Details on living at "The End of the Road"

By Susan Haynes
May 30, 2007

Setting: Homer sits on the Kenai Peninsula, on Alaska'sSouth Central Coast. From Anchorage, it's a 45-minute commuterflight, or 225 scenic auto miles along the Seward and Sterlinghighways. The Alaska Marine Highway System offers ferry servicebetween Homer and other South Central Coast locations and theAleutian Islands.

Attractions: "Nature's panorama" and "friendly people" topmost locals' lists. The town's nicknames say the rest: "CosmicHamlet 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 Fin summer. Career jobs remain scarce. Shopping is limited. Inwinter, daylight hours are short. Utilities, groceries, gas, andother 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, rangefrom $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-tradeshandyman, documentary filmmakers, an international negotiator forBoeing, 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 TheHomestead Restaurant or wine-tasting at Fat Olives, meandering thetrails at the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center, participating in theApril Shorebird Festival or the Winter King Salmon Tournament,gallery hopping, Telemark skiing on the Harding Ice Field.

(published July 2007)