Nome Travel Guide, Alaska
Settled at one of the westernmost points of the North American continent, 102 miles below the Arctic Circle, is the town of Nome. It is located on the Seward Peninsula, with its back to the hills and its face to the sea; Siberia is at 160 miles east and Anchorage is a bit further, it takes you 539 air miles to get from Nome to Anchorage.
Before the first settlers came the place was desolate, windswept tundra, but things changed when gold was discovered on the black sands of Cape Nome. Soon the place was overrun by hopeful gold seekers and so the town of Nome was established in 1901, as a gold-rush boomtown. Unlike other towns where they had to try hard to get the gold here it lay all over the beaches just for the taking.
Nome still has a Wild West atmosphere identifying heavily with its past although fires and storms have wiped out nearly all remnants of this colorful era. There are few historic buildings to see, but visitors can still taste a bit of the town’s past and go panning for gold on Nome's beaches.
The city is now home to about 4,000 people most of which are of Native American decent, although their ancestors were not the first settlers. The town has seen better days in the past when its residents reached 20,000. They all came here lured by the richness of the land, there is still some gold mining going on and keeps the town rolling while tourism does its share of keeping the town alive.
It is a secluded place at the end of the world, as its name suggests and there are no roads to link it to the outside world, the main way to get there is by air. When you visit it for the first time it really seems like that and you might see it as a bit messy and plain, but once you get to know it you will see it has a charm of its own. The people living here are the proof for that, they have chosen this place for their home and you will be surprised they don’t feel isolated at all; they are still connected with the nearby villages.
Nome is unique in Alaska as it has to offer something no Alaskan town has: the chance to travel deep into the country by road. There are about 300 miles of well-maintained gravel roads around Nome and the town is a popular start for north-of-the-arctic road-trips. There is a bountiful array of activities: hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, boating, wildlife viewing, and other adventure. Bird watching in spring is one of the top attractions as you can see more than 180 species including Asiatic birds rarely seen in North America. You can enjoy the road trips from May through October depending on snowfall.
The city is the commercial hub of northwestern Alaska as well as the site for the famous event that draw people to Nome - the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that starts in Anchorage and finishes in Nome. For this it was called the end of "The Last Great Race," the place contestants can enjoy the finishing line after they have done 1049-miles. If you want to see it you have to come in March.
People in Nome are hard workers, but they also know how to have fun. The favorite entertainment is taking their suits and plunging into the icy Bering Sea when spring comes while in fall they race down Front Street in bathtubs on wheels, fall is also the best time to visit as you will get to see the tundra changing to colors.
We hope to have convinced you that Nome is far from being isolated and it is well worth your visit.
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