Q We will be in Anchorage in early July for a little more than a day as a layover. Any suggestions for that short a time?
Eleanor J. Deely
AAnchorage is vast -- about the size of Delaware -- but with the midnight sun (21 hours 36 minutes of sunlight, to be exact), you can squeeze a lot into a day. "There's too much to see in one day," says Erika Siegel of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. "With such a long list of things to do, you should pick your top two or three and focus on those." Or simply select a category -- arts, history, active, nature -- and run with it.
If you fancy native culture, the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Anchorage Museum of Art and History last year offered a reduced summer joint ticket and a free shuttle between institutions (check in April for 2005 info). Art galleries hold First Friday Art Shows during the warm months, and live concerts and salmon sculptures, part of the months-long Wild Salmon on Parade event, fill the streets.
For more outdoorsy pursuits, start the morning hiking and picking berries at Flattop Mountain in nearby Chugach State Park, then fish for dinner at Ship Creek and cap off the night with a round of golf at the Anchorage Golf Course. Another popular day-long outing is a glacier/wildlife/whale-watching cruise. Backcountry Safari (877-812-2159, www.alaskakayak.com), for example, offers a Kenai Fjords cruise for $199, including transportation from Anchorage.
If you'd prefer some hand-holding, the city's tourism office lists one-day group tours, such as a Denali National Park excursion that includes a look at Mount McKinley, and a potpourri tour that encompasses the Musk Ox Farm, the Iditarod museum and a scenic ride through the Chugach Range. Info: Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, 907-276-4118, www.anchorage.net.
My wife and I are planning a trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in late August and early September. Could you recommend some classical music performances?
Steve and Shirley Blanchard