Tuesday, October 21, 2008

North Pole, Alaska

This is the sign next to the Baptist Church on St. Nicholas Drive in North Pole, Alaska. There is an RV Park behind it, and then the famous Santa Claus House down the street from it.
North Pole was given its name in hopes of attracting a toy factory into town that never transpired for some reason that I'm too busy to look into. Its an attraction to many tourist, both in summer and winter seasons. The famous Santa Claus House is situated here, like I said, with its exotic, Christmasy goods for sale all year round. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, you can find Father Christmas there ready to hear your wishes and dreams for the holiday season, or whenever you happen to stop by. We've never been lucky enough to catch him there, must be the other days that we stop by --either that or he's on break, feeding the reindeer right outside or getting a yummy mocha from the coffee shop right inside.
North Pole is home to about 7,500 souls, a lot of the folks working out of Eielson AFB or Ft Wainwright. Downtown North Pole boasts a Pizza Hut, Blockbuster, McDonalds, a couple of banks, an AT&T Store, Wendy's and the famous Pagoda Restaurant. Another place to get a good meal is Dalman's right on Badger Road with friendly folks to serve up a meal. There are 3 gas stations, Sourdough, Tesoro and ... is it another Sourdough???.. hmmmm, I'm not exactly sure, but right within less than 100 yards from eachother.
There is a highschool, a middle school and an elementary school - with more than a few churches within the area, of all denominations. A senior center, dental and optometry offices, even a couple of salons that offer day spas. There is a hotel opening up right next to Safeway, an indoor play center with laser tag and electric go-carts. You can also find the Chena Lakes Recreation Area right outside the city area open all year round. There's a kids park, lakes to fish in, picnic tables and pavilions, ski trails, and hiking trails. Also near the park, is the Chena Lakes Flood Plain built by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Weather here is extreme -- in the winters, down to -60 in the coldest of days. The sun rises about 10am in the morning and goes down about 4pm in the afternoon. Snowfall is about 6-10 inches.
Summer days are long, about 16+ hours of daylight from June - Aug with mid 70s and low 80s degrees as the norm. Tons of mosquitoes but lots to do.

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