Story by DEBRA McKINNEY Photos by PAUL MORLEY
Anchorage Daily News
Published: March 4, 2007
IT STARTED WITH GOLD
There's no way to be here without bonking your head on history.
A prospector named Alexander King first drew outside attention to this place. They say he rowed an old, sorry-looking dory up Turnagain Arm in 1888, a feat worthy of note all its own given how deadly the bore tides could be.
As the story goes, King found gold at the mouth of Resurrection Creek, left with four bags' worth, then later was hanged in the Yukon for murder. But not before word got out. By 1896, a year before the Klondike strike, Hope and nearby Sunrise City were booming.
"Hope" may be synonymous with "desire," as in for gold, but that's not how Hope got its name. On a lark, folks here decided to name their town after the youngest prospector to step off the steamer Utopia. Considering how grim the outcome could have been, they must have felt much relief when that person turned out to be a 17-year-old named Percy Hope.
And then the kid stayed only a couple of weeks, said Sherritt, a member of the Hope/Sunrise Historical Society.
Now fast-forward some 110 years. Here we are at this vacation location, wondering what it must have been like back then while simultaneously considering ordering a baked brie with pesto appetizer and a Sierra Nevada pale ale on draft.
Confession: When we checked in that Saturday evening, a day that began at 18 below, we weren't sure we'd find enough to do on Sunday. We did.
After coffee with Kent and Melanie, we headed over to the Discovery Cafe, known as "Tito's" to locals, to try the highly recommended Vegetable Mediterranean Scramble and a bowl of Hungarian mushroom soup. Yum.
After that, the plan was to check out the ski trails. But that was before Maggie Holeman, who runs the Black Bear Bed & Breakfast above town, told us there was ice skating to be had.
This time of year, the tides are coming in and flooding the mud flats, creating pockets of glorious ice right on the flats in front of town. And according to another local, "Carny Joe," the ice is only going to get better with the spring tides.
Maggie Holeman, who runs Black Bear Bed & Breakfast in the "burbs" above Hope, sits on the porch of her rental cabin.
"(Hope is) one of the most peaceful communities I've ever been in."
B & B Owner Maggie Holeman
After skating, we took in the town. We poked around historical buildings. We dropped by the gift shop and flipped through a local cookbook with recipes for Rabbit a la Surprise, Ribs and Limas, Naked Appie Pie and other goodies. After that, we wandered next door to the library, where we met volunteer Beth Kaser, who told us a little about the place. Then it was up to Holeman's house in the "burbs" above town for coffee.
By the time we stopped back at Bowman's to pick up our gear, it was late Sunday afternoon and we were two hours past our planned departure.
"You're on Hope time now," as Kent put it.
Hope Time. That has a real nice ring to it.
Our winter weekend in Hope was one of the very few times we felt summer in Alaska just might be overrated.
Daily News reporter Debra McKinney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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