Just across a short bridge from the western shore of POW Island, the town of Craig (pop. 1,100) overflows Craig Island. Named after Craig Miller—founder of an early fish cannery here—it was originally even more prosaically called “Fish Egg,” for the herring eggs that are considered a Tlingit delicacy. Fishing and logging are the mainstays of Craig’s economy, giving it a likable feeling.
The town has two fish-processing plants and a number of sportfishing lodges. There are no real “sights” in town, but as you enter Craig you pass the Healing Heart Totem Pole. Black bears and bald eagles are often seen at the dump, a mile north of town.
Hidden in the J. T. Brown Industrial Park a mile north of town is Stone Arts of Alaska (907/826-3571, www.stoneartsofalaska.com), an unpretentious stone yard and gallery space where you can watch Gary McWilliams as he works on one-of-a-kind pieces—all created from stones he collected in Southeast Alaska. The gallery and stone yard are open daily in the summer and include both functional pieces (tables, benches, bowls, and garden art) and fine art—the finest of which sell for upward of $40,000.
Located along the south boat harbor, the Forest Service’s Craig District Office (907/826-3271, www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass) has maps and recreational information, including a listing of charter fishing operators.
Find quaint cozy guest rooms (some with microwaves and fridges) at Ruth Ann’s Hotel (907/826-3378, $100–127 d), and a honeymoon suite ($147 d) that includes a private hot tub. Most rooms have Wi-Fi access. The guest rooms are across the street from Ruth Ann’s Restaurant.
At Inn of the Little Blue Heron (907/826-3608, www.littleblueheroninn.com), three guest rooms ($79–115 d) include private baths and fridges along with Wi-Fi. The back deck overlooks the boat harbor, and a continental breakfast is served. Also available is a new two-bedroom waterfront home ($295) that sleeps four guests.
Located above Wheelhouse Coffee Roasters, Water Street Apartments (907/826-2333, $135 s, $145 d) consists of three efficiency units with small kitchens and Wi-Fi.
Dreamcatcher B&B (1405 E. Hamilton Dr., 907/826-2238, www.dreamcatcherbedandbreakfast.com, $105 d) is a modern home with wraparound decks facing the bay. The three attractive guest rooms have Wi-Fi and private baths, and a continental breakfast is served.
If you have the money and like to fish, Waterfall Resort (907/225-9461 or 800/544-5125, www.waterfallresort.com) will put you in seventh (or eighth) heaven. Located on the south end of POW in a beautifully refurbished fish cannery, Waterfall is popular with the elite crowd. Pampered guests stay in tiny Cape Cod–style cottages along a remote stretch of coast and are treated to great fishing with a personal fishing guide, plus three sumptuous meals daily. It’s not cheap: Two people should be ready to drop $8,000 for three nights, but this does include floatplane fare from Ketchikan and all expenses.
Right in Craig, Shelter Cove Lodge (907/826-2939 or 888/826-3474, www.sheltercovelodge.com) has package lodging-and-fishing trips from a modern and comfortable lodge, starting around $2,650 per person for three days of fishing.
RainCountry RV Park (907/826-3632, $34) is on JS Drive.
Meal prices are high on POW; your best bet may be to stock up in Ketchikan or at the grocery store in Craig, Thompson House (907/826-3394), which has a deli. The historic J. T. Brown’s General Store (907/826-3290) is a classic heart-of-town place with groceries, fishing gear, and other supplies.
For fresh-roasted coffees, espresso, and pastries—plus books, gifts, computer rentals, and free Wi-Fi—head to Wheelhouse Coffee Roasters (907/826-2333), across from the grocery store on Cold Storage Road. This is a fine spot to hang out.
Right next door in another historic structure is Ruth Ann’s Restaurant (907/826-3377, daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m.), a classy place with an old-time atmosphere. You’ll find good food three meals a day with a front-row view of the harbor. The diverse menu includes seafood, chicken, and steaks for dinner, plus burgers, salads, halibut, fish-and-chips, and sandwiches for lunch. Dinner reservations are advised if you want a window seat. The building also houses a popular but minuscule bar. Dinner entrées start around $14 and range up to $47 for king crab.
Also downtown is Dockside Café (907/826-5544, daily 5:30 a.m.–3 p.m.), with reasonable breakfasts plus tasty lunches and fresh-baked pies. Dockside opens at 5:30 a.m. and is packed with smokers for the first hour or so, although smoking isn’t allowed later in the day. Steak and eggs ($15) are the most expensive item.
Near the grocery store, Annie Betty’s Bakery-Café (907/826-2299, Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., under $7) serves paninis, smoothies, ice cream, and espresso, along with homemade breads, cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, and doughnuts.
Craig’s fine-dining experience, Shelter Cove Lodge (703 Hamilton Dr., 907/826-2939 or 888/826-3474, www.sheltercovelodge.com, daily 4–9 p.m. mid-June–Aug., $23–28) has tall windows facing the boat harbor, and a dinner-only menu of fine seafood, steaks, ribs, pasta, and nightly specials.
Very good pizzas—including a pesto and artichoke version—can be had at Papa’s Pizza (907/826-2244, Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.), which also serves chicken and lasagna. Small pizzas start at $8 and range up to $21 for the family size.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition