Q. I would like to visit Nome. How do I get there? – Mohsin
A. You didn’t ask anything ‘about’ Nome, but since there are others reading this who might like to know, I’ll tell you a bit first before I answer your actual question.
If you look on a map of Alaska and look about midway up along the western coast, just a bit below the Arctic Circle, you will find Nome. It owes its name to a misinterpretation of a chart in 1850. It listed “? Name” meaning they didn’t know what it should be called. Someone read the question mark as a “C” and thought it stood for Cape……and then read the word Name as Nome! Pretty silly way for a town to be named sez I!
In 1898 gold was found in the Anvil Creek area and soon 30,000 hopeful miners were rushing there. There was even gold found in the sands of the beaches there; however, by 1906, most of the gold and the prospectors were gone. While it boomed though, it really boomed, powered by alcohol and gambling. Sadly, lots of ‘fortunes’ never made it home!
A 3,350 foot granite wall protects Nome from the sea. It is 65 feet wide at the base, and 16 ft wide at the top. It was built by the Army Corp of Engineers.
Average winter temperatures are below zero and summers only get up to betweenn 40 and 50 usually. Although not connected by road to the rest of the state, Nome does have about 300 miles of roads within the area; however, they are not maintained in the winter. Your car probably wouldn’t start anyway! Better rely on your snowmobile or your dog team!
Nome has many festivals and celebrations thruout the year, so it is a fun place to visit. The most famous is the finish of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Then there is also the Bering Sea Ice Classic Golf Tournament, played on the sea ice in March; the Polar Bear Swim on Memorial Day; a Midnight Sun Festival in June, a Bathtub Race in the fall and several others.
The city today is a jumping off point for flights to Russia, which is only an hours flight away. Also, a point of departure for tours of the Arctic. You can look at www.nomealaska.org
Now, how do you get there? Well, flying is the only way. Check with Alaska Airline 1-800-252-7522 or www.alaskaair.com It is about a 90 minute flight from Anchorage. Prices are around $400. round trip from Anchorage.
Compared to Barrow, Nome isn’t as far north, it isn’t as rich in native history, doesn’t have as sizable a museum or polar bear viewing tours, but it does have an advantage over Barrow. There are lots of shops, historic sights, and you don’t need to be part of a tour. You can rent a car and see lots of stuff on your own. You should even encounter a good share of wildlife. You can walk around town, and in good weather will even encounter some die hard hopeful prospectors sifting the sands of the beach! Get yourself a gold pan…..and who knows? It could happen! There are several good restaurants also, so you sure won’t go hungry. And yes, they even take Visa and Mastercard. So, come on up and enjoy your trip to Nome. -BJ