ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS
Adventure Sixty North
3128 Herman/Lierer Rd. (Exit Glacier Rd.)
P.O. Box 2487 Seward Alaska 99664
Full service outfitter and outdoor adventure
service. We are Seward’s year round
adventure center. We have everything from
kayak trips, bike rentals, glacier hiking, snow
activities, to fishing, hiking and camping dear
Alaska SeaLife Center
Miles 0 Seward Highway
Explore beneath the surface! Watch puffins
fly through underwater skies. Meet sea lions
and harbor seals eye to eye as they glide past
you. The Alaska SeaLife Center is a unique,
working research and rehabilitation facility
dedicated to understanding and maintaining
the integrity of Alaska’s marine ecosystem.
Open year-round. Family and group discounts
available. Free admission for children age six
Beginning of the Alaska Railroad
Today the train arrives at the small boat
harbor, so come and take a ride through
history on the Alaska Railroad.
The easiest toreach of the many glaciers that
flowfrom the Harding Icefield. The glacier
can be reached by turning west off the
Seward Highway at Mile 3.7.
Fourth of July Mount Marathon Race
Nation’s oldest foot race.
Harding Icefield Trail
At Exit Glacier, a 3.5 mile strenuous, steep
and at times slippery hike delivers you to the
PO Box 672, Seward, AK 99664
Rustic Wilderness lodging on scenic
Resurrection Bay. Where travelers relax
and recreate. An affordable and unique
experience. Kayak rentals available.
Seward Community Library Museum
239 6th Ave; 907-224-4082 direct 1
907-224-3902 museum 907-224-3521 fax
Public library, local history museum, passport
agent, notary services, free wireless and
public access computers. Mon, Fri, Sat
11 a.m.-6 p.m., Tue, Thur, 11 a.m. -8 p.m.
Winter museum hrs. Sat 1-5 p.m. free
Seward Parks & Recreation
PO Box 167, Seward, AK 99664-0167
907-224-4054 / 907-224-4055
SPRD is busy year-round, outside assisting
in our campgrounds and parks during the
summer or inside coordinating events and
programs during the winter. When you visit
us, you’ll know why we’ve adopted the
slogan “Mountains of Recreation.”
Seward Small boat Harbor
1300 4th Ave.
668 moorage births. Sizes range from 20 feet
-100 feet tall. 50 ton, 250 ton and 5000 ton
boatlift and drydock facilities.
Sports Fishing Silver Salmon Derby
Oldest, largest, richest and best Silver Salmon
Derby in the world.
No Sweat Auto Service
1000 3rd St. 907-422-2940
P.O Box 29, Seward, AK 99664
Full service auto shop.
201 4th St. , 4th and Washington
Old Alaskan bar with live music just about
every night. Hobo Jim Summer Sundays;
where character and characters meet from
around the world.
BED & BREAKFASTS
Steller Bed and Breakfast
1192 Old Exit Glacier Rd. 907-224-7294
P.O. Box 972, Seward, AK 99664
Bicycle sales, repairs and rentals. KONA,
Specialized, and KHS bicycles. Best prices in
Alaska on bikes and complete line of accessories.
Open daily in summer, 9:30 a.m-6:30 p.m.
Cover to Cover
215 4th Ave. 907-224-2525
P.O. Box 292, Seward, AK 99664
Selling new and used books, cards, journals
and other interesting items. Large selection
of Alaskan books, including wildlife,
birds, plants and berries. Enjoy the latest
publishings of Alaskan mystery writers.
Perfect gifts to take home or for your own
A Cabin on a Cliff
Reserve at Hotel Seward, 221 5th Av.
P.O. Box 2288, Seward, AK 99664
Overlooks Seward boat harbor. Jacuzzi,
barbecue and spectacular view of the deck.
Reserve this private, romantic get-away.
2 bedrooms, kitchenette with all the
12064 salmon Creek Rd. 907-224-8478
P.O. Box 310, Seward, AK 99664
Discover all the best in the Alaskan experience
from a cozy, private cabin. Family owned and
operated, you are just minutes from the Kenai
Fjords National Park and the Alaska Sea Life
33413 Bear Lake Rd. 907-224-8478
P.O. Box 310 Seward, AK 99664
Remote cabin on Bear Creek. Newly
constructed with loft, queen sized bed,
microwave and television. Outside barbecue
pit and full sized hot tub. Retreat to where
life is quiet and the wilderness is your home.
Cliff Chambers Misty C Cabins
31730 Bronze Ave
PO Box 2, Seward, AK 99664
907-224-4891, Fax 907-224-3891
Modern, cozy cabins, sparkling with the
feelings of a natural life style. Featuring full
private baths, full kitchens, all the linens and
outside BBQ, it’s country life at its best. We
understand that pets are part of the family
and welcome their stay. Reserve your cabin
313 4th Ave, Seward, AK 99664
small boat harbor, Across from the Kenai Fjords Tours
Espresso, real fruit smoothies, fine teas, rich
hot cocoa. Enjoy the best and freshest roast
in Alaska with our Kaladi Brother’s coffee.
Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery
320 3rd Ave. 907-224-7161
Enter the inviting atmosphere of one of
Seward’s historic landmarks. Savor espresso
drinks as you like them. Enjoy local original
art and find the perfect gift. Free advice. Live
Entertainment. Open daily 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Sea Bean
225 4th Ave.
P.O. Box 2573, Seward, AK 99664
Café offering organic, fair trade espresso and
coffee, loose leaf tea, breakfast, lunch and
gluten free. Vegan items. Open year round.
Dr. Michael P. Moriarty, P.C.
400 4th Ave. 907-224-3071
PO Box 710, Seward, AL 99664
Trusted by Seward families for over twenty
years – from the first tooth to the last!
Alaskan Correspondence: email@example.com
Specializing in content writing, blogs, tourism
articles and Internatuonal news. Web site
design, social networking, link building,
promotions and communication services.
Icicle Seafoods, Inc. (Seward fisheries Inc.)
P.O. Box 8, Seward, AK 9964
Processor of commercially caught seafood.
Frozen and canned products sold on
Wholesale level. No tourist services available.
J-Dock Seafood Company
Seward small boat harbor, 1408 E 4th Ave.
1-888-22J-DOCK / 907-224-7272
Your one-stop store for quality fish
processing and seafood products. We
cut, package and ship your catch to your
specifications. We also offer in-season,
locally caught seafood. Open 7 days a week,
6 a.m. until the last fish are in!
FISHING CHARTERS / GUIDE
Alaska’s True North Charters
P.O. Box 663, Seward, AK, 99664
Join Captain Aaron Larson for the true Alaskan
experience. Seward deep sea fishing or
sport fishing for kings and silvers on the Kenai Rover.
Sight seeing and bird watching trips on the Kenai.
Hotel Seward fishing Adventures
221 5th Ave. 907-224-8001
P.O. Box 2288, Seward, AK 99664
Looking for adventure! Wes “the Alaskan fish
slayer’ makes every trip memorable! Choose a
Kenai Drift Boat or Shore Fishing in Seward.
J-Dock Seafood Company
Seward small boat harbor 1408 E. 4th Ave.
1-888-22J-DOCK / 907-224-7272
Your one-stop for sport fishing and tour
charters, in the beautiful Resurrection Bay.
The Fish House
P.O. Box 1209-KP, Seward, AK, 99664
1-800-257-4460 / 907-224-3674
First and finest charter service in Seward!
Record class halibut and silver salmon
charters available. Call now for reservations.
227 4th Ave. 907-224-FATE (3283)
like us at facebook.com/Serendepity,Alaksa
Alaskan gallery of fine art and unique
treasures. “Featuring Alaskan Artist”,
photography, sculptures, wood carvings,
glass works, paintings, jewelry and so much
more. Hrs. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The Grazing Moose Summer
Market and Artists’ Co-op
312 5th Ave. between Jefferson & Adams.
Where happy people come to buy art,
crafts, earth friendly goods, and fresh baked
bread/rolls/sweets (inside). Outside, organic
produce every Thursday. Open Thursday-
Sunday 10am-4pm May thru Sept. and for
the holidays. Holiday market reopen Friday
after Thanksgiving Tues-Sat Noon-6pm.
The Ranting Raven
238 4th Ave. 907-224-2228
P.O. Box 2666, Seward, AK 99664
This is a raven-themed gifts shop/art gallery,
featuring local artists, handmade items you’ll
love and home style bakery, too!
Tree House Gift Shop
Small boat harbor, 1408 4th Ave.
Nature friendly clothing and accessories.
World wide visitors keep us producing an
active inventory of cool souvenirs and high
Frontier Trading Post
233 4th Ave.
P.O. Box 1223, Seward, AK 99664
Seward’s only health food store! Paleo,
gluten-free, vegan, organic and specialty
items. Supplements, essential oils, bulk and
special order. Something for everyone.
Holiday Inn Express
1412 4th Ave. 907-224-2550
Great rooms! Incredible views. Continental
breakfast, swimming pool and hot tub.
Come “stay smart”.
221 5th Ave.
P.O. Box 2288, Seward, AK 99664
907-224-8001 / 1-800-440-2444
Family owned Victorian Boutique hotel in the
heart of downtown! Unique history and
wildfire display, great restaurant, helpful
staff and open year round!
P.O. Box 1134, Seward AK 99664
Conveniently located near small boat
harbor, train depot and Kenai Fjords Tours.
Comfortable rooms and friendly staff.
Le Barn Appetit
11786 Old Glacier Rd. 907-224-8706
Enjoy a stay at our inn, dine at restaurant,
serving delicious homemade quiche, cakes,
pies, chocolate éclairs, all natural blueberry
– raspberry – rhubarb crepes made before
235 3rd Ave. 907-224-8975
PO. Box 2448, Seward, AK 99664
standard kitchen, 2 queen beds up to 4
beds, 2 TVs in the room, free Wi-Fim cable TV,
fully equipped kitchen. Free local calls.
328 3rd Ave. 907-224-3960
P.O. Box 2249, Seward AK 99664
Seward’s local and environmentally friendly
sea kayak company. Guided tours for all
abilities. Open all summer long. May – early
September, 8 am – 7 pm
Kenai Fjords Adventure Center
11302 4th Ave.
P.O. Box 1889, Seward, AL 99664
Your cruise and kayak connection. Day trips
and overnight escapes to a remote island
in Resurrection Bay, specializing in gourmet
Exit Glacier Lodge & Salmon Bake
1.4 mile Exit Glacier Rd.
P.O. Box 3151, Seward, AK 99664
Down home comfort with cable TV, wireless
Internet, coffee maker, small fridge and
available cribs. 5 a.m. fisherman’s breakfast
on request, or enjoy continental breakfast
just for you. Salmon viewing in August.
Picnic area. Parking for boats, trailers and RVs.
Fox Island Day Lodge
1304 4th Ave.
P.O. Box 1889, Seward, Alaska 99644
A stop exclusive to Kenai Fjords day tours
cruise guests, the day lodge serves a buffet
lunch or dinner.
Grande Alaska Lodge
212 Bear Dr. Seward, AK 99664
Exceptional service, luxury and comfort.
Gym and exercise room, executive suite, big
screen satellite TV and more! Daily fishing
adventures beginning 6:30 a.m. Spectacular
view of Mt. Marathon and Resurrection Bay.
Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge
1304 4th Ave. 1-877-777-4053
P.O. Box 1889, Seward, AK 99664
Unplug from the world and experience a
remote island getaway in the expanse of the
Seward Military Resort
2305 Diamond Blvd.
907-224-5559 or gov-770-1858
Open to active and retired military, Dod
civilians and guest. With lodging and
campgrounds, it’s the ultimate year round
recreation destination in Alaska. Deep
sea fishing in summer, snow machine tours
and cross-country skiing in winter. Special
discount tickets to local tours and attractions.
Seward Windsong Lodge
3177 Herman Leirer Rd.
P.O. Box 2301, Seward, AK 99664
Stay in glacial river valley surrounded by towering
mountains. Just minutes from Seward, Close to
activities. Free shuttle provided.
225 4th St. 907-422-7125
P.O. Box 2573, Seward, AK 99664
Boutique, Victorian period apartments in
the heart of Seward’s downtown business
district. Open all year!
500 Port Ave.
P.O. Box 789, Seward, AK 99664
Marine engine sales and service. Volvo,
Caterpillar, Lugger, Northern Lights Detroit.
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon-Sat
Advanced Physical Therapy
11724 Seward Hwy. Ste. G 907-224-7848
Therapist owned Outpatient Physical Therapy
Clinic. Our staff has been in Seward over 20
years. We offer excellence in Orthopedic,
Worker’s compensation and sports therapy, and
healing to assist you on your road to recovery.
44694 Seward Hwy. Ste C, Seward AK 99664
Chiropractic, naturopathy, massage therapy,
nutritional counseling, orthotic. We treat
patients from birth to mature adult with
just the right therapy for you. Insurance
accepted. Business hrs, Mon and Tue, 12
p.m. – 6 p.m. Wed, Thur, Fri, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Seward Journal
215 4th Ave. 907-224-2525
E: (Venta Shofer) firstname.lastname@example.org
Seward’s “must read” newspaper, with
a circulation of over 1,000 newspapers.
Covering Seward and the surrounding area,
we feature community information, stories
The Seward Phoenix, LOG
232 4th Ave. P.O. Box 103 907-224-4888
The Seward Phoenix LOG newspaper –
serving the Eastern Kenai Peninsula with local
news and information since 1966.
319 Third Ave. 907-224-8450
P.O. Box 505, Seward, AK 99644
Full service, professional real estate office,
Residential, commercial and vacant land
sales. Property management. Business
hours: Mon – Fri, 9 a.m. -6 p.m. Weekends
Seward Real Estate Co.
1169 ?Seward Hwy. 907-224-3350
Seward’s full service real estate company,
Residential, commercial, building lots,
acreage, property management. Serving
Moose Pass and Seward since 1979.
804 4th Ave. 907-224-3400
P.O. Box 1289, Seward, AK 99664
Serving Seward for 30 years. Portable toilets,
equipment repairs, dealer for STIHL, HILTI,
SENCO, WACKER, MANLIFTS and GUARDIAN
FALL PROTECTION. Rentals and repair service.
229 4th Ave.
P.O. Box 3172, Seward, AK 99664
Serving Greek and Italian cuisine, charbroiled
steaks, Alaska’s best homemade pizza
and Alaskan seafood with authentic
Mediterranean taste. We cook your fresh
catch of the day. Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Seven days a week.
113 4th Ave. 907-224-5255
Open all year round. Serving Seward’s finest
seafood, steaks, salads and pizza. 11 a.m. –
10 p.m. Open seven days a week
Eureka Pizza Co.
308 north Harbor Street. 907-224-4433
P.O. Box 646, Seward AK 99664
Featuring hand tossed New York style
pizzas, calzones, strombolis, gyros, burgers
and famous chicken wings. Quality service.
Discover the “mother lode” in Alaskan dining.
Open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mon-Sat, 12 p.m. –
9 p.m. Sun. Dine in and take out. Find us on
Exit Glacier Salmon Bake And Cabins
1.4 mile Exit Glacier Rd.
P.O. Box 3151, Seward, AK 99664
“Cheap beer and lousy food” at the salmon bake.
Nightly seafood specials and steaks. Clean cabins.
All in a truly rustic Alaskan setting.
203 Fourth Ave. 907-224-GRU(4782)
Rustic Alaskan gold rush theme. Affordable
dining, down home cooking. Family oriented,
just a block away from the Sea Life Center.
Open 8 a.m. -9 p.m. daily
313 4th Ave. 907-224-7677
20’ long lunch buffet and salad bar. Served
from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. daily. Also serving fine
Chinese and Japanese food. Family oriented.
Enjoy the very special service of Q, who folds
origami and performs magician tricks. Orders
to go and free deliver, 7 days a week, 11
a.m. – 11 p.m.
mile 0.5 Exit Glacier Rd. 907-224-7116
A relaxed Alaskan atmosphere, serving down
home favorites like deep fried halibut or one
of our unique seafood salads. Add a bottle of
Chardonnay or Merlot to your dinner and
gaze across the river to the towering
mountains . The view is breath-taking – the
Stoney Creek RV Park
13760 Leslie Place
P.O. Box 1548, Seward, AK 99664
1-877-437-6366 / 907-224-6465
Seward’s finest new RV park. This is simply
the most beautiful setting for a park in
Seward. Located on 15 acres . Open Memorial
Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Office
8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
SLIP H-43, in Small Boat Harbor
Make your dream come true. Sail on the
sparkling waters of the Resurrection Bay, with
glacial mountains and emerald islands in the
background. Offering full or half day kayaking
and sailing combo-trips as well as Evening
S N S Laundromat Café
335 3rd Ave. 907-224-3111
P.O. Box 796. Seward, AK 99664
Fresh, fun, innovative! We offer full service
and self-service laundry. The café offers
gourmet smoothies, sandwhiches and
Bardy’s Trail Rides
mile 3 Seward Hwy. turn on Nash Rd.
P.O. Box 2262, Seward, AK 99664
Accessible only by horseback, view bald
eagles up close as they nest and visit
Old Seward, destroyed by the Alaskan
earthquake. Bird life and wildflowers meet
the ocean in a beautiful, panoramic view.
Exit Glacier Guides
405 4th Ave. P.O. Box 1812, Seward, AK
W: 907-491-0552 S:907-224-5569
Daily glacier hiking and ice climbing.
Helicopter tours and Exit Glacier shuttle
Kenai Fjords Tours
1304 4th Ave. 907-224-8068 / 1877-777-4051
Alaska’s #1 wildlife and glacier cruise.
Enjoy breath taking scenery of Kenai Fjords
National Park with exclusive Fox Island visit.
Major Marine Tours
Seward small boat harbor
1-800-764-7300 / 907-224-8030
Wildlife and glacier cruises departing
Seward and Whittier. All cruises narrated by
uniformed rangers and feature an all-you-can-
eat Salmon and prime rib meal. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
12820 Old Exit Glacier Road, Box 2906
Seward, AK 99664 907-224-8607
Visit Iditarod champion Mitch Seavy’s racing
kennel for a two-mile dog sled ride. Cuddle
affordable husky puppies and learn about the
Iditarod. Reserve online!
Mount Alice Harbor Fisherman Parking
Mile 2, Nash Rd.
Offers boat and RV storage , and fishermen’s
parking. Boat launch ramp in the works.
300 Adams St. 907-224-5418
P.O. Box 29, Seward, AK 99664
Show place of Seward. Enjoy a movie tonight
at Seward’s historical theater.
I rarely travel the Cook Inlet in autumn. For Alaskans, it’s a time of putting away your fishing gear, your camping equipment, your yard tools and your lawn mower, and dusting off your snow blower. It means preparing the harvest and putting it away in the freezer or into jars. It means repairing roofs, fortifying sheds and changing over the tires on the automobile. Thoughts become more concentrated on the homes that had been neglected all summer in a season of endless daylight, warm temperatures and the urge to go out and enjoy the wilderness landscape.
The Shortest Season
Autumn is such a short season in Alaska. Within one month after the leaves turn yellow, the frost is crackling on the bowed brush and ice skims over the lakes, the ponds and the inevitable mud puddles. The first snow settles. The “termination dust” as the locals call is, is creeping down from the mountain tops, announcing daily the steady infiltration of winter.
Unless your sole desire is to take part in the salmon run, autumn is perhaps one of the most rewarding times to visit Seward. The black-green rain forest marches down from umber and rust coated hill tops and small mountain peaks. Behind them, the tall, craggy range cuts blue and white edges into the sky. The glaciers spill and retreat is recorded in the pockmarked ridges, silt filled basins slowly being overtaken with vegetation, and the chaotic surge of boulders, gravel and sand left behind.
The day is sparkling, although the wind is blustery. Only the more rugged of the sea-faring crowd set out to fish. Even without the salmon, Seward fishing is legendary among the Cook Inlet community. Despite choppy waters and a wind carrying the glacial bite of winter, these determined fishermen would bring back cod, halibut, rockfish and sea bass. Grills will light up and back yard cooks will experiment with their newest recipes. The real chill hasn’t hit yet, and just a few miles from the docks, the landscape is still sparkling gently under the cool but pleasant temperatures of autumn.
When the Pace Slows
Seward in Autumn is a different sort of creature. During the summer, the town is bustling with activity. The streets are over-flowing with tourists, cooking smells tumble out from the restaurants, charter boats roar in and out of the bay.
The campgrounds in and around Seward are so full, they bulge out at the seams. Combat fishermen stand elbow to elbow, watching the passengers disembark from the cruise ships, hoping this did not mean more competitors. The savvy fisherman swings around to lesser known sides of the bay, looking for that elusive salmon hole that didn’t already have ten lines trying to feed from it.
In the autumn, the long rows of public campgrounds set up close to the docks and down the long water front, parallel with the town, are nearly empty. A few motor homes and trailers settle down in small clusters; there for one reason only; they love the beauty and tranquility of autumn in Seward.
High Energy Level
Seward, however, is not a sleepy town at any time of the year. As one of Alaska’s oldest towns, with some of the earliest histories, Seward has always had an industry in fishing, mining, trapping, farming and commerce. Autumn means a time of year when the young people give up their summer jobs in tourism and go back to their studies and after-school activities. It’s a time of year when the fishing crew begin spending more time at home and taking in the local entertainment. Live bands make their circuits of night clubs, taverns and music halls. Lounging around coffee shops and diners, you can hear the locals greet each others, tell jokes and fill each other in on the local gossip.
The docks also remain busy in autumn. The fishing boats continue to rock in their ports alongside the pier, while a cruise ship broods over its return home. Tug boats, cargo boats, sail boats and other assorted craft drift out into the bay our churn their way slowly back into port.
There is an added feel of friendliness. After all, if you’re visiting Seward in the autumn, you must not be a tourist, but a guest. You have a private look into a town that had reaped most of its yearly earnings in a few short months and is now settling down to the hard crunch of winter. They are making the most of their autumn.
The Battle with the Artist
Autumn in Seward is an excellent time to visit Lowell Point. Just a few miles from the hub of Seward, on a gravel road swinging southwest of the Sea Life Center, Lowell Point is sheltered from all but the most insistent of Seward’s perpetual winds. The stilted houses face the azure aisle of small islands bumping their way out to the sea.
We have an encounter with an artiste. We both favor the view from a quaint house stacked sturdily on pillars with an even more quaint fishing boat resting next to it. He indicates with his expensive camera equipment that he needs this exact angle and sunlight to catch the paint peeling back from the boat and the roped life saver beside it. Our very presence is ruining his inspiration.
We drive around a few minutes to watch a family playing with their small children in a meadow, and a group of hikers urging each other up a mountain trail. When we come back to our beach entrance, the artist was still there, but two other vehicles had also arrived. A group of teenaged girls had shrugged past, intent on their own beach combing aspirations, as well as a retired couple, complete with their own cameras. The artist gives up, packs up his equipment, and returns to his car, but not without glaring back now and then at the intruders.
Time grows incredibly lazy. Although we are all awake by nine a.m., we putter unhurriedly through breakfast, exchanging pots, pans and food stuffs between two campers, eventually compiling a feast of bacon, eggs, pancakes and stirred fruits. Three hours later, we are still chatting while listening to the vibration of the wind prying at the windows. It’s time to leave, and our footsteps are dragging.
Traveling in or out of Seward means going through a mountain pass. Although the Chugach is moderate by Alaskan mountain range standards, it still has its challenging moments. As you climb up into the softer, more rounded contours of the foothills, the jagged peaks of the more imposing mountains leap up in front of you. It is a world bathed in color as golden hills shift to brushed orange points above the timberline, and snow covered caps rear solidly in the distance. It is a world of thundering rivers and creeks, deep cut gullies and crystal clear lakes.
The highway is tame in autumn, its broad sides cutting a swath of yawning curves through carefully moderated elevations, but it’s a highway that could become suddenly hostile with the first winter storm or a torrential downpour. When autumn blesses it, the highway is dry, the bumper to bumper traffic that characterizes it in the summer, is gone. All that you’ll find is the occasional local on his way to one community or another, and a few motor homes still squeezing out a few last days of vacation before battening down for the winter.
There is no season quite so short as the golden days of autumn in Alaska. Often times, the fall season is accompanied by long, drizzling rains that turn into snow as the weather becomes colder. But when Alaska blesses its residents with a dry autumn, there are few trips as satisfying as traveling the Tournagain Arm and arriving a few hours later in the town of Seward. The scenery is spectacular, with clear views of the wildlife. The bears have begun their migration to their winter homes, but the moose continue to occupy the surrounding brush, foxes sling among the trees and an occasional porcupine ambles along close to the road.
It is the perfect season for those who crave the solitude of wilderness spaces and the warm companionship of friends warming their feet in front of a fire, drinking hot beverages and recounting their adventures. It is the perfect time to feel the communion of a society that had worked hard and played harder all summer and was now ready to rest and prepare for winter activities. With the busy industry of tourism stripped away, Seward is revealed in its full splendor; a quaint little town with a vigorous people building their lives around the history of their past, the modern influences of their present and their hopes for the future.
By Karla Fetrow
Fishing Season Opens
There is a magic about Homer that’s difficult to resist. There is the call to the fishermen that set out in their boats in early spring, anticipating long days of sparkling summer floating among the coves, islands and into the wide ocean. There’s the close-up view of the volcanoes, Redoubt and Iliamna on the mainland, and Augustine, rearing up in triumph out of the ocean.
Even if you’re not on a boat, the view of Cook Inlet’s crown of volcanoes punctuating the ocean horizon is awe-inspiring. More so to realize you’re in a ring of fire and ice, with the plummeting fjords girdling the pastoral town of Homer.
That’s where the true charm begins. Homer has one of the sunniest coastal climates in Alaska. Located on the southwestern tip of the Cook Inlet, Homer’s summers are made up of long, sparkling hours. The spirit of festivity begins with the first welcoming days of spring. Shops that had slumbered through lazy trade all through the winter in a town with 5,000 year-round inhabitants, begin sprucing up their aisles, cleaning their windows to a sparkling finish, and setting out pots filled bright-colored flowers. Young men and women begin signing up for work on the boats or in the canneries. The first caravans of motor homes, campers and tent campers arrive from Anchorage, the smell of cod, halibut, salmon and shellfish in their nostrils. Within a few weeks, every camp ground, every parking spot will be full and bustling with an International flavor.
Where the Arts Flourish
Homer is much more than a town offering world class fishing. Deep in its embrace beats the heart of an artist. Those hands that aren’t busy tying fisherman knots are earnestly crafting from the gifts graciously handed up by Homer’s long beach front. Driftwood accumulates into yard ornaments, bright colored shells decorate center pieces and jewelry. Exquisite Native Alaskan carvings in ivory delight the eye of both window shoppers and buyers.
There are galleries filled with the paintings of Homer inspired artists. From modern impressionism to classical Alaskan landscapes, the images cling to you, filling your mind as deeply with the spirit of Alaska’s wild adolescence as with the magic of the volcano dotted coastline.
The town of Homer is a delightful mix between the rustic and modern. Gleaming supermarkets, fast food drive-through’s, stately banks mix casually among bed and breakfast’s, wood lodges, small cafes and quiet boutiques. Even on main street, many of the houses and establishments are set far enough apart for rolling lawns to sweep out in front of them, and comfortable hedges, blossoming with flowers to border their edges.
There is a mesmerization of quaintness. Children play in a grassy park. From a wooden inn tumbles the sounds of country music. Pedestrians walk casually, lingering at corners to chat with their neighbors. Ribald laughter sometimes spills from a doorway. Paved road breaks away to gravel roads and sweet farms or tucked away resorts and hostels.
Life on the Homer Spit
Leaving Homer to travel the four and a half mile long spit places you in a different world. The town of Homer is sheltered, the ocean winds muffled, turning the town into a warm, bright, tranquil environment on a sunny day.
The Homer spit begins with tide pools and the upended trunks of trees tossed around by the ocean, then left on the scouring sands. In the narrow elbow, float planes rock gently, tethered to their decks. Lifeless boats rest on their sides, rusted from sea salt. The prairie grass flattens under a constant wind.
The end of the spit is windy. You are basically four miles out to sea with nothing more than a narrow strip of land keeping you above water. At land’s end, there is less than a hundred yards separating you from the green waters of the Port of Homer and the rolling blue water of the ocean.
The spit is the liveliest part of Homer in the summer. Here, the rows of restaurants offer some of the finest marine food cooking in Alaska. Here, the charter boats are busy gathering clients for a day of halibut casting. Here the tourists gather in droves to spend the day looking out at the spectacular view, or visit the local shops.
The shops filled willed with bakery goods, ice cream parlors, hand crafts and art are primarily set up on stilts, with a boardwalk running between them. Bands begin playing in the early evening, their rock and roll sounds floating down to the beach loungers settled down with a picnic among the driftwood logs.
Crowded on the opposite end are the campers utilizing their tiny spaces to pitch tents, grill salmon or plug in their motor homes. The atmosphere invites a party. Cook Inlet residents, out for a few days fishing, find each other and gather around a campfire. Stories are swapped and tips handed out as to where the big schools are hiding. The young cannery workers meet up and unwind for the evening, playing on the beach or gathering together to listen to music. Eagles and seagulls screech overhead, competing for the thrown away scraps of fish or someone’s left-over dinner.
The Salty Dawg
If you don’t have hair on your chest nor ever really relished the thought of letting your hair down, the Salty Dawg Saloon may not be right for you. Homer’s oldest landmark, the rollicking, fun-loving bar could feature fishermen doing a jig or crack shot lady pool shooters. Who even knows the number of dollar bills pinned up on walls right now, each one scribbled with the note of someone who had been there and left their green calling card. Other items, as well, sometimes become attached to the wall’s trophy list, but it’s all in the spirit of Alaskan humor.
You take the humor in stride. If you sit long enough, you begin to feel both the history and culture. The cabin was one of Homer’s first constructions. Built in 1897, it has served as a post office, railroad station, grocery store and coal mining office for its first twenty years. After the 1964 earthquake, the historical building was moved to the spit and a light-house mimicking top was added to cover a water storage tank.
With its sawdust floor and low ceiling, you are transported into the still thriving spirit of the wild, wild north. Certainly not a place for vacationers to bring their children, it reels with the tales of Alaskan adventures, spiced with the appetites of the most daring and remains essentially a local retreat from the slick newness and busy bustle of the tourist oriented community on stilts.
The Beat Goes On
Creating International attention when the musical artist, Jewel, claimed Homer as her stomping grounds, it continues to be a place where music pours from every window and cries whimsically in the wind. There is an energy between the balance of a sleepy hamlet and an industrious spit that wakes to a new evolution of tourists and fishermen each spring. It’s an energy that stays with you long after you’ve packed your bags and wandered off to another destination or left for home. You don’t forget it; the sights, the sounds, the spontaneous laughter, the excitement of the big catch, the awe of the ring of fire, and it carries on inside that part of your mind that is always hearing the tunes of nature’s music.