Note: The following appeared as "Worth A Stop" in the March/April 1999 edition of Northwest Travel Magazine

T.S. Fox

    A visit to WinterCabin Bed & Breakfast in Tok, Alaska, located on the Alaska Highway 90 miles west of the Yukon border, lets you meet a pioneering woman, whose family of four lived in a 16 by 32-foot canvas tent during the winter of 1977. Daily temperatures were 50 degrees or lower.  A conversation with your host, Donna Blasor-Bernhardt, is like a journey into the Last Frontier. "We didn't plan it that way," Donna remarks when queried about her family's wilderness adventure. "We got a late start on our cabin, and winter came early. We sure didn't intend to find ourselves living in an army M*A*S*H-style tent for 13 months, but it happened. We made the best of it, and the experience brought our family closer together. We survived by cutting and burning nearly a cord of wood each day. My husband and I slept in four-hour shifts to keep the stove fired up."
        The family's ordeal made international news when Paul Harvey did his commentary about the family living in the tent. Upon hearing of the family's tenacity, actor Alan Alda of "M*A*S*H" TV fame wrote, "Congratulations on your long running stay in your own 'M*A*S*H swamp.' You and your family deserve a medal for your endurance." Even Charles Kuralt's film crew found this B & B worth a stop. Guests today have no such hardships. They sleep in natural hand-hewn log cabins, which are equipped with microwaves, breakfast-stocked refrigerators, coffeepots and toasters. With these conveniences, guests can enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the time they want. In keeping with the natural forested ambiance, there are no televisions or telephones. The Bear and Wolf cabins are appropriately decorated with photos, drawings and artwork. WinterCabin II is known as the Celebrity cabin with its autographed photos and memorabilia.
        A central bathhouse has all the modern conveniences of home. For those who want a real Alaskan experience, they can visit the clean, odor-free outhouse, which was featured in the book "Outhouses of Alaska" and received the Governor's Choice award in 1987.
        Donna's love of nature's beauty and harmony is evidenced by her desire to keep her land as undisturbed as possible. Wildflowers dot the landscape, and Donna adds more color with her hanging flower baskets. Wildlife frequents her bed-and-breakfast property because of its peace
and tranquility.
        WinterCabin Bed & Breakfast is located 2-1/2 miles west of Tok and a
short distance off the Alaska Highway, providing easy access but a quiet
setting away from traffic.