nenana News Link, owned by Diane Neill Jensen of Nenana Messenger.





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