If you eat at Duncans, you might get any sort of mug for your coffee. When I saw this one, I just had to tell the story:
A local store in Anchorage won a toilet paper contest where the prize was an elephant! (I am not making this up) They thought it was a good way to start a zoo. When the elephant arrived, they sought backing for a zoo, but the people rejected the idea.
Eventually the Anchorage Zoo was started, and the Elephant did end up there. This elephant was fond of painting and could often be seen in front of her easel with a brush in her trunk. (again, I am not making this up)
Her paintings were sold at the zoo gift shop and are collectable, though I haven't checked ebay. The elephant has since passed on, but this mug is a great reminder of the folklore of Alaska.
By the way, the current elephant at the zoo also paints, and was a student of the first elephant.
Fondest memory: Finding something interesting in Duncan's to tell a story about Alaska to my friend Peggy and Diane.
They didn't believe me, and I had to show them my source material, as well as collaborate my story with other people who also knew this lore of Alaska.
For more information on Annabelle the famous painting elephant, visit this memorial page by Mrs McGee's 6th grade class of 1999-2000:
If you were my guest here in Homer, Alaska. I would first take you down to the harbor and out in the boat for a halibut fishing trip in Kachemak Bay first thing in the morning when the water is like glass and the mountains, glaciers and volcanoes are crisp with the new light of day. They nearly surround you as you fish in the quiet. We could then cross the bay, check out the beach creatures before we hike up to Grenwink Glacier. After the glacier hike we would boat back accross the bay with the sunset painting the mountains pink.
Fondest memory: When we moved 600 miles from Fairbanks to Homer in November of 2000. There were 3 of use plus 2 horses and a kitten. The roads were bad and the trip took 3 days. When we crested the hill to come down to Homer the sun was shining, the roads were clear and dry. We felt like we were HOME at last!
In Homer, I do believe I saw more trailers and trucks with campers than houses and apartments. These trailers and campers could be parked anywhere. Got an extra 20 square feet of dirt? Perfect living space for a camper and family of 4 and a couple of dogs.
There is something refreshing about a place that is laid back enough that they won't try to regulate where campers and trailers can be set up. In my neighborhood, I can't even set out my recyclable bins on a non-trash day without the neighbors complaining.
The simpler, laid-back lifestyle of Homer definitely has its appeal.
What Homer lacks in curb appeal, it certainly makes up for in originality. This is a typical street scene in downtown Homer. Don't expect neat condominium buildings on top of a 24 Hour Fitness. Or a cute little western gold rush town. Or even a main drag that could double as a set for "American Graffitti". Downtown Homer reminds me of the worst of the worst California urban sprawl, sans any kind of planning or any kind of building codes. In a way, it is kind of refreshing. This is what an American town would look like without any government bureaucrats telling you what to do. And if there is anywhere in the US where people aren't going to give a rats ass as to what a bureaucrat would say anyway, it would be Alaska.
Fondest memory: This photo was taken on Pioneer Avenue, which probably would qualify as Homer's main drag outside the Spit. Pictured here is the 2-2 Tango, a hair and nail salon next to Funky Planet, a women's clothing store, next to the Homer movie theatre that looks more like a hardware store. I have to give Homer credit - they were playing the latest releases - Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Cinderella Man.
Favorite thing: The museum has an aquarium, an exhibit on the Exxon Valdees oil spill and a refurbished homestead cabin in the back. Its an interesting place to spend time in Homer if you're not into fishing or kayaking.
Homer is on the Kachemak Bay and offers a spectacular view of the Kenai Mountains.
This picture is from the scenic overlook as you arrive in Homer on the Sterling Highway. It is well worth a stop. There is ample parking and several telescopes.
Homer is highly picturesque, so bring lots of film. You will need it.
Fondest memory: This stopping point is just your introduction to the charm of Homer. Much fun is on the way. So stay tuned.
Peggy (pictured) and Diane came to Alaska to visit me, and it was great fun being tour guide. Some of the places I had even been to before, like Homer.
I was stymied at first, having never seen a sign with less information. I didn't know what it meant. Do you?
Fondest memory: This is the sign that points to an information station. So if you have questions "?" follow the arrow, or if you'd like information about the area, follow the arrow.
I thought this was pretty funny.
We met the ferry, M/V Tustemena, to continue our trip to Kodiak, and who was on board? Gretchen. If you don't know Gretchen, check out my Alaska, Chena Hot Springs, or Anchorage pages to meet my travelling buddy. Gretchen has left Kodiak and moved to Homer. So this was a bitter-sweet meeting. But it is always good to see friends.
Fondest memory: If you visit Homer, and run into Gretchen, say "Hello" for me. And be sure to jump on the ferry and come to Kodiak to visit myself, Herzog63, and Dustylane.
Alaska Marine Highway
P.O. Box 703, Kodiak, AK 99615
Visit Homer. It is in a beautiful setting on the southwestern Kenai Peninsula on the north shore of Kachemak Bay. Homer is known for its art galleries and halibut fishing. It is called the halibut fishing capital of the world and there are dozens of charters that go out from here. Salmon fishing from shore is also popular.
Fondest memory: Seeing this horse and rider galloping up the beach on the Homer Spit.
Favorite thing: Homer is a coastal town which receives a great deal of rainfall. Alaskans seem to adapt to the rain and just go about their activities. Rain may put a damper on the otherwise scenic views from Katchemak Bay and on any plans for a sunny stroll along the Spit, but its pretty much business as usual. Kayak tours and charter fishing trips go on as scheduled, unless inclement weather is combined with rough seas.
Anchor Point is a tiny village with a huge campground and RV park. It's about 10 miles northwest of Homer on Sterling Highway. I put this tip here on Homer page because Anchor Point is hardly considered to be a travel destination itself.
As seen in photo, Anchor Point is north America's most westerly highway point. Most visitors to Homer just drive by Anchor Point without turning head, unless they plan to camp here or take a photo of the sign like I did.
Favorite thing: There are lots of wildlife in Alaska. In Homer I often saw moose in and around town, and I seemed to be the only one stopped and photographed them. The locals must have seen so many of them and were hardly amazed at all.
If you are one of the owners of the establishments listed, yes you will talk up the scenery and fishing and tourist type stuff. The real Homer is a lot different. I have a house, two kids and a wife. Our electric bill has doubled here recently, thanks to H.E.A., $400 a month. Gas is $2.76 a gallon, a gallon of milk is $3.99. Not to mention you will be lucky to find a job here. Most people who have raised kids here have watched them leave, so they could find a job. The city government counts on tourists for their revenue, as does the state of Alaska. You will pay for everything if you come here. I used to be able to go up the road and camp almost anywhere but since we have become a tourist state, we all have to pay just to park, let alone camp. In Oregon where I grew up, I could go fishing and not see anyone. Thanks to tourism, I have to jostle for elbow room here. The last frontier is not here anymore. We are becoming the next California or Oregon. Too many hippies here to ever have any type of real development, that will lead to long term employment or opportunities for our children. The Government would rather tax you, charge you, pick-pocket you than look for real solid tax revenue. The town of Homer ran off Fred Meyer with all there restrictions. Good you say, keep it small. All the while there is no competition here and the price of everything is out of control. Bring in the jobs I say. Increase the tax base and take the pressure of the people who call this place home. I came from a tourist and fishing town, Coos Bay Oregon to be exact. And look at them now. Not much of a life there.
Fondest memory: Homer is headed down the same road as Oregon and Calif.. Actually, Homer is more of a retirement area than anything else. Halibut capital of the world?! As a tourist, without a friend who lives here and has a boat, you will pay about $250.00 for a Halibut. If I, a resident of Homer, went to the local store to buy Halibut, it would cost me $15.00 a pound. King crab would cost me $25.00 a pound. Please, send more Russian crab! I'll buy it! Alaska may be a novelty to everyone outside, but it is my home, and my home is ripping me off.
Thanks for listening.:)
Favorite thing: It was not even close to being my favorite thing to do in Homer, but I did want to check my e-mail and save pictures to my portable hard drive. The Homer Public Library has compiled a nice list places where you can get computer and internet access. It includes the hours and capabilities available. Some places are free.
Favorite thing: The art pieces and sculptures on Halibut Cove are very interesting and beautiful. This place is worth a visit.