Monday, July 2, 2012

Hot and Cold at Chena Hot Springs

We left Fairbanks and headed up Chena Hot Springs Road which is a 57 mile road that begins about 5 miles outside of Fairbanks. Our destination is Chena Hot Springs Resort and is at the end of the scenic road. We saw a Moose or two on the way but that was it for wildlife. The springs at the resort were found in 1905 and  people have been coming here ever since. It is known worldwide for its legendary healing waters and is especially popular in the winter due to its many viewings of the Aurora Borealis. The resort has hotel rooms as well as rv sites, a restaurant and bar, indoor and outdoor pools and an ice museum with ice bar. We stayed tucked into one of the treed sites. Really tucked in.

The resort is nicely landscaped with flowers everywhere. They have horses to ride and tours of the ice museum and a dog kennel tour with sled dog rides. They are into renewable energy and have greenhouses in which they grow some vegetables and herbs that they use in their restaurant. They are making use of the first low temperature binary geothermal power plant built in Alaska and have several projects in process, including production and use of hydrogen and vegetable oil for fuel. We took advantage of their outdoor pool which is surrounded by rocks and though not real hot was very nice and relaxing. They have an indoor pool and several indoor and outdoor hot tubs as well.


 However, our favorite thing we did here was take the Ice Museum tour. We ran through the rain(yes, more rain) and put on big heavy parkas before entering the building as it is set at about 20 degrees. The main architect of most of the art is 15 time World Ice Art Champion Steve Brice and his six times champion wife, Heather Brice. It is just amazing what they can do, creating an ice bar, overhead chandeliers made of individually carved ice crystals which change color every six seconds to mimic the northern lights.




     We paid extra for a drink at the ice bar, a delicious appletini served in a carved martini glass. The seats, which of course are also carved from ice, have warm seats as they are covered in fur, as is the bed.




     Below are the talented ice artists at work.  Just making the hundreds of martini glasses used weekly along keeps them busy. Most people broke theirs outside but we kept ours putting them in the freezer until we get some martini ingredients and use them one more time.


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