Rose’s Cafe in Healy closes Sept. 26 for the winter, as the owners leave on an extended road trip.

“We are going on an old-fashioned family road trip,” said Leslie Smith, who operates the restaurant with her husband, David Smith. “The reason for this is that I have never driven in or out of Alaska, and David did it last when his family moved up here over 35 years ago. Our ending destination will be Florida where we will be spending time with my family.”

Rose’s Cafe is a popular eating spot in the Healy area, at Mile 249 Parks Highway. It has been open since 2004 when David Smith’s parents owned it. David and Leslie Smith took over ownership seven years ago.

The Covid-19 pandemic made business a little harder than usual the past year or so, Smith said, primarily because of a shortage of cooks.

“That made it hard to stay open seven days a week,” she added. The restaurant closed two days a week over the summer due to the employee shortage.

The family plans to drive down the West Coast, sightseeing. Then, they’ll head across the United States, visiting historical sites that will coincide with daughter Rosemary’s homeschool science and U.S. history courses.

“For David and I, this will be the start of a three-year process of finding our winter spot as we will become snowbirds,” Leslie Smith said.

Oldest son Davie, a recent high school graduate, intends to eventually take over operation of Rose’s Cafe.

“He has been working as a cook there for the past few years and is excellent at running the kitchen and cooking,” Smith said. “David and I will continue on every summer to help Davie with the full transition as the years go by.”

She thanked all the customers, locals and visitors, who frequented the restaurant this year.

“We see a bright new future ahead of us when we reopen for next year,” she said.

Candidate deadline

Wednesday is the deadline for candidates to submit application packets for seats on the Denali Borough Assembly and the Denali Borough School Board. The election is Nov. 2.

As of Tuesday afternoon, incumbent James Tench filed to retain seat C on the school board. Challenger Robert Graham filed to challenge incumbent Ryan Jusczak for Seat D. School board Seat H, in the Clear/Anderson area, is also available this election. Nikki DeMers currently occupies that seat.

Seats open on the Denali Borough Assembly include Seat B in the McKinley Village area (currently occupied by Jake Hill); Seat F in the Healy area (currently occupied by Krista Zappone) and Seat G in the Ferry/Panguingue area (currently occupied by Jared Zimmerman). No paperwork had been filed for any of those seats as of Tuesday afternoon.

Free swap

McKinley Village is planning its annual Free Swap from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19, at the McKinley Community Center, just off Mile 230 Parks Highway. The event will be held outside, regardless of weather, so dress accordingly. Snow is in the forecast over the weekend.

If you bring large appliances, TVs or furniture, please pick up those items after the swap if they don’t find a new home. Volunteers are encouraged to help transport leftover items to Fairbanks.

This event is a great way to do some cleaning and some upcycling at the same time. Bring anything you no longer use — clothes, books, music, jigsaw puzzles, sports equipment, outdoor gear, linens, furniture, toys, games, kitchen gadgets, half-finished craft projects.

Find a new home for your slightly used items and maybe take home some new-to-you items.

For more information call Sarah Walker at 907 683-6883.

Items are free, but donations to the McKinley Park Community Center are always welcome.