Have you ever fantasized about Christmastime lasting all year?
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In North Pole, Alaska, it sort of does. The small city just outside Fairbanks is best known for the Santa Claus House, a local tourist attraction and store with a 42-foot Santa Claus statue outside.
North Pole has embraced its Christmas reputation, giving streets names like Santa Claus Way, electing a white-bearded man named Santa Claus to the city council and answering hundreds of thousands of letters from children each year.
There’s more to North Pole than holidays. And despite the name, it’s not actually located in the Arctic Circle. The city is between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. It’s known for its outdoor recreation – Chena Lake Recreation Area has a beach, bike trails, canoe rentals and fishing, and there are several campgrounds and an RV park in the area.
TV artist Bob Ross, star of “The Joy of Painting” on PBS, lived in North Pole while he served in the U.S. Air Force at Eielson. The scenery is said to have inspired some of his paintings.
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri even featured some local restaurants on a 2009 episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Every December, the city hosts an ice-sculpting contest that draws competitors and crowds from around the world. Here’s what homebuyers on a variety of budgets can get in one of the country's most unique communities:
Bush Hawk Court - $725,900
This 2.7-acre property includes its own airstrip.
The 3,300-square-foot residence includes five bedrooms and four bathrooms, according to the listing with Joel Johnson of Empire Realty.
The house was built in 2012 by a contractor for his own use, according to the listing. It features double-wall construction and is energy-efficient.
There are two separate living spaces. The upstairs features an open floor plan, a deck, a master suite with two closets and two more bedrooms. Downstairs, there is a second living space and kitchen, two more bedrooms and laundry.
The lower-floor rooms are separated by a door, and the listing suggests it could be used as a mother-in-law apartment.
The home has an attached two-car garage that opens to a 2,500-square-foot hangar with room for a plane and more. There’s also an office off the hangar.
Blue Spruce Way - $425,000
This timber-frame dwelling sits on an acre of waterfront property on the Chena River.
The 1,600-square-foot residence includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms, according to the listing with Jason Ballek of Somers Sotheby's International Realty.
Inside, the home has a vaulted ceiling and exposed beams, according to the listing. Large windows let in lots of natural light and offer views of the river. The main living space is open to the kitchen, which features locally handmade Shaker-style cabinets and an island with an oven and a breakfast bar.
The home features radiant floor heating on the main level. The master bath has a Jacuzzi tub.
Outside, the home has a wraparound deck. There’s also a large insulated garage with heated floors and two garage doors, including one oversize door for larger trucks.
Loomis Drive - $389,900
This home has been fully remodeled and upgraded.
The 3,418-square-foot structure has five bedrooms and four bathrooms, according to the listing with Angie Tallant of Somers Sotheby’s International Realty.
It has new floors, new paint and new trim, according to the listing. All the bathrooms have been renovated.
There are two master suites and two kitchens, and the listing suggests it could easily be converted into a pair of duplexes.
The property is centrally located near Richardson Highway, the main road leading to Fairbanks, the fort and the Air Force Base.