On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights the Seaview Café’s bar hosts roots, bluegrass and rock bands on an outdoor deck. They draw an eclectic crowd - -from locals to suntanned river rafting guides to tour groups from Denmark.
Tito's Discovery Cafe, too, known for their salmon chowder and homemade pie, is another great place for a meal.
In the morning, walk to the heart of the little village to the Grounds for Hope Espresso shack, where you can get real fruit smoothies, excellent espresso drinks and some nice chatter with the friendly owner, Bianca Durrant, an enthusiastic local who also helpfully supplies a range of reading materials on the nearby picnic table – from the Whole Earth Catalog to Architectural Digest.
Next door is the library book sale, where you can pick up an eclectic selection of used paper and hardback books (a great peek into the psyche of the community) for around $2 each. A well-kept local library (the building used to be the school) is nearby, as is an arts and crafts store selling everything from knit hats to copper jewelry. There’s also another high end gallery.
Downtown Hope is full of historic, lovingly-kept buildings that date back to the early 20th century. One favorite is the Hope Social Hall, which still hosts many social events and weddings. It dates back to 1902.
But it’s Hope’s natural surroundings that most people come to experience.
Beyond the grass flats, huge, forested mountains rise. For a medium-length day hike or mountain bike, head to the Gull Rock Trail, which starts at the end of the Porcupine Campground (under construction in the summer of 2011) and meanders through old growth forest, rock slides the remains of an old sawmill from Hope and Sunrise’s boom times. The trail offers sporadic views of the inlet and mountains. The Resurrection Pass Trail is a major, 38.6 mile journey best done over the course of a few days with stops at Forest Service cabins along the day. But you can also hike or bike a chunk of the trail in a day. Some of the best whitewater rafting in the state can be found nearby as well. Check with one of the local operators, like Nova River Runners.
But with all of the activity, a lot of what Hope has to offer is just tranquility in a community that’s not jam-packed with tour buses – a genuine corner of Alaska covered in wild roses and hugged by mountains and the sea. Longtime visitors say there's an easy, peaceful feeling that comes from being in this little town -- it could even be called hope.