advertisement

Getting There

Petersburg has the most welcoming ferry terminal in the system (tel. 907/772-3855), with a grassy lawn and a pier from which to watch the boats and marine animals. It's about a mile to the town center. The Alaska Marine Highway (tel. 800/642-0066; www.ferryalaska.com) connects to Juneau directly (an 8-hr. run) or by way of Sitka, far to the west. The details of the schedule are complicated and can change; your best source of information is the website. The fare is $33 from Wrangell (3 hr.), $45 from Sitka (8 hr.), and $66 from Juneau (10 hr.).

Petersburg is served by Alaska Airlines jets (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) once north and once south each day, with the nearest stops on the puddle jumper being Juneau and Wrangell. From the airport, call Metro Cab (tel. 907/772-2700) or Midnight Rides (tel. 907/772-2222) for a taxi into town.

Visitor Information

The Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center, at the corner of 1st and Fram streets (P.O. Box 649), Petersburg, AK 99833 (tel. 866/484-4700 or 907/772-4636; www.petersburg.org), offers guidance on outdoor opportunities, boats, lodgings, and Forest Service cabins; distributes trail guides, maps, and natural history publications; and sells useful books. The center is open in summer Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm, Sunday from noon to 4pm; winter Monday through Friday from 10am to 2pm.

The full-service Viking Travel agency, corner of Nordic Drive and Sing Lee Alley (tel. 800/327-2571 or 907/772-3818; www.alaskaferry.com), also specializes in booking local guides for tours, kayaks, whale-watching, flights, fishing charters, bear viewing, and other activities. Owners Dave and Nancy Berg are knowledgeable and helpful.

Orientation

Petersburg is on Mitkof Island, divided from the much larger Kupreanof Island by the long, slender channel of the Wrangell Narrows. There are three small-boat harbors and so many docks, boardwalks, and wooden streets that the town seems to sit on the ocean. Nordic Drive is the main street, running from the ferry dock through town, then becoming Sandy Beach Road as it rounds Hungry Point to the north. At Sandy Beach, you can circle back, past the airport, which stands above the town, to Haugen Drive, which meets Nordic again near Hammer Slough, right in town. To the south, Nordic becomes the Mitkof Highway, which runs to the undeveloped balance of the island.

Special Events

The Little Norway Festival, which celebrates the May 17, 1814, declaration of independence of Norway from Sweden, is an occasion for Petersburg to go wild. The 4-day schedule of events includes a street fair, food and craft booths, a luncheon and bunad-style show (a bunad is a traditional embroidered Norwegian costume), street music and dancing, and a salmon bake on the beach. The celebration is held on the third full weekend of May. The King Salmon Derby offers $30,000 in prizes over Memorial Day weekend. July 4th is a very big deal in Petersburg and lasts 2 days. The Canned Salmon Classic lasts from July 1 to August 15, with a first prize of up to $4,000 going to the person who guesses how many cans of salmon will be packed in Petersburg during the season. The Festival of Lights begins the day after Thanksgiving with an evening candlelight parade, the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree, and caroling. Julebukking, a Norwegian tradition, happens on Christmas Eve, when merchants offer food and drink to their customers and the streets fill with people under twinkling white lights.

For information on any of the above events, contact the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce (tel. 866/484-4700 or 907/772-4636; www.petersburg.org).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.