Inside Homer

Details on living at "The End of the Road"

Setting: Homer sits on the Kenai Peninsula, on Alaska's South Central Coast. From Anchorage, it's a 45-minute commuter flight, or 225 scenic auto miles along the Seward and Sterling highways. The Alaska Marine Highway System offers ferry service between Homer and other South Central Coast locations and the Aleutian Islands.

Attractions: "Nature's panorama" and "friendly people" top most locals' lists. The town's nicknames say the rest: "Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea," "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World," and "The End of the Road."

Drawbacks: It's cold: from 0º F in winter to 62º F in summer. Career jobs remain scarce. Shopping is limited. In winter, daylight hours are short. Utilities, groceries, gas, and other costs of living can be steep.

Housing: The 2006 median price for a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house was $250,000; semicustom homes cost $300,000 to $500,000. Premium view lots, ½ to 3 acres, range from $100,000 to $300,000. In-town homes (no view) run $175,000 to $250,000. New condos go for $400,000 to $700,000.

Your next-door neighbors: Fishermen, a jack-of-all-trades handyman, documentary filmmakers, an international negotiator for Boeing, painters, sculptors, a wilderness outfitter, weavers, jewelry designers, a park ranger.

How you'd spend your free time: Day-tripping on the Danny J to Halibut Cove, tasting Kachemak Bay oysters at The Homestead Restaurant or wine-tasting at Fat Olives, meandering the trails at the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center, participating in the April Shorebird Festival or the Winter King Salmon Tournament, gallery hopping, Telemark skiing on the Harding Ice Field.

(published July 2007)

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