“I love your overly aggressive pastel winter palette”
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The goal is simple – to kickstart some civic pride! To inspire us and remind us that our community is worthy of our love. We encourage you to share some positive stories and write your own love letter.
Our desire is to light a fire, rekindle an old flame , ignite the kind of love that makes you shout from the top of Murphy Dome –
I Love Fairbanks!
In a few words or more, why do you love Fairbanks?
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I love glare ice in your hills around,
not the type found downtown,
but i digress …. It's the wilderness,
it's crisp, it's close.
That's why I love you the most.
You were the first city in the United States I visited and my friends' running joke is that I said "this will do" and stayed. But there's so much more to that story. I remember landing here for the first time, airplane nearly touching the ground and I was yet to see a single building. I remember the panic, the wonder, the adrenaline. I remember walking to work and everyone also walking saying hi. I remember the breathtaking moments and the heartbreaking moments and the quiet in between. I remember the first house, the first child, the first diploma, the first winter, the first attempt to leave you behind and the realization that you are where my heart is. You are home.
After sixteen years of living in villages I will never forget coming to Fairbanks on a summer day to celebrate a friends retirement with baseball and hot dogs down by the river. That evening several of us dressed up to attend the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra. It was the perfect mix of Fairbanks letting its hair down, and later showing it could rub shoulders with the finest any city had to offer. That day remains embedded in my heart as the day I called Fairbanks home.
Hey Fairbanks. I love you especially for your people and for your open skies, for your trails and your rebel soul, for your moosey woods, summer days and winter nights. I love you for the deep feeling of belonging that I get when I am here in the heart of our amazing beautiful state. Thank you for being who you are.
I love you for the warmth that comes from your unique people, especially when the temperatures plummet to 40 below. Coming home to you from being Outside always feels like walking into a giant bear hug, comfortable and welcoming.
I love your gritty, unpretentious vibe. You don’t swagger or flirt but you are warm, inviting and always willing to share. You are honest and loyal and share your best secrets with those that love you best. I love your not-so-secret love affair you have with the sun and how that shapes our relationship. You are an amazing painter with a knack for subtle beauty. Why bother with fancy buildings when fireweed and birch trees make a fine enough pallet against a simple trail or the blue hues of a deep winter day against the white snow on the spruce along side your streets? No wonder Bob Ross thought you were worth hanging out with too. I love how you share us with the mountains, tundra and rivers and don’t get upset when we go play with them for a day. I love how you bathe us in your peonies and hide us behind the rose bushes so we can listen to music and dance together at the gardens while the trains full of passengers looking for the “real Alaska” goes by.
I have never been somewhere so wild, unpredictable, or severe, and yet so nurturing, encouraging, and welcoming. You have taught me self-reliance, patience and perseverance. Some of the lessons did not come easy, and you have left scars on me, from frostbitten cheeks, to scraped knees, to fishing hooks in fingers. You have singed my lungs in summer with thick smoke from tundra fires, and burnt them in winter with frozen air, and yet you have taught me how to breathe more freely and deeply than I ever knew I could. You smell of freedom, the fragrant flowers and trees that flourish too quickly in the spring, the rivers with melted snow in summer, the rains and fallen leaves in autumn, and tiny ice crystals that sparkle in winter.
They say that home is where you grow tall, where you become yourself, and where you bury the people you love most in the world. Home was never a place I never knew I needed until I left you. Fairbanks, you hold my happiest memories, you've felt my most bitter tears, and you embrace my favorite people below your earth. Your ground is permanently frozen, yet somehow it became easy to put down lasting roots. There is so much beauty in desolation, and you have taught me to look deeper than the surface. The northern lights shine brightest on the darkest nights and the most lasting friendships came from the hardest times with you. Before you I used to believe that "Gold is cold", but the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks, Alaska is the warmest place I have ever known.
I LOVE you because you love back. A sense of community and connections is abound.
The wide open spaces and the beautiful resilient animals who call this place home remind us all to remember what we are made of and that we are all CONNECTED.
The adventure, the midnight sun, the community.
I love you because you are challenging
Daring us to grow
Demanding that we build community
Pointing out: don't go it alone
That is dangerous
That is folly
You are beautiful, quirky and kind. I love you.
I've known you my whole life and been through so much together… It hasn't always been easy, and sometimes I need time away… but with a fresh perspective I always find myself eager to return home to you.
Not everyone understands our commitment to each other and why I’m constantly bragging about you, and that's okay- I'm proud to call you home.
After all these years you still find ways to surprise me. You are creative, adventurous and keep pretty good company. I have hope for our future and recognize that this relationship takes work on my end as well, I might not always tell you how I feel but today I say loud and proud that you are my golden heart city and I will forever love you.
We've been on a magical ride through the years. We have come and gone, we have collapsed and rebuilt, we have loved and lost together – but most importantly we have grown together.
Somewhere between the midnight suns and the seemingly-everlasting twilight of winter, I found myself deeply in love. The kind of love that keeps me up at night while I'm away from you, the type of love that makes me want to build my life around you, the type of love I can't stop talking to my friends near and far about.
Just when I think I finally have discovered all you have to offer, you bring me something new and exciting to and pull me back in – the never ending days bring forward your golden fall which leads to a magically still and cozy winter back again to life-bringing spring – shaking off the cabin fever that seeped into my bones during our annual journey.
Your striking duality captivates my mind and I can't help but daydream about what we will become as we continue to grow together.
Fairbanks, I love you and I always will.
When fate first brought us together, I was fearful we may never come to fall in love. We seemed an odd pair–me, a mid-sized city girl, and you, a desolate and independent soul. However, as life is full of surprises, I have come to know you well, and love you for certain.
I love your people; they are the pulse that keeps your golden heart alive and resilient. Amidst their independence, they are close-knit, passionate, and welcoming. They have taught me–and still are–to listen, be kind, have adventure, and to simply keep going, regardless of the circumstance.
I love your many layers. You are by no means a one-dimensional soul. Each time I have the chance to explore you, I discover something new and even more interesting than the last. I have found your many hiking trails, with foraged treasures to supplement my passion and creativity for cooking. I have gazed in awe at your distant mountains, encouraging me by simply always being there despite whatever may change in life.
In all, you have exceeded my expectations. Steady and unimposing, spacious and grounding, you are one of a kind, and have embraced me with open arms, without judgement. Because of you, there is so much more to me than who I used to be and that is a beautiful thing. Amidst our differences, we are harmonious, you and I. Thank you for humbly teaching me so much, as I have much to learn.
I love you Fairbanks!
Thank you for showing me the true meaning of serenity. Thank you for showing me that it is okay to put the outside world on hold when you lose signal on your way to Chena Hot Springs. Thank you for showing me that driving through nature can be more entertaining than the redundancy of an fm radio station. Thank you for assuring me that although experiencing the Aurora firsthand isn't guaranteed, it is definitely worth the chase; nothing worth having/experiencing comes easy. Thank you for showing me the value of an all-wheel-drive car while navigating through snowy roads. Thank you for allowing me to wear a t-shirt in 30 degree weather without fear of frostbite. Thank your diverse culture, leading me to have something in common with anyone I came in contact with. Thank you for having a large selection of delectable local brews to choose from. Thank you for sending a family of majestic moose to greet me at sunrise, unbothered by my lengthy photoshoot. Thank you for the locals who voluntarily went out of their way to point me in the right direction of whatever I was in search of at the time. Fairbanks, thank you for providing me with a much needed getaway from the many stressors of daily life.
As I prepare for my departure at dawn, I am left with an endless amount of reasons to return. Next time, just make sure I lose cellular signal more often.
Framed in by mountains, the magnificent works of art that surround you are ever-changing, ever-eye catching, drawing our eyes out to the distance and up to the sky. There is no beauty that compares to the valley with its flat bottoms, wandering waters, and sea of trees.
In winter, the lights that paint the sky keep us up at night, while the hazy days melt together by the wood stove. In summer, the daylight means we are recharged and round-the-clock! Picnics, paddle boarding, festivals and fun – there is no break. So, while we lose sleep no matter what the season, we recognize that it isn't for noise of traffic and city, but instead it is by nature's own crafty ways and our own adventurous spirits embracing the present.
Your land provides meat and fish and berries. Not to mention all the man-made commodities like art, coffee and beer – with an even stronger community that embraces and shares these things.
Fairbanks has the moments that seem to white-out the soul. But only in those deepest, darkest winter moments do we even possibly begin to think of life elsewhere. And, when we actually take the time to think hard, we realize we are so incredibly lucky. There is no perfect place, but this place sure is perfect for us.
I love you, Fairbanks.
I love you in ways I never thought I would. I grew up resenting you, but now you forever hold a place in my heart. I love the beauty of your skies and the smell of your morning air. I love the people who offer me warm hugs in your daylight and the trails you’ve left for me to explore. I love your familiarity and all the memories we’ve made together. I love our connection. I love that I can call you home.
Our relationship has been a brief one; we met once on the longest day of the year, and again in the Fall.
I wasn't sure at first how well we were matched, but even in the short time of out first visit I grew to appreciate your depth;
waking blurry-eyed after sleeping with pale light sneaking through the windows, sipping a cup of coffee downtown and watching the city start to buzz, meeting endless folks with surprisingly diverse reasons for their time in your walls, and passing nights drinking beer in an eerie twilight on the back patios of charming dive bars.
When I later chanced to wander your outskirts, and take the drive towards Denali, I came to know that you really were a special place–connecting a community of people who choose to live dispersed in one of the least forgiving but most unique places I have been lucky enough to visit.
We can't really know how our relationship might progress, but I look forward to running into you on down the road.
I will surely expect more surprises and new discoveries in your waxing & waning days, and in coming to know the folks who call you "home".
Until we meet again,
I lived there, and I left. This is my honest love letter.
"It's just not for me," I said. All of my friends heard me say that. I lived there for school and it wholly unnerved me; having grown up by water and mountains, I had prepared myself for the interior rivers and rolling hills, but I wasn't prepared for the stillness, whether from lack of wind or how the freeze limits movement or from little precipitation– the land felt so still, so much so that when I left, I felt I was coming alive again. I learned aesthetics were important to me through that move and I searched for beautiful spaces, leaving me loitering in Venue for hours upon months on end. It wasn't just hard for me to live there, but hard on me. I saw everyone with their families and I was away from mine. And then I left.
A year passed and I found myself in Fairbanks again, this time for much of the summer, my first time experiencing summer in the Interior. I found music in the botanical garden, floating on the Chena, a tilted cabin in Goldstream, slow days, and bright nights chasing and hiding in fireweed fields with people you love.
It's the winter and I now notice when I haven't been there in a while. I can feel that I haven't been to Fairbanks in a minute; I can feel that I have something of a life there, whether I intended it or not, and I know there are people there whom I love. I find myself starting to wonder if there's a time in my calendar I can drive up, and if I have to go to Fairbanks for work or projects, I know it's a time I can see Jessica and Venue and Lavelle's Taphouse, and visit Hoodoo and the UAF library and run into friends in the grocery store.
C. S. Lewis wrote, "No man," said one of the Greeks, "loves his city because it is great, but because it is his." While this platform is a testament to what makes Fairbanks great, I think everyone reading this quote from anywhere in Alaska, will understand. We are not nor will we ever be New York City, but Fairbanks and other communities like it, aren't trying to be. People live there for the reasons people live anywhere: because it's where their families are, or for employment, or because their people have been thriving in the area for thousands of years. And if it's not right for you, there's a highway and several flights a day.
I was one of the people who took the highway out. But what I found was an unexpected appreciation of how that highway works both ways.
I may be one of the ones who keeps leaving Fairbanks. But what that means is I'm also coming back.
I love you people, your beauty and even your challenging weather. I love your quirky, offbeat community… I’ve never lived anywhere else that felt like HOME.
I love you Fairbanks!
I love your light and dark. Your 90° and -40°. Your isolation and community. You truly are a manic and peaceful kind of place, and for this I love you.
I love you when you’re cold, I love you when you’re hot.
I love you when you’re dark, I love you when you’re light.
Fairbanks is home.
It’s not the prettiest, most hip, or even the safest city. But it is pretty, it is modern for how for how remote it is, and there is a strong community that supports one another. It’s got the “most northern” of just about everything which draws the hardiest of people. Fairbanks is rich in history, rough around the edges, and is a “no fluff” town. Full of character, and full of characters. There’s even free AC outside for 9 months of the year! Fairbanks is truly unique and I’m happy to call it home.
You have a special place in my heart. The stories within your community are deep and telling. Sometimes all it takes is a short (or long) conversation with someone to find out how special you’ve been in their life. You have memories of happiness and sadness, and that’s what makes you a place to call home. It can be cold and dark during winter, but not for long, your days quickly get brighter to show off your sparkling, frosty trees. You are unique and hold so many people dear to your heart.
Thank you for letting me call you home.
I love Fairbanks with my whole heart! We have an awesome community. Great idea!