Lifestyle

A Trip To The Peninsula

January 25, 2014

 

Last week I traveled down to the Kenai Peninsula again for work – one great thing about my job is I get to explore some of the bigger parts of Alaska to see customers, and a trip to the Penninsula is always nice.

 

It’s south of Anchorage, and to get to my first city, Kenai, it would normally be a 3.5 hour drive… at least! Luckily it’s only a 20 minute flight, so I usually opt for this option. I love the flight down because my airline, Grant Aviation, is basically like an air taxi service. You show up 10 minutes before the plane leaves, you don’t have to go through security, and its reasonably affordable.

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My sweet boarding pass!

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Our little 9-seater plane!

The days that I picked to go to the Kenai were awful, in terms of weather. Once I got to Kenai I got in my little rental car, and was driving around to see customers but it was snowing so much I kept getting stuck in parking lots.

Rental Car #1: Ford Fiestas can't handle snowy parking lots

Rental Car #1: Ford Fiestas can’t handle snowy parking lots

I finally called the rental company and they told me to come in and exchange for something better. I got upgraded to the new Ford Taurus (which is super nice! Waaayyy nicer than the gold Ford Taurus my dad stuck me with in college that was so awful people locked their cars as I rolled up to the golf club I worked at).

It was the perfect car to get upgraded to, because I had a long drive ahead of me down to Homer.

IMG_4931The drive to Homer ended up taking closer to 4 hours because road visibility was so bad, and its basically a two lane road so there was no way to pass the guy who cut me off in Clam Gulch and drove 20 mph to Homer (about 50 miles).

Once I finally reached Homer, it was late and dark, so I did a 30 minute run on a treadmill (yawn. also, treadmill running sucks), and grabbed a small dinner from the hotel’s restaurant.

The hotel I stayed at was beautiful: The Lands End Resort.

IMG_4933It’s at the very end of the Homer Spit (a 4.5 mile long piece of land that juts into the Bay), so you can literally drive from Anchorage south on AK-1 to the Lands End Resort without making a single turn.

The resort is nautical themed, with the rooms reminding me of the rooms on boats (like an outdated cruise ship, kind of). The work out center had a lap pool, which is awesome, and the view of the sunrise from the property was outstanding.

IMG_4934 IMG_4936Yes, I know. Not one, but TWO sunrise photos. I have to make up for the ones I can’t take in the summer (ya know, due to the sun not really setting?)

Also located on the Homer Spit is the Salty Dawg Saloon! This is a place so cool, it gets tens of thousands of visitors every year. It was even named one of the best dive bars in america!

IMG_4935I didn’t get a chance to go (I got in too late to feel comfortable going to a bar by myself so late), but its on our list to go back. We’re told to bring a thick sharpie and some dollar bills!

Homer is a really cute, little town. It’s one of those towns I always imagined Matt and I living in: small (pop. ~5,200), artsy (lots of art boutiques), dog friendly (literally saw everyone and their brother walking dogs and it made me miss Sasha & Moose so much), and people friendly. Everyone I talked to was so nice, and kept saying “you have to come back in the summer!” This is a small town that actually loves its tourists (something I find really rare for most locals in other places I’ve been). I also loved that the only chain anything I saw was the Safeway Grocery.

Fun Fact: The bakery is in a B&B!

Fun Fact: The bakery is in a B&B!

I had breakfast at the Two Sisters Bakery (enthusiastically recommended to me by some guy in the parking lot of the Salty Dawg when I was there taking a picture) and had an amazing iced tea and cinnamon roll the size of my head. The waitress even spent time asking me about South Carolina, how I’m liking Alaska, and her favorite things to do in Homer. It was so nice.

After a full day of work, it was time for the drive back to Kenai to return my car and catch a plane back to Anchorage. Things went a little downhill here: My rental windshield got destroyed by a rock (sad), and my flight was delayed 2.5 hours because of fog (super sad).

Luckily, the Kenai airport has a good bar, a great bartender (yay Katie, you were the best!), and other friendly passengers whose flights were being delayed too. We all had few rounds of local beer (I had the Kenai River Brewing Co Pale Ale – it was delicious!), and one guy ordered a ginormous pizza for the whole bar since there was no food available in the airport.

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For those of you who know me, I obviously picked off a majority of the toppings and kept putting them on the guy beside me's pizza. It was a really friendly gang hanging out.

For those of you who know me, I obviously picked off a majority of the toppings and kept putting them on the guy beside me’s pizza. It was a really friendly gang hanging out.

So obviously the Kenai Peninsula is at the top of my list of places to return to. Here’s a bucket list of activities to do if you ever get to come to Alaska’s Playground:

  1. Make the drive from Anchorage. In the summer it’s ideal because you will get to see so many beautiful things and make cool stops along the way.
  2. Go to Whittier. Basically, just go through the giant tunnel (It costs $12 but its cool).
  3. Stop in Seward. There is a brewery (open seasonally only though), great hiking, and a ton of murals. This guy has a great post about things to do in Seward.
  4. Go fishing in Kenai. Catch yourself some King Salmon to eat for months.
  5. Hit up the brewery in Soldotna… it’s right along the Kenai River!
  6. Take the scenic drive down to Homer and really spend time there. This lady shares some adventurous things to do in Homer, but there are some things you can do for cheap around town.
  7. Visit the Salty Dawg Saloon on the Homer Spit. Bring a sharpie. Bring dollar bills. Prepare for an adventure.
  8. Roam around the town and explore the art shops in Homer. There are tons of paintings, sculptures, and pottery you can get – all made in Alaska.
  9. Eat in Homer. This lady shares some awesome food destinations.

This summer I plan on taking several trips down to Homer. With my friend Megan flying in from Georgia for a full week, I’m creating a bucket list of things she has to do for her first time in Alaska (yay!!!!) and taking her down to the peninsula is one of them.

Is there anything I missed to do in the Kenai? 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply lifeallover January 25, 2014 at 14:45

    Hi! I love your post! This is Payje from Life All Over, thanks SO much for linking to my Homer post, it was really awesome to revisit my memories reading your post, we REALLY miss AK now that we’re back in Colorado. Tiny itty bitty thing though, I’m a girl not a guy! Sorry just had to throw it out there! Thanks again for sharing though and I’ll be following now!

    • Reply Emily Stewart January 25, 2014 at 14:58

      Payje I am so sorry! I knew you were a lady too, because of your cool halibut fishing picture! I just went a little New Jersey with ‘this guy’ for everyone! It’s been corrected, and I’m sad you miss AK! I miss it when I’m only gone for a few days!

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