Slack Tide: Your fabulous Juneau staycation

One man’s shelter-in-place order is another man’s “staycation.”

You know what they say: One man’s shelter-in-place order is another man’s “staycation.”

Here, we enjoy a decided advantage. After all, a Juneau staycation is the staycation of a lifetime—even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Indeed, Alaska’s capital city abounds with scenery, wildlife, arts, culture, heritage and history, all of which you can experience from your car on the way to Costco. Be honest. That’s how you usually experience them, anyway.

No matter how long you’re quarantined in Juneau, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied — just dishes and laundry alone.

Popular local COVID-19 staycation activities include: making your own disinfectant; staring out the window; trying to find yeast at Foodland; re-setting the router; home hair cuts; trying to find yeast at Fred Meyer; getting the mail; supposedly cleaning out your garage despite any noticeable progress; trying to find yeast at Super Bear IGA; secretly enjoying a nice, long break from the endless cycle of drop-offs and pick-ups your days usually entail; growing a crazy guy beard; eventually caving and just ordering yeast from Amazon; tossing a tennis ball at a dog with one of those plastic long-handled ice cream scoops; counting the days until May 18, your yeast’s estimated delivery date; rationing store-bought bread.

Sample one-week itinerary:

Day 1: Deadliest Couch

Disney+ is for cheechackos. Why not use this opportunity to catch up on your Alaska-based TV? Wikipedia lists nearly 40 different series set in the Last Frontier. If you’re already up to speed on all the reality shows — at this point, who isn’t? — power-stream obscure titles like 1974 cop drama “Kodiak,” (trounced in the ratings by “Sanford and Son;” killed after four episodes) or 1959-60 Western “The Alaskans,” starring a pre-007 Roger Moore as Klondike hustler “Silky” Harris. Now that’s good watchin’!

At some point, talk about taking a walk around the neighborhood, but never quite get around to it because, you know, Zoom Yahtzee.

Day 2: Glacier? Hardly Even Know ‘Er

Head to Juneau’s most popular attraction: Mendenhall Glacier. Of course, they closed the visitor center, so you’ll have to appreciate it from afar, for example, the parking lot of Safeway, where you’ve heard rumors of yeast (spoiler alert: they prove false).

Spend the night at a local bed and breakfast, by which we mean your house. Just throw down a bunch of giant doilies and then make inane small talk with yourself the next morning. You won’t know the difference.

Day 3-4: Stuff Your Face with Juneau

The capital city’s resurgent culinary scene offers many options, even during the pandemic. In fact, Juneau suddenly finds itself awash in take-out options (and, sigh, Styrofoam clam shell containers). Order one menu item from every open shack, cart and brick-and-mortar establishment in town and embark on your own virtual food tour, without any walking or even disrupting your pantlessness. You can re-create the restaurant atmosphere at home by teaching your kids how to wait tables and mix cocktails (after all, you dictate the homeschool curriculum). For extra authenticity, get them elaborate neck tattoos.

Day 5: See Ya, Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya

Enjoy incredible, world-class wildlife viewing from the comfort of your own self-isolation! Simply take all those half-eaten packets of smoked salmon currently ripening in the back of your refrigerator and toss them outside. That old rockfish taco meat will work equally well, as will the random package of deer back-strap marked ‘09 you just chipped off the bottom of your freezer.

You can also get up close and personal with a lesser known local species: the mice who’ve set up shop somewhere in your house and seem impervious to traps.

Day 6: Great Alaska Drinking Game

No Juneau COVID-19 staycation would be complete without at least one whole day devoted to fermented beverages, two if it’s the weekend. Support your local breweries and distillery by making a game of it: every time you’re on a video conference and notice your double chin, take a drink; every time you go to the bathroom simply for a change of scenery, take a drink; every time you hit “refresh” on your news app, take a drink (better yet, take several).

Day 7: Detox


Of course, this is merely a taste of what awaits on your fabulous Juneau COVID-19 staycation. Whether the quarantine lifts at the end of the month or you continue remain trapped for the foreseeable future, you won’t find a better place to hunker-down. Although, at this point, it’s not like you really have any choice.

• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday in Neighbors.

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