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What's best, Nome or Barrow?

New Jersey
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What's best, Nome or Barrow?

I am considering to visit Alaska next year on a limited schedule. I think it would be nice to visit one of Alaska's remot communities. I understand that Barrow is the most northern point in the world and borders the Arctic Ocean, which is very cool, but what does it have to offer? I also am considering Nome. Nome seems very enjoyable and relaxing, unlike the dumpy apperance of Barrow on the internet. It also seems like it has more to offer. Help is needed for a crazy tourist. Thanks- Happy Trails

Anchorage
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1. Re: What's best, Nome or Barrow?

Hi Chiphennessy, you said that you wanted to visit one of Alaskas remote communities, what is it that you hope to rtake away from the experience? I have been to both and found both to have its own qualities.

Nome feels a little more like any small town it is set up for tourists. You can rent a car, ours had rusted throiugh the floor boards and when you hit a puddle water would spray into the car. You can drive out along the beach, they say it is a road and see old dredging equipment and summer fish camps, We did not drive inland, although the do have roads. Nome has dirt roads and many of the homes have the normal alaska junk around them.

Barrow does have a dumpy apperance for three months a year. Barrow is a real native community with some non-native services on the side. Not to say that Nome is not a real native community, just that it is set up for tourists and Barrow is not really set up for them . I believe that they now have a museum that some have said is worth the time to see. You can also have a guide service take you out by the dump to see polar bears, which can be very interesting. If you visit early in the summer you will see the build-up of sea ice on the shore 50-60ft high. In the early part of summer and again in the fall you may be lucky enough to be there when they harvest a whale and bring it back to be butchered, very impressive.

I don't think I answered your question, because I found both to be facinating. Both have plenty to keep a person busy if they want to be. Like I started out what experience do you want to take away from this side trip, each offers its own and different experience. I think that you can have a good time at either.

If I can be of help, I would have said further help, but I don't think I really answered your question, let me know.

Tony B in AK

Fairbanks, Alaska
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2. Re: What's best, Nome or Barrow?

I think that if you want a remote Alaskan community, you will probably think they are all dumpy. If you want a tourist show of Alaska then go that route. You can't have both.

Carcross, Yukon
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3. Re: What's best, Nome or Barrow?

>>I understand that Barrow is the most northern point in the world ...<<

Not even close - it isn't even the furthest-north community in the world, merely in the US.

Anchorage
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4. Re: What's best, Nome or Barrow?

Hi ExplorNorth, your comment about the northern most community got me thinking as I always thought it was the northern most community in the world. So I went to many maps on the net and could not find any year round community north of Barrow Lat.71- 17'( I don't have a degree symbol). The closest I could find is Hammerfest Norway, which claims to be the "northern most community in the world" but it's lat is only 70-39' and all of the communities in Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Russia appeared to be south of Hammerfest and Barrow. Could you let me know what community is north of Barrow, because I googled for more than an hour and couldn't find one that is north of Barrow and my little known facts has a hole in it now. Thanks

Anchorage, AK
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5. Re: What's best, Nome or Barrow?

Hi TonyBinAK,

Your research on the northernmost community in the world intrigued me, as well as ExploreNorth's comment, since I lived in Barrow for 8 years while working for the local community college. Barrow was widely referred to as the "northernmost community in North America" and "Top of the World" in publications and media and had a sister city in Inuvik, Canada which had a similiar latitude and population, but looks to be just a little bit farther south on the map. I did some research of my own because I am curious what the northernmost community in the world actually is. It appears just by my brief research, that several communities claim to be the northernmost community in the world: Siorapaluk, Greenland, lat. 77. 80, (pop 80) Ny-Alesund, Norway, lat. 79 degrees,( research station-only 30 people during winter) and Longyearbyen, Norway, lat. 78'. (approx. 2000 year round residents). Therefore, I believe it is safe to say that although Barrow may not be officially the northernmost community in the world, it is mostly likely the largest northernmost community in the world, with 4500-5000 year round residents. I really find this interesting since I lived in Barrow for 8 years, so let me know if you find any other informaton.

Thanks!

Arctic Traveler

Anchorage
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6. Re: What's best, Nome or Barrow?

Hi Arctic Traveler, thanks for the information. I found the research interesting. I found many twists to the claim as the northern most community. Siorapaluk and Ny-Alesund are both research sites, so I don't know if they really qualify as communities. I also found that Qaanaaq Greenland claims to be the northernmost naturally inhabited community at N77-48'. Yet Longyearbyen, Norway at N78-15' is the northern most permanent community. Again thanks for the research you did.