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Exploring Alaska Home Exchange


Photo: flickr, Chris Lott

Alaska – the last frontier, the land of the midnight sun, a vacation destination unlike no other.  IVHE offers a variety of luxuryhome exchanges and ways to experience the wonders of Alaska from Ketchikan to Anchorage. .
IVHE offers some amazing accommodations in Ketchikan, the Alaskan city closest to the Lower 48. This friendly town of 15,000 sits on one of the larger islands in the Inside Passage archipelago of 1,100 islands. Most of the islands are part of a huge national forest that contains The Misty Fjords National Monument, a wilderness area so remote that most visitors see it from cruise ships, private boats, or kayaks… which brings us to our first accommodation – a yacht you can think of as your private floating lodge, one that will take you through the Misty Fjords wilderness areas in comfort and style.  Our next property is a lodge, indeed, stationery on the waterfront of Ketchikan. It’s the Black Bear Inn with IVHE accommodations available three different ways: as a bed and breakfast, as a luxury apartment, or as a romantic bunkhouse cabin.

 Moving inland to Fairbanks, the IVHE property here is a modern house in the woods. These woods are not to be confused with the pristine wilderness of the Danali National Park and Preserve, two hours away.  Danali is the largest national park in the U.S. –more than six million acres. Its centerpiece is the highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley, with an elevation of 20,237 feet (6,168 m).  

Finally, Anchorage, the state’s largest city, enters the IVHE picture by way of Girdwood Alaska and a mountainside condo at the Alyeska Ski Resort,  about 27 miles from the big city.  The Alyeska Resort is the largest ski area in the state, with the majority of the runs made to challenge intermediate and advanced skiers. The highest point on Mount Alyeska  accessible by chair lift is 2,750 feet (840 m). Apres ski in Anchorage means fine dining,  theater and an excellent music scene.

A 40-ft. motoryacht cruising Misty Fiords National Monument for five days.

You will move from spectacular place to spectacular place aboard your own private floating lodge. Fish for salmon or halibut in salt water, or go freshwater fly and spin fishing for salmon and trout (all tackle is included); look for orcas, sea lions, and porpoises in the water; eagles in the air; and bears and mountain goats on the land. Go ashore at beautiful landings and hike and explore with an experienced Guide. All meals are provided.  At night, your captain anchors the boat in a secluded cove where you’ll bunk down in cozy comfort. This could be the vacation of a lifetime.

Vacation Home Exchange Property #0761 -- Ketchikan

Luxurious Bed and Breakfast
at the Black Bear Inn

All rooms in this elegant B&B have stunning views of the Tongass Narrows, a channel of Alaska’s Inside Passage waterway used by recreational and commercial vessels  from Kayaks to freight barges. Each room has a private bath, unique furnishings, and nice amenities. Wireless internet is available. A self-serve Continental Plus breakfast and snacks are included.  Waterfront restaurants are a five-minute walk away.  More eateries, cafes, and bars are four miles away in downtown Ketchikan, as are many shopping opportunities and cultural attractions. The Inn is ideal for short stays when going to or returning from other Alaska adventures.  Or, it can be a destination in itself with plenty to do in the area.  Arrival and departure transportation is provided.

The Eagles Nest 1-bedroom
apartment on the top floor of the Black Bear Inn

 Not only does this private luxury suite have spectacular views of the mountains, ocean and sunsets, but you can also look out your window and see Bald Eagles perching in the spruce trees nearby – thus the name. The Eagles Nest has its own private entrance and covered porch at the front of the Inn. The suite features the artwork of Fred Machetanz, Sidney Laurence and Nathalie Parenteau. The kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and the front foyer are adorned with decorative Italian porcelain and travertine. For a location usually associated with “roughing it,” this suite has delightfully unexpected class and style.

A romantic 2-bedroom bunkhouse cabin next to the Black Bear Inn


The Bunkhouse is a very private cabin that sits beside the main house.  An open sun deck, with a relaxing hot tub, runs across the front of the cabin with an awesome view of the Inside Passage. There are large picture windows inside, also with views of the water. The walls of the cabin are finished in white-washed red cedar. The floors are porcelain, slate, and travertine. A walk-in shower in the bathroom is also done in travertine.  There is a small kitchenette, fully equipped, for whipping up a quick meal. You would never know that this cabin is over 73 years old and was once part of a fish cannery camp. It was modernized and opened to guests in 2007.

Vacation Home ExchangeProperty # 0455: Fairbanks

Modern 3-bedroom home in the woods
close to town; 2 hours to Danali Park

This may be the only vacation home in the world where you can look out the window and see a mother moose and her calf strolling by.  The house is modern and has all the conveniences you need, but it sits in the middle of a  birch forest --  secluded, quiet and private. Not bad for a suburb of Fairbanks, the state’s second largest city. The shopping, dining, art galleries, and shows of Fairbanks are just three miles away. But when you get ready for something really wild,  take a scenic two-hour drive to Danali National Park and Preserve and Mount McKinley. Your host offers a 1998 Subaru Forester for just two extra credits. No need to rent a car to explore Fairbanks or the Danali. If you would rather have a narrated tour and leave the driving to someone else, several excellent tours are available

Vacation Home Exchange Property # 0538 – Alyeska Ski Resort near Anchorage

2-bedroom mountainside condo; ski in and ski out.
This cozy 1000 square-foot condo is in a friendly 4-unit complex close to resort amenities.  The closest chairlift is a two-minute ski from the condo. A year ‘round tram that can take you 2300 feet vertical in seven minutes is in easy walking distance, as is the town of Girdwood.   You have amazing views of the resort and several hanging glaciers in the Girdwood Valley from your living room and master bedroom.  A summer visit is worth considering as well.  The landscape is green instead of white. Cross country ski trails become simple hiking trails lined with wild flowers, and the fine restaurants, museums, theaters and nightlife of Anchorage beckons even stronger.

 For more information on any of these Alaska home exchanges, click the property # above.  If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to learn more, visit  to see who we are and how our system of credits-based exchanges can work for you and your vacation property.

Blogsmith:  Mike DiPrima


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