Posted: Friday, February 09, 2007

Just 126 miles south of Anchorage and 105 miles east of Kenai is Seward, a small city at the head of Resurrection Bay that sits at the base of

Mount Marathon.

The city was founded in 1903, but had previously been a Native village site and a Gold Rush encampment. Seward was named for William Henry Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869. Seward engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. The city is also mile zero of the historic Iditarod Trail, used from 1909 to the early 1920s.

The city’s history has been well documented and can be viewed at the Resurrection Bay Historical Society Seward Museum on Third Avenue. Today, this three-time All American City is home to more than 2,600 residents, a historic downtown district, art galleries, fine gift shops and an active harbor.

Seward’s claim to fame is a celebration held every Independence Day. Residents of the city and countless visitors line the streets and cheer on those in the Mount Marathon Race, an event where runners climb the 3,022 foot mountain and dash back down the steep terrain.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is one must see when visiting the city. The cold-water research and education institute provides opportunities to learn about marine environments with live displays, interactive exhibits and underwater viewing tanks. There is an aquatic petting zoo and several exhibits of Resurrection Bay’s oceanic habitat.

The other must see is the Kenai Fjords National Park. Take a day boat trip or an evening dinner cruise into the park.

Exit Glacier, located approximately 10 miles out of town, is the only part of the park accessible by road. Within just a short distance from parking, the gigantic natural wonder can be viewed close-up or at a distance from an overlook.

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