If you’re a nature or art lover, or if you’re just looking for a beautiful private room within walking distance of downtown Seward, head to the Arctic Paradise B&B. There’s only one room, so you’ll have lots of privacy. It’s also the only B&B in town run by a wildlife biologist - one who also happens to be a pilot, dancer, musician, teacher and artist. So Mary Ann Benoit can give you tips on the best hikes or bird-watching areas and provide a “bear-country” backpack for wilderness excursions, then bake you a fresh-picked wild-berry breakfast pie and fix the perfect cup of Costa Rican coffee. She can even give you lessons in dance, world percussion or jewelry making if you want to explore your creative side.
The Arctic Paradise B&B is a single room in Mary Ann’s home and is open year-round. Summer guests enter through a garden of wildflowers and into a living room filled with musical instruments from around the world.
The room is downstairs, and is perfect for a single traveler or couple. There’s an antique double bed, always made with flannel sheets, down comforter and satin bedspread, as well as a fold-out cot. The room is lit with stained glass lights, filled with colorful wildlife art and has its own dining table, refrigerator, microwave, TV with internet apps and Dish Network, media library and high speed wireless internet. The private bathroom has a shower and bath.
Mary Ann delivers breakfast to your room so you can eat at your leisure. She takes advantage of Alaska’s bounty, using wild blueberries, crowberries and cranberries in parfaits and pies, and reindeer sausage in baked egg dishes. And she knows her coffee. She grinds her Costa Rican beans fresh and preps the in-room coffeemaker for you. Hit a button and you’ll soon be enjoying a perfect cup.
And since she’s a wildlife biologist as well as a decade-long resident of the area, she knows the hot places to go and the best animal-viewing tours.
But she’s not all right brain; Mary Ann’s also a dancer, musician, and artist. Her glasswork and jewelry are on display around the house (including the stained glass dishes she serves your breakfast in). And be sure to look for the musical instruments that adorn the house. If you want company, she’ll tell you stories of world travels or dance performances and fill you in on bear and moose biology. Or if you’re looking for quiet solitude, she’ll make herself scarce and the place is yours.