Early images are a great reflection on tourism today...
It's so Cold!
Worth visiting, only the foolish or courageous stay.
Most people live their entire lifetime without ever seeing the Arctic Ocean. So if you come this far, you might as well get your feet wet. The Arctic Ocean is completely frozen most of the year, but in summer the ice around the shore thaws for several miles out. The beach is comprised of small smooth pebbles, and the water is somewhat warmer than...more
The image I have from the air shows that the Artic Ocean in July, 1960 was still full of ice. My Aunt Margaret poses for a photo on the beach without a jacket, although the native boy is wearing one. Note that she is wearing a skirt and probably 3" heals, which as typical for her travel at the time. (My Uncle Chris typically wore a suit and tie...more
Here are the images of town in 1960. Note the unpaved road, the waterfront, and the "shopping mall". At this time all lumber had to be brought in by ship. The local church had a Cessna that provided medical and professional transport for the church. I'm not sure how my aunt and uncle arrived, but they almost certain came by plane.more
It blows. The place was crummy. If you want the Westin go somewhere else. The view was the best...more
I stayed at the King Eider Inn and the hotel is the best in Barrow. The hotel is located across the...more
This small, 16 room hotel is the third place I sought refuge when I was stranded in Barrow for the...more
The restaurant is a small 6 or 7 table, establishment, run by the owners. Very friendly and great cooks. TRY THE PORK BULGOGI. A korean dish that can be spiced up with a chili sauce. It is to die for. I recomend any of the sushi, and breakfast is the staple, with reindeer sausage. The Korean Fare is great though understated on the Menu. The Bento...more
A local native couple I met in Barrow recommended this restaurant to me as a place that serves bigger portions and charges less money than the restaurants a couple of blocks away but nearer the major tourist hotel. I took their advice and went here for a late supper - around 10 p.m. Since the sun didn't set until after midnight, and then only...more
No roads led to Barrow. Water transportation is limited to a few weeks when the ice receeds on the Arctic Ocean during the short summer. Therefore, air is the only practical way for most people to reach Barrow. The airport is within easy walking distance of all three downtown hotels.Alaska Airlines provides two flights daily to Barrow from...more
For the average person the most practical, and least expensive, way to see Barrow is to take one of the tours offered through Alaska Airlines from either Anchorage or Fairbanks. Either a day tour or overnight tours are available.Upon arrival in Barrow you will be greeted by your tour guide/driver who will take you on a bus, like the one shown, to...more
Shop offers a fine selection of Hotel gifts as well as Eskimo crafts, jewelry, masks, ivory carvings and baleen items.
What to buy: King Eider Inn & Barrow Polar Bear shirts, hats, mugs, books, calendars, framed pictures, candies, posters, plush bears and Eskimo crafted items.
What to pay: Items range from as low as $1 to $400 depending on the item.
In the Inupiat Heritage Center our tour group saw a demonstration of the Eskimo blanket toss. The young lady in this picture actually touched the ceiling.As effective as a trampoline, the blanket toss (or nalukataq) features a walrus-hide blanket grasped by a number of people in a circle. They toss a person on the blanket as high as possible for as...more
When the ice first breaks in summer several species of whale migrate near the shoreline at Barrow. This bearded seal skin boat, called umiak, and the whalebone and wooden frame for another one, is still used by native subsistance hunters to pursue them. Whaling in the traditional way calls for strong collaboration among participants. If a whale is...more
Barrow's reigning "Miss Top of the World" and a young friend are seen here modeling winter wear at the Inupiat Heritage Center. Their parkas, hats, mittens, slacks and boots are all hand sewn from the furs and skins of furbearing animals which have been harvested locally. They are designed according to patterns which have been handed down for...more
According to the local tour operators, the very best time to see polar bears is after the fall whaling season. Although it is possible to see them up here at the Point anytime of the year, October and November allow for the most likely viewing opportunities. In late May and early October, the Eskimo natives go Bowhead whaling. During whaling season...more
Polar Bears are the largest land carnivore on earth, and are the only bear which is known to stalk and hunt man. These giant bears spend most of their lives on the sea ice where their primary food is seals. However, here in the high Arctic it is possible to see a polar bear any time of day or any time of the year. Those who venture outside are...more
Barrow Alaska's inhospitable Top of the World Hotel was built in 1974 and it shows. The hotel has eroded over the years through numerous ill advised improvement projects into a very old run down lodging facilities serving the unknowing traveling public. The hotel features 50 filthy and poorly furnished guest rooms with very small twin size beds....more
During the winter months expect the tires on you suitcase to freeze and break off (if rolling it to your vehicle or hotel) Yes it gets that cold! -40 to -70 below zero at times. Dress warm! You are at the northernmost Eskimo city in the US of A. Bring a GPS if going boating or camping, they're very handy especially if you get lost in a snow...more
Weather in Barrow can change by the hour. Visitors should bring a jacket, hat and gloves no matter the season. Summer temperatures average around 40 F, and in winter it can reach 60 below zero, or colder. Be prepared for severe winter weather September through May. Pack a heavy coat, hat, gloves, warm boots and face covering. During "breakup" in...more
Packs are an ideal choice, as they can get wet, exposed to the slush and snow and dirt. Goretex is a must when spending time in the unpredictable, harsh elements. This includes boots and outerwear. Layers are key for clothing, fleeces a good idea. Cotton is a no no, wear wicking underlayers. The idea is to keep warm and dry. Sunglasses,...more
The church has a long history in the area, having first established the first school in Barrow by late 1890's. By 1906, church service, hymns, etc. are conducted in the native language of Inupiaq. The church has consistently maintained schools and medical services, in addition to worship services since that time. By the time of my aunt and uncle's...more
All it takes to join the Polar Bear Club is to take a plunge completely beneath the waters of the Arctic Ocean, and pay a lifetime dues of $10.00. For that you get a patch and a certificate giving the time, date, and water temperature for when you took the plunge.Two young men from Pittsburgh, PA, who were on our tour bus became new Polar Bear Club...more
53 Reviews and Opinions
There are no trees in the Arctic, but someone in Barrow has a sense of humor. These three "palm trees" stand near the northernmost house seen in the last tip. The trunks are made of driftwood, the leaves are the long fringed bonelike strips which hang from the upper jaw of baleen whales, and the coconuts are real. Laying on the ground are whale...more
Just beyond the satellite dishes on the southwest end of Barrow you will see Imaiqsaun Cemetary, where remains of ancestors excavated at the many archaeological sites around Barrow have been respectfully reburied. Here is the final resting place of the famous "Frozen Family" excavated from Mound 44 in the early 1980's. Also at rest here is a...more
About five miles north of Barrow, on the road to Point Barrow, is a cluster of rustic cabins which comprise the Pigniq "Shooting Station." These small homes are used during summer as a hunting camp for the natives of Barrow who come here to hunt ducks, seals, walrus, and even polar bears.One of the nicest of these cabins (pictured) is the one...more