Burned out on election coverage?
Once you cast your vote, it may be time to take a break.
So, how about a Sarah Palin Vacation?
While we might not have her official endorsement on these, we’re pretty sure that the vice presidential candidate will find it hard to call these getaways unpatriotic or un-American.
SARAH PALIN’S ALASKA: TO WASILLA AND BEYOND
Serious snowmobile riders, like Sarah Palin’s husband Todd, don’t usually call it a snowmobile, but a snow machine.
But whatever you call it, what better place to do it than the great state of Alaska?
The family-owned, family-operated Alaska Backcountry offers full-day guided snowmobile tours for $395 per person, which includes a hot meal on the trail. If you’d like to try some ice fishing while you’re out, that’s an extra $75. www.youralaskavacation.com
Another option is the Anchorage-based Alaska Snow Safaris, led by owner/operator Chris Maynard. He offers a number of different snow adventures, including day-long and half-day excursions, starting at $250 and $189, respectively. Multi-day snow safaris deep into the backcountry are also available. www.snowmobile-alaska.com
Multi-Use Sports Complex
Palin’s biggest project as Mayor of Wasilla was to develop a giant multi-use sports complex. It’s home to the Alaska Avalanche, a Junior A Hockey team (roughly equivalent to a farm team for the big-league NHL), who play on an NHL-size rink. The rink is often open to the public for ice skating, plus there is an artificial turf court designed primarily for soccer, and an indoor track for walking and running. It’s the hockey mom hotspot in Palin’s hometown. 1001 S. Mack Drive, Wasilla, www.cityofwasilla.com/index.aspx?page=114
One of Wasilla’s claims to fame is that it’s the “Home of the Iditarod.” Or at least, it was, until sprawling development and lack of snow (global warming, or just God hugging us closer?) forced it to be moved deeper into the Alaskan interior.
So this year, the race kicks off on March 7 with an official start in Anchorage, but an actual start (or re-start) in Willow, AK, the next day. Willow is about 30 miles from Wasilla up one of Alaska’s central arteries, the Parks Highway, but since Palin reportedly named one of her daughters after the area, it’s definitely Palin-approved. www.iditarod.com
Learn more in our Alaska Travel section.
If Alaska in March doesn’t sound appealing, there are other Iditarod-centric options. Vern Halter is a retired Iditarod musher offering kennel tours and dog sled rides year-round at his Dream a Dream Dog Farm. www.vernhalter.com
And, four-time Iditarod champ Martin Buser, featured prominently on the Discovery Channel’s “Toughest Race on Earth” documentary series, offers demonstrations and kennel tours at his Happy Trails Kennel. www.buserdog.com
One of Sarah Palin’s haunts, this Wasilla coffeehouse actually has two locations, including a 24-hour drive-through. If you’re in the mood, stop by for a Palin Fever, a peppermint-flavored latte, or a Road to the White House, a rocky road white chocolate mocha.
Or, sample what is reportedly the Governor’s favorite, a skinny white mocha, now renamed simply The Sarah. While you’re there, pick up some Palin Wear, like a “Get Moosified” button or a pink “Got Lipstick?” hoodie. 321 West Parks Hwy., Suite 105, Wasilla, http://mochamoose.com
It’s Like Shooting Wolves From a … What?
The buffalo might not roam here, but you’ll be able to find other furry creatures to snipe in Alaska. Enjoy the Palin-approved pastime of shooting wolves from planes, otherwise known as the art of aerial wolf gunning. Shoot those creatures as they run for their lives; it’s like being back in the Old West without the hot weather and the dust. If Palin had her way, you would be receiving $150 per wolf, but unfortunately, all that you’ll end up getting is the bragging rights that you were able to hit that wolf from the skies with an AK-47. www.wildernessenterprises.com/Big-Game-Hunting/wolf-hunting.html
Much has been made of Palin’s ability to hunt and field-dress a moose. Guided moose hunts take place in the fall: mid-to-late August through end of September and sometimes into October. While Palin may have made moose-hunting famous, actual numbers of moose hunters have been declining for years, according to the Mat-Su Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. Thus, there are not a lot of moose-centric guides in the game, and costs are probably prohibitively high for most—up to $10,000 for this type of hunt.
Instead, if you’re interested in hunting, the first thing you want to do is find a guide. Together, you can figure out what sort of creatures you’d like to hunt: bears and dall sheep (you city folk would probably call them “rams”) probably being the most popular.
A good place to start is www.alaskahuntguides.com. Always make sure your guide is a licensed registered hunting guide. Official information on hunting in Alaska can be found here: http://wildlife.alaska.gov/
THE LOWER 48, PALIN-STYLE
Can’t quite make it all the way to Wasilla, Alaska? There are plenty of Palin vacations in the Lower 48.
Ice, Ice Baby: Hockey Weekend
Live like a real hockey mom and take a hockey-themed vacation. Hockey Weekend, located in the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia, offers world-class ice for your little hockey players. Located minutes away from the beach and theme parks, there is plenty for the whole family to do. Stop by on a tournament weekend or catch up on some skills with some pro training. www.hockeyweekend.com
We’re All Oil Men (and Women): Oil City, PA
While we can’t entirely suggest that you take a trip up to the oil fields in Alaska due to the inconvenient fact that you may be attacked by a polar bear for encroaching upon his natural territory, why not take a trip to Oil City, Pennsylvania? This is a key city in the development of the petroleum industry. The current headquarters for Pennzoil, Quaker State and Wolf’s Head motor oil companies, you’ll be able to take at trip through the world’s first oil field and visit the ex-headquarters of Standard Oil. Crude oil may not be every girl’s best friend, but it sure shines like a diamond in the eyes of some ladies. www.oilcity.org
Mommy and Me Time: Lake Austin Spa and Resort
Take your daughters on that much needed vacation with you! As Palin’s record has clearly shown, the family that travels together, stays together. The Lake Austin Spa and Resort in Austin, Texas offers vacations for two (or more if you’d like). Enjoy more 100 massage therapies that can be enjoyed by pairs or alone, as well as 20 different fitness classes to attend with your daughters. www.lakeaustin.com
By Michelle Castillo and Matt Calcara for PeterGreenberg.com. Photo credits: Tom Bol, Mat-Su CVB (except Sarah Palin photo).
Alaska’s natural beauty is certainly dramatic, few places more so than America’s Hidden National Parks, including Katmai in Alaska.
And if you’re thinking of taking a cruise to Alaska, Ask Peter: Driving Vacations, Alaskan Cruises and Arizona Resorts.
There are more outdoor adventures to be had in Alaska, check out America the Beautiful: Hike America’s Trails.