Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Postcard from Homer

Time for a postcard from beautiful Homer, Alaska, otherwise known as the "quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem." It's finally starting to warm up here and we've been inundated with RV's trundling through town. Homer is known as the "End of the Road," because, well, you can probably figure it out. Only one highway heads south from Anchorage -- we call it Highway 1 -- and it runs out of pavement when it gets to Homer. Tourists come for the halibut fishing, the stunning views of glaciers right across Kachemak Bay, and for glimpses of the Time Bandit, which you may know from The Deadliest Catch.

Many of the RV's wind up on the Homer Spit, a long finger of mud that stretches toward the majestic mountains across the bay. Here you can park your traveling home, camp, eat everything from pizza to king crab, and bask in the alpenglow. The Spit is kind of like the Atlantic City Boardwalk, Alaska style. Instead of fried clams, we have fried halibut. The Salty Dawg Saloon tends to be more popular than the ice cream shop, simply because there's often a knife-cold wind blowing in from the ocean. The "Better Sweater" shop is always busy. It's hard to foresee just how cold it's going to be when you're visiting from Nashville or Florida. A cruise ship docks in Homer every two weeks, spilling out passengers who hop onto shuttles when they want to venture into the rest of town. Homer goes out of its way to offer visitors a good experience. Even the extra-clean public bathrooms feature bald eagles scenically perched on the lampposts outside.

But just for you, here's a sight-seeing tip few tourists know: the best eagle viewing in town is at the dump. Best in terms of numbers, but maybe not photo ops. The same bird that looks so majestic soaring through the air can look pretty scraggly when its scoping out the landfill for food scraps. Our visiting cousins seemed to take this phenomenon very personally. Should the symbol of America really be poking around the dump competing with seagulls and crows? I guess a bird's got to do what a bird's got to do. In Alaska, no matter the season, it's all about survival.

Scavenger eagles aside, if you're looking from a respite from the sweltering heat in the rest of the country, you're welcome to bundle up, head into the wind, and bask in our twenty-hour a day, mildly warm sunshine. The days may not get very hot, but at least they last a long time. And make sure you stop by the dump on the way into town!

Have you been to Alaska? If not, is it on your bucket list?

Coming at you from the land of the midnight sun,