A walk around Petersburg should include the boardwalk streets of Hammer Slough, the tidal mouth of a creek that feeds into the waterfront. Sing Lee Alley leads from North Nordic Drive at the charming center of town, passing by several interesting little shops, including Sing Lee Alley Books, at no. 11 (tel. 907/772-4440), where there's a good collection on natural history and local culture. Petersburg has so many thriving little shops because of its isolation and healthy economy -- so far, it's been too small to attract the predation of Wal-Mart and other chains.
Sing Lee Alley turns from solid ground to wooden dock before you reach the Sons of Norway Hall, a town center where a large model Viking ship used in the Little Norway Festival is often parked. Next door, also on pilings, is the Fishermen's Memorial Park. Plaques memorialize Petersburg mariners lost at sea under a bronze statue of Bojer Wikan, a fisherman and lifelong resident.
Across the street, on the outboard side, Tonka Seafoods (tel. 888/560-3662 or 907/772-3662; www.tonkaseafoods.com) is a specialty fish processor with a shop and mail-order operation; they will process your sport-caught fish, too.
Continue on to Nordic Drive and turn left, crossing back over the slough to Birch Street, which follows the slough's bank on pilings upstream past old, weathered houses that hang over the placid channel. Many have one door for the road and another for the water. It's a charming, authentic place. Step out of the way of cars on the one-lane dock/street.
Back down at the waterfront, stroll the harbor floats to see the frenetic activity of the huge commercial fishing fleet in the summer, then continue north on Nordic Drive to Eagle's Roost Park, where there is a grassy area to sit and a stairway that leads down to the water. At low tide, an interesting but rugged beach walk starts here. Another nice walk leads you on a boardwalk about a fourth of a mile over muskeg swamp from the uphill side of the elementary school, at 4th Street.
The Clausen Memorial Museum, at 2nd and Fram streets (tel. 907/772-3598; www.clausenmuseum.org), interprets Petersburg and its history for the people who live here. The world's record king salmon is mounted here -- 127 pounds -- landed by a Petersburg commercial fisherman. It is almost 30 pounds heavier than the record sport-caught king, in Soldotna. The museum is open in summer Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm; call for hours in the winter. Admission is $3 for adults, free for children 12 and under.
There are some interesting gift and art shops in town. Wild Celery Framing Studio and Eclectic Gallery, 400 N. Nordic, carries art and jewelry, gifts and linens, and wood carvings and turnings. Seaport Gallery and Gifts, 219 N. Nordic Dr., concentrates on fine art, offering ceramics, prints, oils, and locally made handcrafted jewelry.
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.