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Glacier Bay/Gustavus, Alaska

The town of Gustavus is located on Icy Strait in the northern part of the Inside Passage. Early 19th century settlers called it Strawberry Point for the abundant wild strawberry fields. Ninety percent of Glacier Bay travelers come on cruise ships, which don't dock in Gustavus. But the ten percent who take the short flight from Juneau to Gustavus discover this town of about 500 residents, many of them artists.

Gustavus is the gateway to 3.3 million-acre Glacier National Park, offering 15,000 foot mountains, glacier-covered fjords, 240 species of birds, mountain goats, moose, bears, and ancient forests with spruce and hemlock trees up to 200 feet tall. The park entrance is in Bartlett Cove, 9 miles from town. In the summertime you can camp, hike groomed trails, and rent kayaks. Or, take a guided boat trip along the phenomenal tidewater glaciers.

Walk the Nagoonberry Loop Trail from town to the beachfront, through woods and wild flower meadows. Relax later with a Thai or Shiatsu massage at Robin's Song Acupressure. Gustavus Inn, on the grassy Salmon River meadow, serves a breakfast of sourdough pancakes with spruce tip syrup. Dinner at the Inn includes local salmon, halibut and Dungeness crab, and incorporates a full garden maintained for the table. Enjoy fresh greens grown in glacial soil, and try wild strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

Photo 1 Photographer: Brian Adams