Chowder for the soul

My wife and I enjoyed our stay at Eagle’s Wings Wilderness Retreat enormously. We were prepared for rustic accommodations and gray weather; instead we got pampered and caught limits of salmon on calm waters under sunny skies. Taking into account all that was included with the price of the visit, we received great value for our money.

While the upgrade to the newly built, artfully decorated, Moose Cabin was well worth the price, our fellow guests said they enjoyed the camaraderie of the cozy main lodge. The feel of the place was definitely wilderness, though Klawock is just a half hour away by boat.

We have visited various locations in Alaska over the years and were resigned to the fact that the food would be mediocre at best. Not so at Eagle’s Wings. Our Cook Kevin put the best food we have had in Alaska on the table. His seafood chowder (with clams he dug that morning) bested any I have had in any restaurant. Anywhere. And he served it with a loaf of exceptional homemade sourdough bread! They cycle different guest cooks throughout the season, but past visitors assured us the caliber of the cuisine is consistent.

There was breakfast cooked to order in the morning, packed lunches on the boat (made to personal specs) and a generous supply of sashimi and fresh smoked salmon belly for the cocktail hour! Dinner was generous portions of hearty fare, seafood focused but not exclusively. They made every effort to accommodate special dietary restrictions. Twice Kevin motored over to a nearby island to forage fresh sea asparagus which he served sautéed with bacon, vinegar and onions for a crunchy yum. Did I mention homemade blueberry pie? (Note to Kevin if you read this: I am kind of ticked off at you. Toni prefers your pie crust to MINE.)

This is starting to sound like a restaurant review, but the food was only one aspect of the welcoming sustenance offered up by Beth, Mark and their staff. They wanted us to relax and have fun. After returning from a day of fishing and the obligatory photos with our fish hanging from their sign, we napped or enjoyed a sauna while they cleaned, packaged and froze our catch.

On our fourth day we visited a nearby river and fly fished. Too late in the season for trout or dolly varden we were treated to an awesome display of pink salmon (anxious to hit a fly) sporadically bursting upstream in massive waves. Some of us saw a bear with her two cubs, though I missed them while engrossed in my repeated battles with those feisty pink salmon. Throughout the week we saw countless Bald Eagles, whales and sea otters.

Sure, the weather was great. The fishing was incredible. The limitations of the wilderness location notwithstanding, the accommodations exceeded our expectations. But I believe the reason so many of their guests are repeat visitors are these super chill hosts. Their spiritual bent, their ability to work so hard without seeming burdened and their gregarious nature, transforming a mix of strangers from disparate backgrounds into friends around a campfire, are what makes Eagles Wing’s chowder for the soul.

Trip Advisor, August 2019