One of the absolute best things about Two Rivers is Pleasant Valley Store. The Store is the local ‘hang out’ or meeting place, the final school bus stop out the road, the only place to buy coffee, bananas or cake mix. It is also the last stop to buy fuel, get your fishing license or buy ice cream. You can pick up a quart of oil, toilet paper, a gallon of milk, the newspaper or even a bottle of wine. Pleasant Valley Store holds our little community together.

The owners, Becky and Alex, are the very best people who seem to have the ability to hold together an independent, opinionated bunch of Alaskans who live half way out a dead end road to no where. As Cindy – one of the mainstays behind the store counter – told me yesterday “I see everyone come through our door at one time or another. We talk about everything – just not politics, religion or trapping.” It must have been very challenging for her this past week!

Trailside Mail is our local Post Office and it sits alongside the Store. It is a contract post office and the BEST post office in the world. The service window opens at 2PM and closes at 7PM. The hall with our post box (#226) is open all day so you can mush, drive or walk in to check your mail anytime. Sometimes you will be the sole customer in there and sometimes you are one of many having a pleasant conversation about the weather, trails, hunting or dogs.

Inside Trailside Mail – lots of parcels and a smiling face!

It’s amazing to see how busy they are and the number of parcels they deliver to local Two Rivers folks. Do we order more mail order items? Do we get more love letters? Or do we have more bills? Yikes… I don’t want to think about which it is! They are overly good to us at SPK. They sometimes call and let us know that we have parcels to pick up, or to tell me I left my key, my wallet, my parcels or my love letters. Oops… just kidding! They always know when the Kennel is in a popular news story or the Iditarod starts because they get to sort the many letters, trinkets and gifts we receive. I often open surprise gifts or culinary treats while at Trailside Mail so they can share our goodies.

I am always greeted with a smile and a “Hello” when I walk through the door. As soon as anyone walks through the door, they walk by a hanging quilt on the wall which is 20 quilt squares made by individuals from the community. Yes. I have a square in the quilt. Yes it does have to do with dog mushing. Duh!

Going to Trailside Mail is usually the end of the day. Moira usually has a spreadsheet and tries to prioritize all the SPK parcels before to dropping them off. Nevertheless we can leave them with an awful lot of sorting and work.

If there is ever a waiting line you have three options:

  1. go next door and have a cup of coffee and talk about everything except politics, religion and trapping.
  2. stand in line and talk to your neighbor about anything (one of my best conversations was with my young neighbor Noah who had mailed a letter to the Queen of England and actually gotten a response. (Is that politics?)
  3. wait my turn and admire all of the Yukon Quest posters for the last 20 years that adorn the walls of the PO. Cool, huh?

So the first SP Kennel mailing left Trailside Mail yesterday. Many of the ‘Join the Team’ packets left the peaceful tiny town of Two Rivers. Their journey starts with a truck ride to Fairbanks and then onto Anchorage. The out-of-state and out-of-country sorting is done in Anchorage. Most parcels will leave Anchorage via airplane. From that point on… your guess is as good as mine.

If you ever find your way to Two Rivers, Alaska please stop at Pleasant Valley Store – it will be worth your while!

12 Responses

  • Wonderful post, post-Election…

    The votes were still being tallied in Alaska when people in Weston, CT participated in a Tree Warden Public Hearing – to decide the fate of a 200 year old Red Oak (everyone passes by it every day).

    The room was packed and all the speakers said "save the tree" – and wonder of wonders, the Tree Warden relented (he had been asked to take it down by the Police and Board of Education).


  • It sounds like a warm, inviting place. I waited tables at a small town cafe in rural NM when I was in High School (many, many, many years ago) and it was a similar gathering place. Very wise to keep politics and religion out of conversations….and I guess trapping too. How fun to be able to mush to the post office, or the store. I would love to see the quilt and the YQ posters….and the store too. Very cool.

  • It's amazing how important General Stores and Post Offices are to a small community!! The Pleasant Valley Store sounds extra special in that respect! I will be sure to visit this bustling center when I come visit!, Gotta love small town living!!

  • Small town Post Offices are disappearing every day. What a shame!
    They really do things right–caring, laid back, and Great Greeters!
    Will just have to come back to see them some day.

  • Pleasant Valley store is on my to do list.
    It will be nice to meet the folks who handle so much mail for SPK in and out.

  • Pleasant Valley store is a great place to visit. Well worth your time. Great owners also. I grew up with small town stores, part of the fabric of the community.

  • My oh My. Is that you Tig, in disguise, posted on the sides of the Trailside window??

    Woof, Woof..or Boo, Boo?

    It's always a holiday in Two Rivers!!

  • My dad was the postmaster in the small town of Irvine, PA when I was growing up. As he said, Irvine was about 300–including cats, dogs and birds. The post office was the favorite hang out for people of all ages. I sat on the laps of the wise gentleman who would have their coffee their every day, in fact, I'm lucky enough to still have one of the old chairs they sat in. Pleasant Valley Store and the post office there is my kind of place and I hope to visit some day….it's on my bucket list! Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Erie, PA

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