Sunday, July 2, 2017

Homer and the Homer Spit

The town of Homer, located on the southern point of the Kenai Peninsula, is a busy town with about any kind of service you would need.  The highlight of the town seems to be the halibut and salmon fishing, both commercial and charter. Tourism is also promoted through the many establishments that provide flight and boating excursions for various state and national parks in this area of Alaska.  To learn more about the history of Homer, click here.
Founded around 1896 upon the prospect of gold mining, which soon turned into coal mining, this community grew slowly.  When the fish canneries opened more people gravitated to the area to homestead. The town developed near the base of the spit and soon moved more towards the surrounding foothills. The winter climate, moderated by the Pacific Ocean, isn't as harsh here as other areas of Alaska, which helped with the growth of the area. Anchor Point is a much smaller community, so we find that Homer offers a little more variety for shopping and restaurants, all we need to enjoy Alaska.
Homer has two full scale grocery stores, museums and interpretive centers, art galleries, a winery, 2 breweries, a fantastic Farmer's Market as well as some excellent restaurants, seafood markets plus that interesting boat harbor down on the Homer Spit, all this makes for a thriving, full scale tourist town. Surround the town with glacier covered mountains, volcanoes within view and the wide expanse of the Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay and it's one of the most interesting places you could visit.  Anchor Point provides us a quiet home-base with nature, wildlife and beaches but Homer and the Homer Spit give us all the man-made amenities plus those spectacular views we enjoy too.  It's about a 15 mile drive from our camp to Homer with beautiful landscape scenery in between.

The Homer Spit reminds me of a second little town located just outside of Homer on a narrow strip of sand and gravel. The spit is almost like a smaller, more narrow peninsula that protrudes off of the larger Kenai Peninsula. Geologists suggest that this landform is a remnant of a glacier moraine also partially formed through the process of erosion with over time longshore ocean currents moving and re-depositing sand and gravel.  Extending four and a half miles into the Kackamack Bay, it is the second longest spit of this type in the world.  Over the years, large reinforcement rock has been added to the Spit to stabilize it from strong storms, ocean currents and the extreme tides. To learn more about the history of the Homer Spit, click here.

The drive down the Spit is beautiful and when you reach the end, there are all types of fishing gear shops, art galleries, a fishing hole, restaurants, the boat harbors with its commercial and charter fishing docks, a lovely hotel and 3 big campgrounds!  The Homer Spit is also a jumping off point for the water taxis to various villages along the Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay, the Alaska Ferry Terminal and cruise ship dock.  The Homer Spit is also the home port of the "F/V Time Bandit". This crabbing boat is famous from TV's Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch.  So far, we haven't seen the vessel in port but we'll keep our eye out for it.
Here are some pictures from our time in Homer and the Homer Spit.  The first group of photos are from some of our visits to the town of Homer.

Awesome views from Bayview Lookout Point

You can see the Homer Spit area in the left center section of the water.

The Homer Saturday Farmers' Market offers everything from farm-fresh greens and veggies to fresh baked goods, artisan crafts to food-truck styled booths of Alaska seafood, Italian wood-fired grilled meals, Thai-themed food booths and homemade Russian baked goods.  Oh my, what to choose??

Fireweed Jams

Artwork of all types, jewelry, hand-crafted soaps, quilts, hand-made crochet clothing, etcs..
Ronnie enjoyed his selection of Russian Potato Shangies
Purple radishes..??
Purple spinach..??
Homer is also know world-wide for it's summer peonies.  With 25 different peonies farms, the Saturday Farmers' Market should be soon filled with flowers! Homer, the City of Peonies

Driving through town, this "Prop Tree of Shame" got my attention.  It's a tree of busted boat propellers.

It reminded me of the "motorcycle tree of shame" in Deals Gap, NC.  That's where the famous "Tail-of-the-Dragon" Road (aka Hwy 129) is located.  Folks will hang in a tree their broken motorcycle parts that they busted while trying to navigate that twisty road.  You can click here to read in our blog about our experience there.

 Here is a sampling of the old log cabins seen around town.
This is old food storage cabin built on stilts protected food stores from bears and other predators.

 Alaska Oceans and Islands Visitor Center
This interesting interpretive center educates people about the ecosystems of the many islands in the Gulf of Alaska.

Since I have so many pictures in this blog post, I'll create another one for our time on the Homer Spit.

More Later..
The Homer Spit

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