My wife and I were planning to visit Fairbanks for a few days while on our AK vacation and after reading all the tripadvisor reviews this activity was at the top of our list. According to her web site "tours" ended about 15 Sep but we weren't getting into Fairbanks until late on the 16th so I began e-mailing Mary months in advance to see if it might still be possible to meet with her during our days in Fairbanks. Mary was very accommodating and in the end we, along with 2 other couples, met with her for our 10:00 am "tour" on a Sunday, 17 Sep. Everyone parked in the driveway and we were all greeted by one of Mary's dogs (Smokey I believe) on our arrival.
During our visit Mary was in an electric wheelchair and one of her neighbors was there helping her out. The terrain around her log cabin in not particularly wheelchair friendly and on top of that it had rained some so getting around on grass in a wheelchair was challenging - but no issue at all for Mary!!
We started out in Mary's garden area where she told us all about the various plants and vegetables she raises, how the climate there dictates what is in the garden, etc.
After the garden we all went down to the pen where the dogs are kept to meet her dogs. There were about 6 adult dogs (all on chains at their doghouse) and 2 puppies about 5 weeks old. After telling us about all the dogs Mary asked if anyone was nervous around the dogs and whether we would be OK if they were let off the chains to run around some. Everyone was fine with that so the dogs were let loose and we played with the puppies and dogs, fed some dogs some treats, etc.
After some time the dogs were chained up again and we proceeded to a space between the garden and the dog pen which had a fire pit, a dog sled, a tent and some benches. We then sat down there while Mary told us some about how she came to be in AK, how she got into dog mushing, a typical routine when on the trail with dogs and making camp each day, etc.
At this point we were all welcomed into Mary's cozy log cabin where she and her friend served us hot chocolate/coffer/water or whatever and some delicious, fresh home made cookies. The 6 of us guests all sat with Mary around her dining room table and she continued to tell us about her life, her love of dogs, mushing, conservation, etc. It was just a joy to sit and listen to the stories of her life experiences, ask her questions, etc. Mary has also written several books, some of which are children's books, and she has those, along with a few other items, for sale. We have 4 grandkids so we picked out some books for them and Mary graciously agreed to sign each of them and include a personal note to the children, asking their names and the name of any dogs they might have - how thoughtful.
Mary has led a truly fascinating life and it was so incredible she would welcome us into her home like old friends and spend time telling us about her many adventures and adversities. While the "tour" was supposed to be from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, we were there until just after 2:00 pm. Mary was more than happy to share stories of her life with us, as well as answer our questions, and made no attempt to get us out the door! Her hospitality is unparalleled!
If you are in Fairbanks there is NO activity I would recommend over a visit to meet Mary and her dogs - a truly wonderful experience that I wish our grandkids could have shared with us!!
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