Flying, Oysters and a Day at the Spa

Enjoying some of Alaska’s finest establishments

As summer comes to an end and fall is upon us, Alaskans are busy working, playing and preparing for winter. We try and get as much out of the warm weather season as possible.

So when Knik River Lodge and Tanalian Aviation invited me for a helicopter ride over the Knik Glacier with a glacier landing, I was ready, willing and thrilled to go. I have been on helicopter rides before but it was a long time ago, and I was excited to go again.

Our journey began at the Knik River Lodge, which is located at the end of Knik River Road in the Matanuska Valley, and Tanalian Aviation’s premier location.

We met up on the helicopter pad located behind the lodge, and after receiving our safety instructions and meeting with our pilot, Leif, myself, and two other guests boarded the R44 helicopter. As it warmed up and the rotors started spinning, all of my trepidation subsided and was replaced with sheer exhilaration. We twirled our way into the sky and up the Knik River Valley—the views were breathtaking. As we rounded the bend and the glacier came into view I was stunned by its enormity and the majesty of nature’s beauty.

Leif knows the glacier very well, so the landing went smoothly and we were able to explore around a bit. The vast solitude was like being on an alien planet. Leif told us that there is usually a bit of wind, but on this day it was still and quiet and we were able to hear water pouring into the moraines.

On our way back to the lodge, we flew around the river drainage basin and spotted four bears and a large moose. We felt very fortunate and enjoyed our trip immensely. A great treat for Alaskans and visitors alike.

Like I mentioned before, we tend to overdo it a bit in our short summers, so taking time out to take care of ourselves is very important. I have been guilty of letting myself go and working too much, so I decided to visit Allure Day Spa in Anchorage for a complete overhaul. I started with their signature Vichy massage—a full body massage that utilizes the techniques of Shiatsu, Swedish, deep tissue and sports massage, finished off with hydrotherapy from their high pressure Scots hose and a relaxing and revitalizing Vichy shower.

Allure Day Spa is a very special place—luxurious and comfortable. Everyone is very friendly and well-qualified in their areas of expertise. A real treat for your body and mind, it more than exceeded my expectations.

After a day at the spa, my friend Kelly and I headed over to a cool little restaurant called the Bubbly Mermaid. Time for some Champagne and oysters which is what they specialize in. They have oysters prepared in about 20 different ways, taking classic flavors from cuisines all over the world. We tried at least 10 different kinds and loved them all. Of course fresh oysters on the half shell are on the menu with a selection of sauces to choose from. They also have a few other delicacies like smoked salmon and the soup du jour, which was a seafood bisque. The soup was loaded with seafood and was very umami (earthy) flavored and quite tasty.

The Bubbly Mermaid is a cute little hole-in-the-wall place with only about 10 stools, but it turns over quickly so getting in isn’t hard. The oysters are three dollars each but on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays they’re two for one. That’s a super good deal! I look forward to stopping in again and trying a few more flavors of their oysters.

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