William Seward was perhaps the most important Secretary of State in US History. The statue of him above is a landmark in Juneau. There is a town named after him in Alaska. Seward is a divided city of about 2,700 people 127 miles almost due south of Anchorage on a drivable highway. Ruth and I had not been to Seward until this cruise. I recently learned that Seward, like Lincoln, was assassinated. He was stabbed in the throat and later died as the result of his injuries.
When I say that the town of Seward is divided, I mean that it’s in 2 parts and both might be considered rather gritty. We spent all of our time there in the commercial section among Seward’s many parking lots after disembarking from our cruise ship, and we had a tour of the town as the result of bonding with a lady from Unalaska. She was spending the summer in Seward after leaving her Aleutian Island home. Maybe the fact that I had been there caused her to talk more about her island, her husband, and her children. She did not seem in especially good health, so I wondered if her summer on the mainland had something to do with her decision to leave Unalaska temporarily. She had learned Seward well, gave us a good tour of it, and dropped us where we could catch our bus to Anchorage. I’m sorry I did not get her name.
The town of Seward is adjacent to Kenai Fjords National Park. The part we were now in was mixed businesses and a boat harbor, not new developments. We did find a popular restaurant across the street with coffee, food, and a usable restroom while we waited for our bus to return. We had spent the previous day staring at the Harding Ice Field and Exit Glacier, which has unfortunately receded a lot due to global warming and other factors. This glacier is considered the #2 attraction here. #1 is the National Park. Other attractions that we could have gone to included the Kenai Fjords Visitor Center, the harbor that included a mix of available fishing boats, a library that doubles as a museum, the Van Gilder Hotel, and the renowned Alaska Sealife Center that was within walking distance. Sea Life’s proudest accomplishment is the rehabilitation of damaged sea life. This aquarium ‘s main attractions for both of us included octopi and puffins. Its octopus encounter is especially popular, but we had watched an octopus for hours at an aquarium while on our way to the Gulf Islands so were not especially interested now.
Seward has had an interesting history. It was the town closest to the epicenter of the largest earthquake in history, a 9.2 monster that was centered just 95 miles from it. It was supposed to be the start of the famous Iditarod Race that ends every year in Nome, which is far away from Seward but another city won that honor. It is the mural capital of Alaska.
While we waited for our bus to Anchorage, a city that now looks like any other, we were joined by a cruising couple from Memphis. They had nothing good to say about their city in Tennessee. We liked our bus trip to Alaska’s largest city, and it gave us the opportunity to reminisce about 2 attractions from the past, The Turnagain Arm and the Alyeska Ski Resort that is unfortunately 35 miles from Anchorage and a very cold place to ski. Seeing the mud flats gave the bus driver an opportunity to warn all passengers to avoid them when the tide is coming in.