Three generations, one epic view

By Matt Villano

The Eberhardt family and the Aurora Borealis share a common reality: They’ve all been hanging out north of Fairbanks, Alaska, for a long, long time.

Sure, the Northern Lights likely have been twisting and crackling in the night sky for millions of years. But the Eberhardts have been there a while, too — Walter Eberhardt first homesteaded the family’s 280-acre ranch in 1947.

Today, Walter’s grandson Kory runs the family show, which features two Aurora-oriented experiences.

The first experience: A Taste of Alaska Lodge, a 12-room, bed-and-breakfast-style inn that occupies the house that Kory Eberhardt’s parents built in 1994 (as well as other structures). The second experience: Aurora Pointe, a luxurious (and warm!) dedicated event-hosting space where guests can party or hole up as they’re waiting for a chance to glimpse the lights up above.

For Kory, this history is what makes the businesses so great — and what keeps guests coming back year after year.

“Guests want to know about the people who homesteaded here after World War II,” Kory said. “Our family history, the fact that my dad built the lodge, the fact that my mom knitted all the blankets and the fact that I built Aurora Pointe make us central figures in how this whole place works.”

Kory is used to being a central figure on the ranch; he’s worked there since he was 7 or 8 years old. When his parents retired in 2010, Kory stepped in and bought A Taste of Alaska Lodge from his folks. In 2018, Kory added Aurora Pointe, the only event space in the expansive Alaska Interior.

At the time he opened Aurora Pointe, Kory envisioned it as a modest side gig; another way to earn some coin. Fast-forward to autumn 2022, by which point Kory had engineered 15 weddings for the year—a new record.

Kory’s father and mother still work the ranch— Dad as a handyman and Mom as the welcome wagon.

In addition, the Eberhardt family ranch is thought to be one of the best places in the world to see the Aurora. (Coincidentally, on clear days the ranch also offers a million-dollar view of the Alaska Range and Denali instead.)

Looking forward, Kory Eberhardt said he wants to add another six to eight units on the ranch and treat them like standalone AirBnB vacation rentals. He noted this expansion should be complete by 2024.

Audio Sound Duration: 
00:00
Issue: 
January/February 2023

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