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Glassblowing in Skagway

Glassblowing in Skagway

SITES TO SEE, TOURS, UNITED STATES

The weather can really make or break a vacation, especially when you’re in Alaska.  After spending a few days walking around in rainy, cold weather that followed us along the coast.    We decided to take it easy and not go canoeing at 7:00 am to go see a glacier.

On my list of excursions available on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas.  I researched several different excursions for Skagway and was excited to find “Jewell Gardens“.   It caught my attention instantly.    I thought “Wow this is great. What fun for the whole family to learn to glassblow

 

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Jewell Gardens iAlaska’s only public glassblowing studio where visitors have have an opportunity to blow their own glass art.   

We got on the bus and after a short 10 minute bus ride from the cruise terminal we arrived at Jewell Gardens. The first things we noticed were the beautifully maintained gardens around the property, the fresh food growing and the greenhouse.  They even have a model train running through the flower gardens with glass flowers mixed in with the flower gardens.

 

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We walked over to the glassblowing shop where Jeramy our glassblowing instructor give us a brief demonstration on the process of glassblowing and holding the rod properly so we don’t burn ourselves. 

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We were given many choices of colors and designs. They asked if we wanted to make a paperweight or a Christmas ornament.  Decisions…Decisions…

I decided to make a paperweight and selected the multi-color one called “Party Time”, while some of the others went for the Christmas Ornament.   Each person in the group was asked to put on a blue coat and protective glasses.  One of the ladies from our tour group came around and had each of us fill out a return label.   When I asked why, she said that they allow the ornaments to cool for 24 hours and shipped our creations directly to our homes.   What a great idea!   

 

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They first prepared a table with a selection of pigments.  We each had a turn taking a rod out of the oven, rolling it on the glass pigment on the table and maneuvering it in the oven.  We each them blew into a small hose to enlarge the glass ball.  Once the glass ball was the perfect size we took it to a table and either flattened the edge or put a ring on it to make it into a hanging ornament.

 

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Our glassblowing experience was followed by lunch and tea service at their own restaurant “Poppies” where many of the meals served include organic produce (vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers) picked fresh from their gardens.   We had a choice of wine, soda, or tea to accompany our lunch.  Lunch served was a piece of quiche, small salad, and a soup.  It was a great way to end our day.  

 

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I’m happy to report that we received our ornaments in the mail, exactly a week after we visited Jewell Garden.  I was very pleased to see that each of them was very well packaged and arrived unbroken.

 

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If you have ever wanted to blow glass, this is the place to try it. What could be better than an ornament on your Christmas tree to remind you of your once in a lifetime trip.  There are glass blowing exhibits and a gift shop on the premises, as well.

Dates & Hours of Operation

Walk Up Garden Admission Hours:  May 5th through Sept. 29th – open daily 9 am to 5 pm

Poppies Restaurant Fixed Menu Lunch Service: May 10th through Sept. 24th – 11 am to 3 pm

If you are arriving in Skagway by cruise ship, visit the Cruise Passenger  page for valuable tips on which of our tour programs are offered by the different cruise lines.   The entire tour takes around two 1/2 hours.

 

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

20 Comments

  1. Kelly
    August 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm
    Reply

    You have no idea how much I have always wanted to try glass blowing! I have seen it done several times and find it very hypnotic. Did you find it quite challenging? I also love the glass flower garden. What a neat idea!

    Thanks for the #Weekendwanderlust link up! 🙂

    • Carmen
      August 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Kelly, It was actually a lot easier than what I expected. Our instructor was amazing and he coached us all the way with step by step instructions. My biggest concern was holding the rod wrong and getting burned. It was a fun experience for all.

  2. Cat
    August 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm
    Reply

    Wow, the glass flowers look gorgeous!
    It must be a fun experience to try out glass blowing. Hope I get to experience once day 🙂

    • Carmen
      August 22, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Cat, I loved the idea of incorporating glass flowers inside the gardens. It made the colors pop even more. Some of the glasswork they had on display was available for sale. It wasn’t expensive at all.

  3. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey
    August 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm
    Reply

    Such an art form! Takes so much skill, I had no idea. I’d loved a few of those for my Christmas tree I have to say.

    • Carmen
      August 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Hi SJ, The glassblowing demonstration was amazing! I do a lot of various artwork and can appreciate fully what these guys do to create their artwork. I hope we get the opportunity again someday to take another class somewhere. I can’t wait for the holidays to use our ornaments on the tree 🙂

  4. Mary {The World Is A Book}
    August 23, 2014 at 7:47 am
    Reply

    This looks like fun and what a great way to commemorate your cruise. The pieces are so beautiful and I knew it was such an art but good to know common people can do it too. We were in Skagway a few years ago on a cruise stop too and wish I knew about this.

    • Carmen
      August 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Mary, I researched several different excursions for Skagway and was excited to find this one. I have both of the paperweights in my family room, which reminds me of our trip to Alaska when I look at them. The glassblowing was a real treat.

  5. Upasna
    August 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    Reply

    I’ve visited a Glass Blowing Factory and I found the process mesmerizing. What fun to actually get to try it for yourself 🙂

    • Carmen
      August 24, 2014 at 1:32 am

      Hi Upasna, It’s very mesmerizing when you stare at the glass as it take shape in the heat. I especially enjoyed seeing how the color pigments changed colors. It was one of our best excursions trips.

  6. Lauren
    August 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm
    Reply

    This looks like such a fun activity! I love all kinds of crafty things and would love to give this a shot. Plus, you get such a fun memory of your vacation that gets mailed to you when you arrive back home! How cool!

    • Carmen
      August 24, 2014 at 1:54 am

      Hi Lauren, Our family is big into the arts and crafts as well. It was a fun activity and the kids really enjoyed it. The gardens are beautiful, the shop is amazing, but the best part was making our own glass ornaments.

  7. Heather @ TravelingSaurus
    August 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm
    Reply

    That’s so cool! I think glass blowing is just so fascinating to watch, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try it.

    • Carmen
      August 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Heather, After taking the class it definitely makes me appreciate the art and work that goes into a glass blown piece.

  8. Tim
    August 31, 2014 at 11:58 pm
    Reply

    Good to see this excursion was a worthy rainy day alternative …. the artistry of some people never fails to amaze me!

    • Carmen
      September 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Tim. Most of the excursions are designed for outdoor activities. Since it rains most of the time in Alaska you would think they would have a few more indoor excursions available. I was very pleased when I found this one. It was a great experience for the whole family, plus we stayed dry. 🙂

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