Tenakee Springs Surprise

Before we boarded the skiff taking us from the ship to the Tenakee Springs dock, we were told that the yellow building to the right of the dock was the bakery and they had internet service. The Captain had called ahead so the bakery would be open for us on this Sunday morning.

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I hadn’t had any type of connection in many days so I took my computer with me. I guess I was experiencing that painful connection withdrawal.

Tenakee Springs isn’t lacking for modern-day amenities, like emergency services

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public phone service – not sure what Alaskan’s in a town of 100 people consider local calls,

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a library right in the middle of town,

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and next to the library a farmers market – during harvest season. I didn’t want to speculate on the meaning of the flying pigs.

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But the jewel of Tenakee Springs is the

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My plan was to get a cup of tea and connect with the outside world on my computer for a few minutes. I walked in and knew I had found Alaskan gold.

Tenakee Springs 255I perched myself on a stool,

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and ordered one of those cinnamon rolls, sitting on the counter, emitting a freshly baked aroma – and a cup of tea.

Tenakee Springs 260 I broke off a piece of the warm roll and placed it on my tongue. Oh my, I have been looking for this experience for well over 20 year; since I last made my own cinnamon rolls. As the tender bread and sugar and cinnamon melted in my mouth, my whole body responded with ecstasy. I am not exaggerating. I put another piece in my mouth and the same thing happened. Pure nirvana.

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I savored my tea and roll while I grinned at the signs above the coffee cups: Women who behave rarely make history; I’ll have cafe, mocha, vodka, Valium,  latte to go, please; and, We trade coffee for gossip.

The latest gossip was that the people on the other side of the island want to build a road to Tenakee Springs but locals are fighting it – they don’t want the traffic. They also don’t want the car ferry stopping there. The young man has a four year old daughter – I think I saw her and her mom walking down the lane to visit daddy. She was dancing along in her bare feet.

Tenakee Springs 269This seems to be the where-it-is-happening place. It is the town’s restaurant, with a changing menu on the board. There is a projector hanging from the ceiling and they have a screen they hang over the lunch counter that makes it the local movie theater. If you remember the sign, at least one person believes the Part-Time Bakery should be the Party-Time Bakery. By the size of the speakers on the top shelf above the coffee cups, I think some dancing has gone down in here.

Along the walls they had some merchandise by local artists.

Tenakee Springs 268I scanned them and found the perfect poster size print for my guest bedroom. On the other side they had some hand-knit hats – one of my fellow passengers bought a couple. How nice to find keepsakes that are locally made.

I never took my computer out, but that seemed just fine. I was functioning in Alaskan culture. Many of the houses had dishes so people who live there are well connected to take them through the long, dark winters but I couldn’t think of anything more interesting on my computer than the Part-Time Bakery in Tenakee Springs, Alaska.

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Put another pan of those cinnamon rolls in the oven, I’m on my way back.

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21 Comments »

    • Thanks, Nora. It was a favorite of ours – JB said the other day he would like to have the ship drop him off and pick him up a week later.

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    • Not if you like hot weather as much as you say you do. 🙂 If it is above 55 degrees, people seem to believe it is summer, meaning shorts and flip-flops.

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  1. Really great post. A public phone AND a beautiful mini library? Who needs the internet at a place like that. Finally, what painting did you buy and why? I have a reason for asking. 🌷

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    • I bought a print of a painting named “Bear in Town” done by Rie Munoz, that was in an original watercolor exhibit in Anchorage in 2007-08. Somewhat of a whimsical, primitive style.

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        • This one is of a small any-Alaskan town along the beach, where everyone comes out to see the bear coming down the mountain to have some lunch. I love it because it is watercolor, depicts Alaskan town life, and is whimsical – with bright colors. Happy painting.

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  2. I lived there for a year in the 4th grade in 1959, my mother was a BIA teacher. It’s interesting to see how little it has changed in appearance, but at that time it was just my mother, sister, and one other Irish guy in town along with 150 Tlingits, who we were supposed to “educate.” There was no ferry service then, so no big dock, and access was by a weekly plane from Juneau or by boats. It was an adventure to live there and had a big impact on my young view of the world.

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