Friday File: The Name's Tall-keet-nah

This is a town you would never choose to visit, until you have. In winter, its population shrinks to the level of Alaska’s small towns, of which there are many. It’s fairly flat, but climbers must go there to scale North America’s highest mountain. It has two streets, one called Main and the other just “Talkeetna.” It’s had the same mayor for 18 years, and wait ‘till you see him. It’s on every Princess Cruises land tour, and you’ll soon see why……

Main street

You’re looking down Main Street, from one end to the other. Behind the camera is a gift shop and at the far end, one of the three rivers that connect in Talkeetna humor.

The Mayor
Here he is…Mayor Stubbs, selected in 1997 and here’s why this cat’s the mayor: “because we’re not big enough to be incorporated so we can do whatever we want.”

Mayor's office
You can call this Nagley’s — where “if we don’t have it you don’t need it” — or you can call it the Mayor’s Office, because that’s where Stubbs holds his council meetings.

There’s no shortage of wildlife in Alaska, you just have to find it, and if you don’t spot a moose there the locals will just make one, in psychedelic colors that define the town.

You can buy Chaga here and if you don’t know what that is, according to one of the locals it’s reputed to cure everything, sometimes even cancer.Rangers
The starting point for everyone who tries to climb Mount McKinley (over 1,000 per year) because rangers certify climbers in case of defects, physical or emotional.

Mighty McKinley only allows half its climbers to reach the summit and the best view you’ll get on land is the deck of the Mount McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.

Twister Creek
The second-largest beer company, called Denali, started just seven years ago in this building, which now includes Talkeetna’s upscale restaurant, Twister Creek.

Food stand
Down the road — remember, there are only two — and around the corner is Shirley, who for a couple of decades has been engaging tourists at Shirley’s Burger Barn.

And on the way out of Talkeetna, a few miles along the Parks Highway, is this part of Alaska’s answer to WalMart, otherwise known as WalMike’s.

In the news…

• Free Internet coming for Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas next year
• Princess all-inclusive beverages (Sip & Sail) on 350-plus cruise vacations in 2016
• MSC drips Tunisian port La Goulette for one in Malta next winter

Today at Shorter cruises for Royal Caribbean's Majesty

Celebrity Infinity
12 nights
August 23, 2015
Vancouver, Sitka, Tracy Arm, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria, Astoria, San Francisco 
Inside: $876
Cost per day: $73

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