Your hostess, Debigail Cole, first visited Alaska after attending art college in 1976, during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, when the excitement of a gold rush permeated the small frontier town atmosphere of Anchorage. Beautiful mountains, expansive natural spaces and the ability to walk where few others had roamed intrigued her sense of creativity.
Born into the 4th generation of her family in Brooklyn, Debi's first large travel adventure began at age three, when her parents bought a small Airstream trailer and headed west to southern California. Debi's father, a multi-talented naturopathic healer, chiropractor, entertaining magician and curious world traveler, joined her mother Joan, a grounded human development counselor who doubled as the family travel agent, in encouraging Debi's interest in travel. They explored every part of the west coast, and, later, many continents.
Years of traveling seasonally across the globe nurtured a deeper appreciation of what Alaska offered. An insight-filled visit with merchants in India inspired purchasing an Anchorage home near the Lake Hood float plane base in 1993, where she opened "A Cousin of Mine in Alaska Bed & Breakfast." This first attempt at a guest house proved very rewarding, serving hundreds of happy travelers, until the relocation to the Anchorage Hillside in 2004.
In 1998, luck & timing brought Debi to the untamed wetlands of Bear Valley, a property she acquired to expand her visions of a dream location for future guests. Being a conservationist and avid recycler, Debi took much care to keep most of the natural vegetation intact during the construction process. She designed the home herself, with structural components engineered by extreme climate experts from the North Slope.
After several months of living on-site with no amenities, Aawesome Retreat B&B was finally inhabited by its excited designer on the Summer Solstice of 2003. The Penthouse floor mural was the first surface completed in the house. In the winter of 2003, Aawesome Retreat welcomed its first guest, with an official opening occurring in the spring of 2004.
The name "Aawesome Retreat" was inspired by observations made in the pre-construction phase of the property, where the words "sanctuary," "observatory," and "mountain escape" all came to mind. Additionally, the location of the southern edge of the Anchorage map, enroute to the Kenai Peninsula, conjured up the word "wild".
Interior design decisions at Aawesome included a palette of special white "Tag Mahal" style marble for the bathrooms, walls covered in bold colors, and a lifetime's collection of original art. Special pieces include several Chinese-style water colors painted by Debi's father, selected photographs by Debi, and an immense display of wood sculptures masks, and exotic paintings from Asian travels.
Debi loves animals, so much so that she spent years of vacations volunteering at various exotic animal compounds. Consequently, Aawesome Retreat welcomes pet guests (with reservations); her own dog, Future Sky, is a wonderful assistant hostess.
Guests may also delight Debi's current favorite art projects, the recently completed mosaic murals in the two co-op bathrooms, entitled ''The Undersea Altar'' & ''The Tree of Life." Debi is working with a team to create mosaic benches. You can see many of them at the B&B.