Lest you think Juneau is full of ski-bums and accounting-focused professionals, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the town’s culture. Imagine you took a small town (if you’re in the Bay Area, think Alameda…if you’re elsewhere, use your best judgement), lifted it up, and plopped in an inlet unreachable by roads…and only in the last fifty years did air travel become really that possible on a regular basis. That’s the meat and potatoes of Juneau.
Like any smaller, secluded town, there were one of two ways for the population to go: everyone could either Boo Radley themselves into reclusiveness, or they could become creators, doers and joiners to amuse themselves. Juneau went with the latter.
From what I could tell, the typical Juneau-ite (Juneau-ian?) is all about getting out there and doing something. (Seriously, ZOZI should make the town their mascot.) There are ice hockey leagues, indoor soccer leagues, enough people playing volleyball to make up five divisions in the volleyball league. Three acting troupes? Check. The symphony? Check. Two local print news sources? Check. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Casual clothing is in, double points if you’re wearing something you could spontaneously go hiking in, triple points for XtraTufs (the state’s contendor for replacement mascot).
A lot of really great things happened in Juneau entirely un-date related. Megs and I met up with this amazing rad and welcoming gal named Katie who not only interviewed us for what became an incredible article in the Juneau Empire (if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to stop reading this page and go immediately to the story here. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200). Katie intro’d us to one of her married Juneau friends who sat down to waffles for a conversation about relationships in town. Later, we met up with Katie and one of her single guy friends at a local bar for more chatter on the singles scene in J-town. Our sweet-as-pie homestays welcomed us with our own beds (bonus!), a list of coffee and breakfast spots in town (complete with directions for fear we’d get lost) and they even let us have first dibs on the binoculars when orca whales fluked outside the window of their home in Auke Bay (Megan literally fished me out of the bathroom so I wouldn’t miss the sight!).
Seriously, Juneau was one of those places neither Megs nor I were ready to leave. In fact, I’m not convinced one or both of us won’t move back there in the next few years…