The smallest town we visited while in Alaska was Haines. Haines is one of the few towns on the Inside Passage that is connected to the outside world by highway but not how you’d expect. Northeast of beautiful Glacier Bay National Park, Haines is only 14 miles from the town of Skagway, but the only way to go to Skagway from Haines is by plane or boat. There is no road. Highways 7 and 3 take you to Haines Junction in the Yukon Territory and on to Whitehorse from Haines , but this is 244 miles of driving!
Haines is a breathtakingly beautiful, friendly town of 2,500 people that is surprisingly sophisticated. It is alive with Tlingit culture and western ideas. The young man who showed us around the Sheldon Museum was native Tlingit. He was prouder of his native name, Tushkei, than he was of his given name and made sure we used it as he showed us the Sheldon’s considerable treasures. He also wanted Ruth & I to learn that he lived in his grandparent’s house. The only other museum in town was closed that day. It is the only museum in the world devoted exclusively to that humble tool, the hammer.
Some of the other tourist attractions in this small town included canned salmon, The American Bald Eagle Foundation, The Mountain Market and Cafe that turned out to be a mini Whole Foods, Historic Fort Seward, and an award-winning library. The 2 ladies at the store Ruth chose to shop in told us to buy local canned salmon at Howser’s, but we bought canned King salmon and delicious fudge from them. The fudge was great! Dylan showed us around the American Bald Eagle Foundation and introduced us to their resident 2 Alaskan bald eagles and other birds. All of their caged guests are undergoing rehabilitation. One screech owl has a detached retina. This facility also had a wonderful museum full of Alaskan animals. The courtesy bus driver who took us back to the cruise ship was operated by a local man who made sure we saw Fort Seward. It reminded me and Ruth of Fort Vancouver in our adopted city of Vancouver, WA. It even had an officers’ row!
We really enjoyed our time in Haines, Alaska. We had stopped briefly there on a previous trip on an Alaskan State Ferry, but this time we got to really see this excellent Alaskan town.