Homer is quirky, creative, the end of the road -- a naturally magnificent spot full of artists, fishermen and true believers. It all started a century ago when con-man Homer Pennock lured investors to the tip of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula with bogus claims of gold. People flocked to Homer, Alaska, and continue coming. But the treasures they seek are the magnificent scenery of Kachemak Bay, the exceptional halibut fishing and the strange, intense energy of the area. Be warned: The town of Homer is not enchanting. Development has been haphazard and tourist-driven. The beautiful Homer Spit -- a slim peninsula of land protruding into Cook Inlet almost five miles -- is RV-choked in summers and tourist-ugly. Many accommodations do not match the town's magical setting. But in this sandy mass, a few gold nuggets are yours for the choosing.
Quiet Place Lodge
The Quiet Place Lodge is only six miles from downtown Homer, but it is the looking-glass image, a reminder of what Homer could have been. The lodge buildings and its three cabins perch on the edge of Halibut Cove, part of a colony of fishermen and artists where cars are not allowed. The guest cabins are luminous and comfortable. Community dinners feature local fish and produce from the hosts' garden. Use of a hand-built row boat or sea kayak is included in the rate of the required three-day package, as well as guided halibut fishing. It's expensive, but it just might change your life.
Land's End Resort
Perhaps the best-placed hotel in all of Alaska, Land's End Resort occupies the beach front on the very end of the Homer Strip, its various weathered buildings scattered about the quiet beach. Nice, well-kept rooms run the gamut from small and ship-shape with Murphy beds to luxury suites. The resort restaurant, the Chart Room, offers a wonderful view, great ambiance and decent food. If you tear yourself away from the view, enjoy the indoor lap pool, exercise room, spa or sauna.
Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge
A water taxi whisks you from downtown Homer to the Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge in minutes, and prepare to be amazed. This is an upscale hotel constructed on pilings on a grassy isthmus by the Tutka Bay fjord. The six private cabins (some hold seven comfortably) are connected to each other and the kitchen by long boardwalks and share an enormous deck. Take a guided tide-pool walk, watch birds, pick berries or fish from the dock. Lodge amenities include complimentary massage, afternoon wine tastings, cooking classes and deep-sea fishing.
Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge
Little wonder Homer's Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge has won more awards than any other lodge in Alaska, with 10 naturalist guides for 12 guests, a unique site on China Poot Bay and five-course gourmet dinners.The six guest cottages have all the rustic appeal of Alaska log cabins with subtle upgrades including elegant rugs, classic furniture and Ethernet connections. Guests take yoga classes or use the sauna and hot tubs. In the evenings, the lodge serves hors d'oeuvres accompanied by fine wines and local beers on the dock.
- Alaskan Scenery, Kenai Peninsula image by Brian Scantlebury from Fotolia.com