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Lucky Duck Fortune Teller

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


    There are many interesting things spread across the property of Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, ranging from mounted animals, paintings, and Alaskan artifacts. One of the oddest may be the duck fortune teller located just to the right of the main doors from the lobby. In a glass and wood case, a large duck will, for just a quarter, flap its wings, quack and talk, and spool out a printed fortune. Though the machine is undeniably odd, it fits right in with the decor and complements the sometimes eclectic, but tasteful, decorations throughout the rest of the hotel. If you have a chance, give it a try and see what your future has in store for you!

Behind the Scenes- Giftshop Manager

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Judy, the Pike’s gift shop manager, has lived in Fairbanks the past 21 years and spent the 16 years before that in Ketchikan. After moving up from Tacoma to Alaska, she realized right away that she was a truly a “greenhorn.” She didn’t know anything about Alaska, yet her on her first time out halibut fishing she caught a 150 pound halibut with a hot-dog as bait. In the 37 years since she has learned to catch, fillet, and cook all manner of fish in addition to mastering many other Alaskan skills, making her a true sourdough. When stocking the gift shop, Judy has many different things that she has to keep in mind. She tries to buy goods that were made in the USA, but beyond that has no real set plan for what she wants to buy. She tries to follow trends, patterns of customer interest, and her instinct. Despite the 9 or 10 years of experience, odd things occasionally happen and she sells out of stock too soon, such as the time Moose Members staying at Pike’s bought all of the moose hats in one day. If you have a chance, stop by and say hello- I’m sure Judy will have some advice or a good story for you.

Behind the Scenes- Dining and Catering Manager

Monday, September 12, 2011


    Ursula, the Dining and Catering Manager, has been in the food service industry in one way or another for almost her entire life, starting with her first job as a car hop on roller skates. She moved to Alaska in 1981 from Chicago and has worked for Pike’s for the past seven years. A typical day for Ursula at Pike’s starts around 4:15 am when she wakes up so that she can get to the hotel at 5 am. She checks with the staff and makes sure that they have everything needed to make breakfast. Over the course of the breakfast time, Ursula has to continue checking on the kitchen and staff, but also likes to chat with the guests and make sure that they are having a good time. She makes the soup of the day, using recipes from a variety of places including the Food Channel. Over the course of the day, she constantly checks on the kitchen staff and supplies. She figures out new menu items based on what is trending (She says that meatloaf and Shepard's pie are popular now.) and also works on decorations. Inspirations for her displays come from magazines, decorating shows, the seasons, and from her head. In her spare time, she enjoys oil painting and paints all sorts of subjects from people to landscapes. This picture is of Ursula, who showed me around the hotel and pointed out the many fabulous paintings that Jay has collected and put on display.

Executive Housekeeper

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Michelle, the hotel's Executive Housekeeper, began work as part of the construction crew in 2000. Once the hotel was built, she was going to start work at the front desk, but instead started in laundry. From there she began inspecting rooms then moved up to the post of assistant housekeeping manager. It was only a short jump from there to the position of Executive Housekeeper. A standard day starts with her coming in at 7am and making a board of rooms that need to be cleaned. She needs to organize housecleaners and room inspectors, keep an eye on how many guests are checking in and checking out that day, as well as many other tasks such as ordering amenities and keeping track of lost items. Michelle is the brains and motivation behind the green initiatives that have been taking place at Pike’s. She realized that many common industrial cleaners were considered too hazardous to be sent in the mail and had to be shipped up specially. She didn’t like that chemicals that couldn’t be mailed were being used, so she began to transition to Buckeye certified cleaners and household detergents such as Downy and Tide. In addition to the chemicals, many of the standard room amenities such as the toilet and tissue paper are Greenseal certified. Michelle loves her work because she enjoys interacting with both the guests and employees, some of which she has worked with for 10 years now.

Behind the Scenes- Pike's Landing General Manager

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


    As General Manager of Pike’s Landing, Diane counts taking care of guests and staff among her primary duties. She does accounting in the mornings, serves lunch, manages dinner and, naturally, checks and makes reservations. Born in Georgia, Diane has lived in Fairbanks for 40 years and worked for Pike's Landing these past 5 years. Over that time, she has had ample opportunity to form lasting relationships with her customers and guests. She has played Pacman with children too young to go to school, been invited to their birthdays, seen them graduate and get married. When people move away, they send her letters and postcards to keep in touch. These lasting relationships that she forms is her favorite, and most important part of her job.
    Managing Pike’s Landing has its own draw- Diane loves solving the challenges that the job often brings. She sometimes has to cater to huge parties of people with a phone call in the morning as her only warning. She then has to plan a menu, adjust staff to handle the large amount of people, and plan with the kitchen. Diane says that to make this sort of job happen, a good manager has to be like an old oak tree with a sturdy trunk, but the ability to bend in the wind. You have to be flexible, but you also have to be able to adjust.

Behind the Scenes- Assistant General Manager

Friday, August 19, 2011


  Christena, the Assistant General Manager/Group Manager at Pike’s, moved to Alaska from Mississippi and promptly found out that 58°F below zero is an actual temperature. Despite the positively frigid winter temperatures, Christena stayed and has not regretted that decision. She told me that something about Alaska gets into you and that someone once told her “you can leave Alaska, but Alaska will never leave you.” This is clearly true, as she has lived in Alaska the past 17 years. Christena is in charge of not just making and organizing reservations, but working with tour companies, scheduling rooms, organizing front desk duties, and a myriad other activities. She is well-known for helping people look after pets and keeps a dog bowl for water in her office just for that reason. She likes that her job encompasses so much, that there is never a dull moment, but her favorite thing about her job is helping people. She likes that people can appreciate the smallest things and enjoys her job because she can help people have a wonderful trip and a memorable stay. The picture is of Christena and her daughter on behind the hotel.



Behind the Scenes- PSA

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dwayne works at Pike’s as one of three PSAs. His job involves odd-jobs ranging from vacuuming to restocking to cleaning bathrooms. If someone is needed to clean up a stain or move freight, Dwayne will do it. He says that the aspects of his job that he most enjoys are working with the rest of the Pike’s staff, meeting guests, and problem solving. Because the shift cycle is set up so that only one PSA works at a time, Dwayne often needs to balance what work he needs to do in a given day and what new jobs and problems occur while he is on shift. He loves working with the other Pike’s employees. He says that everyone is really like one big family and that it is fun to work with them. Additionally, Dwayne said that as he moves around the hotel he is able to talk to guests and enjoys learning about where they are from. In his spare time, Dwayne does standup comedy and helps counsel kids, acting as a mentor and guide in any way that they might need.

A Hole in One

Friday, August 05, 2011

A Hole-in-one that's all for fun!

We have some exciting new construction going on at Pike’s. The old Hole in One golf course has been removed (sorry all you hopeful hole-in-oners) and the base for a new one is being put in as quickly as possible and should be ready in a few more days. For those of you unfamiliar with the Pike’s Hole in One, the setup is quite simple. A prospective golfer buys as many balls as they like and takes shots from a covered area on the Pike’s Landing porch across the Chena River, a distance of about 110 yards. This new Hole in One is a replica of Amen Corner, the 13th Hole at Augusta where the annual Masters golf tournament is held. Shown here is a picture after the groundcloth for the traps has been laid down with sand traps being raked out. The second photo shows the finished sand traps and surrounding area- the grass seed should be laid down soon. This photo was a shot taken from Pike's Landing showing the entire layout of the replica hole. It shouldn't be long before hole-in-one golfers are hitting a few balls across the river onto Alaska's only Amen Corner!

Garden Photo Contest

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pike's Photo Contest!

A Facebook photo contest of Pike's Gardens

    Every week, we will pick a winner from photos of Pike’s gardens posted on our Facebook page. The photo needs to include a caption of where in the garden it was taken and the winner will receive either 1,000 Alaska Airline miles or a Chico bag.

This contest will run from now until the end of August. We will pick the first winner on July 29th and every winner thereafter will be picked on Fridays with the last winner being picked on September 2, 2011. We will contact the winner via Facebook so that we can mail them their bag or milage certificate.

 The Fine Print:
No cash value; decisions of the judges are final; multiple entries welcome; we have the right to terminate the contest at any time; we have the right to remove any photos; the poster must have the right to post photos.





Running Rouen Ducks

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pike's Waterfront Lodge lucky duck.

If you’re around Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, you may see the ducks of Pike’s Waterfront Lodge take their morning walk. These ducks are Rouens, a domesticated form of Mallards that were originally bred in Normandy and were named after the city of Rouen in France. They were introduced to America in the 1850s and are now raised as general farm-birds and are now very popular show-ducks. They frequently perform well in the heavy-weight show divisions due to their beautiful plumage.

The lucky ducks of Pike's Waterfront Lodge have their own place to live- the only duck hotel in the state- which is located between the main lodge and the greenhouse. You can see them take their morning walk or visit them at the feed station to enjoy the ducks' droll doings. Jay Ramras, the owner of Pike's, originally started raising ducks in 2004 because he thought they were amusing, relaxing, and very beautiful.