A Tale of Two Cities, A Tale of Two Countries
Anchorage and Vancouver, two of the world’s most beautiful cities, will bookend FFS’ 2017 Dream Destination Conference (DDC17) trip. Each city offers amazing sights and wonders of nature in its own unique way. Among the souvenirs you’ll collect from your trip are memorable experiences that will live on long after you return home.
Anchorage – City of Lights and Flowers
The Elite trip begins in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. On an ordinary day here you could walk on a glacier, meet a moose or explore a national park.
Nestled between the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet, Anchorage2 has been declared a “Place You Need to Visit in 2017”.1 It’s here that DDC17 Elite qualifiers will first experience the Last Frontier.
The Animals Are Wild
Anchorage is one of the most northernmost cities on earth. It has big city comforts yet is the perfect place to meet Alaskan wildlife— sometimes up close and personal.2
Don’t be surprised if you pass a moose, one of Anchorage’s favorite four-legged residents, wandering through the city. Anchorage also is the heart of bear country. Whether it’s black, brown or polar, you’ll often see them fishing in the salmon-rich waters.
You’ll also spot Dall sheep negotiating the cliffs of the Chugach Mountains, as well as beluga whales cruising offshore. Bird lovers will enjoy the eagles and ravens who make it their home year round. Millions of birds flock here during their annual migration.
The animal population in Anchorage is not only high, but also diverse. Interacting with and learning about them can be a unique experience. If you don’t see them in the wild, you will at the Alaska Zoo or the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
The Glaciers Are Glorious
Across Alaska, 100,000 glaciers cover nearly 30,000-sq. miles. Anchorage’s glaciers are easily accessible either by foot, plane, or boat. You could spend the entire day exploring these arctic wonders on your own. Or, a cruise may offer the once-in-a-lifetime view of a glacier as it calves and crashes into the water below. Feeling adventurous? You might consider grabbing an ice ax and heading vertical with a climbing guide. Any way you choose, this is an extraordinary feat of nature.
Outdoor Adventures Await
Anchorage offers access to dozens of parks, but five are on the list of top attractions. They include:
- Kanai Fjords National Park
- Denali National Park
- Lake Clark National Park
- Katmai National Park
- Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park.
Each has its own fascinating features that you won’t want to miss. Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest are Alaska’s most accessible wilderness areas and are ideal for outdoor adventures. Combined they offer more than 9,000-sq. miles of hiking, rafting, biking, kayaking and fishing.
Exploring Beautiful Vancouver
The other bookend to our DDC17 cruise is Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada’s third largest city.3 Trip Advisor named it the Top Destination in Canada in their 2016 Travelers’ Choice awards. In its 2016 Quality of Living survey, Mercer chose it as the best place to live in North America. It ranked number five in the world in that same survey.
The Best of Both Worlds
Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city. Like Anchorage, it offers a lively urban environment combined with outdoor adventure.
You could easily spend the morning visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery and perusing the local and international shops on Robson Street. Next enjoy your afternoon hiking in Stanley Park. Feeling energetic? Take a longer hike along the trails on Burnaby Mountain or Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. Maybe you’d prefer a relaxing walk on Kitsilano Beach instead.4
Stay Fit and Explore
Known for its moderate climate, the sea-level port city always offers opportunities for outdoor activities. Try ocean kayaking at False Creek, or rent bikes and cycle the 10-km. seawall around Stanley Park. There are dozens of golf courses, while walkers can choose from routes and trails that always include remarkable views. If yoga is your thing, you’ll find countless studios around town. After all, Vancouver is the birthplace of Lululemon.
Didn’t get your fill of wildlife in Anchorage, go bird watching in Stanley, Queen Elizabeth, or Boundary Bay Regional parks. Look for orcas on a whale-watching tour or head to Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife to see bears.
For the Foodies
Vancouver’s diverse collection of restaurants is what makes it one of Canada’s most exciting dining scenes.5 Fresh ingredients prepared by award-winning chefs, served with ocean and mountain views are their specialty.
Vancouver chefs offer an extensive range of global cuisine, from Japanese izakaya to authentic Italian and everything in between. Famed chef/writer Anthony Bourdain, host of Travel Channel’s “No Reservations,” praised chefs Tojo, Pino (Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill) and Vikram Vij. The city even has its own Iron Chef, Rob Feenie.
From beginning to end, our Alaskan cruise will be the trip of a lifetime. We’re looking forward to exploring these fabulous cities and enjoying every adventure in between with our Dream Destination Contest winners.
1 “Best Trips: Places You Need to Visit in 2017” National Geographic Traveler. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/features/best-trips-2017/
2 “Amazing Alaska, All in One Place.” https://www.anchorage.net/
3 “Vancouver was recognized as the top city in Canada in Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2014 World’s Best Awards. http://www.hellobc.com/vancouver.aspx
4 “Vancouver – Things to Do.” Super, Natural, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.hellobc.com/vancouver/things-to-do.aspx
5 Kat Tancock. “Travel Idea: 6 Reasons to Visit Vancouver.” Canadian Living >> Life & Relationships >> Travel. http://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/travel/article/travel-idea-6-reasons-to-visit-vancouver