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Portage Glacier Cruises Celebrates 30 Years on the Water in Alaska

May 13, 2019 | Featured, News, Tourism

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Day cruise operator Portage Glacier Cruises is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019. Located on Portage Lake in Chugach National Forest near Anchorage, the cruise runs five trips daily to the iconic Portage Glacier from May to September. Each trip is narrated by an onboard US Forest Service representative.

Portage Glacier’s accessible location makes it one of Alaska’s most popular attractions. However, the receded glacier is no longer visible from Portage Glacier Road. Just an hour drive south from Anchorage, visitors can board a Portage Glacier Cruises trip, the easiest way to see the face of the active glacier and watch as it calves into the lake. Last season alone, more than 30,000 passengers cruised to Portage Glacier on the day trip. 

The Portage Glacier Cruises vessel, the M/V Ptarmigan, is the only boat operating on Portage Lake. It takes travelers within 300 yards of the glacier, which still spills all the way to the water’s edge. On the one-hour cruise, guests spend about twenty minutes idling slowly from side to side on the lake, watching and listening to the massive ice with the option of standing on the topside viewing deck or staying inside the fully enclosed, heated cabin.

In addition to glacier views, a trip across Portage Lake can result in other exciting sightings for visitors, such as a variety of Alaska wildlife and waterfalls. Black bears and mountain goats roam the sides of the surrounding mountains in the spring and summer. Portage Glacier Cruises always ensures a few pairs of binoculars are onboard for guests to share. Travelers can also spot birds like black-legged kittiwakes, surf scoters and even bald eagles.

Additionally, hundreds of small waterfalls can be seen in and around the surrounding mountains and the M/V Ptarmigan always makes sure to slow down as it approaches some of the larger falls that offer good photo opportunities.

Marcelle Roemmich has been captaining the M/V Ptarmigan for the past five years.

“I love being out on the lake. It is absolutely stunning every day, rain or shine. Every day feels and looks different than the last,” Roemmich said. “Our crew is an absolute joy to work with and almost all of them have been coming back year after year, making them very knowledgeable and passionate about the area.”

To celebrate its 30th year of making Portage Glacier accessible to travelers, the crew of the M/V Ptarmigan is planning a celebration on July 30. Former employees will join current crewmembers on the 4:30 p.m. cruise for a toast in front of the glacier. This celebratory cruise is open to the public as well. To learn more about Portage Glacier Cruises or to book a trip for the 30th anniversary season, visit http://portageglaciercruises.com.

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The Marx Bros. Café

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Jack Amon and Richard “Van” Hale opened the doors of the Marx Bros. Café on October 18, 1979; however, the two had already been partners in cuisine for some time, having created the Wednesday Night Gourmet Wine Tasting Society and Volleyball Team Which Now Meets on Sunday, a weekly evening of food and wine. It was actually the end of the weekly event that spurred the name of the restaurant: hours after its final service, Amon and Hale were hauling equipment and furnishings out of their old location and to their now-iconic building on Third Street, all while managing arguments about equipment ownership, a visit from the police, and quite a bit of wine. “If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘A Night at the Opera” starring the Marx Brothers, that’s what it was like,” Hale explains.

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