Juneau: Midnight Twilight, Cruise Ships, Ubiquitous Seafood

– From the hotel at 10:00 P.M.

In much of the world, dusk is usually fleeting. Light and dark briefly touch and then pull away as if feeling discomfort in each other’s presence. But here, in June, the sun never really sets. Light and dark linger as if unsure of their aim. Dusk happens between midnight and 2:00 A.M. after which morning breaks immediately. A world without night is a world without mystery. It’s unsettling.

juneau 4This year we decided to forego the Wine Media Conference in Australia and attend the International Food Blogger’s Conference held this year in Juneau. The conference itself is mostly about social media marketing—a topic about which I care little. But conferences are seldom about the theme of the conference and more about the culture that provides the venue. And Juneau is as fascinating as it is beautiful. It’s really on old mining town and fishing village that’s been blessed with 1.2 million tourists each year pouring out of cruise ships to sample the local cuisine and shop.

The city is crammed into a sliver of flat land between the ocean and precipitous mountain slopes that make road building prohibitively expensive.  Thus there are no roads that connect Juneau to the rest of the American continent. It’s accessible only by boat and plane. Their food is foraged from the ocean; about 60% of the fresh seafood caught in the U.S. each year comes from Alaskan waters and fish farming here is illegal.

There may be no better place in the world to eat fresh fish, and Juneau has developed a thriving food scene. Thanks to Midgie at Juneau Food Tours for a wonderfully informative tour.

juneau 2Highlights from this day of exploring Juneau’s food culture include crab cakes from Tracy’s King Crab Shack, this utterly strange blue tea made from dried blueberries and devil’s club, a locally foraged herb, found at Harbor Tea and Spice, and a salsa made from dried kelp, sampled at The Salmon Shoppe.juneau3

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