Seldovia, Alaska: A town across the bay

The first thing that struck me about Seldovia as we disembarked from the ferry is a little bit strange.  I could have noticed the charming fishing village, or the beauty of the boats in the harbor, but no.  The first thought I had about Seldovia was “wow, there are a lot of cars here.”  You see, there are no roads that lead to Seldovia.  You have to take a ferry to get there, which you may remember me telling you about in a post a few weeks ago (if you don’t it’s ok, I just needed to say that so I could put a link in).  But the fact that there were so many cars and trucks in a town that you can’t drive outside of just struck me as odd.  Odd enough that I asked the captain of the ferry about it on our way back.

“Yeah, everyone has a lot of cars here, I have three myself.” And that was apparently self explanatory enough to be the end of the conversation.

But now to move on to the things that I could have noticed first.  Seldovia is a darling, charming little town with colorful ramshackle buildings lining the road (most with For Sale signs draped all across them) and fishing nets, crab pots and wildflowers filling up all the space in between.  We arrived in Seldovia just in time for lunch, and after comparing the map we had with the restaurants that still appeared to be physically in business, we decided on the Tidepool Cafe (our only choice).

But it was a good choice.

The food was great, and the best part about the restaurant was that they had gluten free hamburger buns, which are unusual to find in any restaurant, much less a remote Alaskan one.

We let lunch drag out as long as possible-the weather that day was unpleasant to say the least, and we knew that once we relinquished our table we would be left to wandering around in the elements.  As we ate, we saw the tour boat pull up, CRAMMED with people.  We didn’t realize how fortunate our lunch timing had been until we were leaving the restaurant and saw that the line was now more than out the door.

We wandered around the beach side of town for a while, and didn’t find much except for a black lab to play fetch with, a boat graveyard, and some berries.  But, as we looped back over to the slough side of town, we discovered the real Seldovia gem-the Historic Boardwalk.   I won’t tell you much about it, you can just look at the pictures.


Our last stop before returning to the ferry was the Book Warehouse, a junk-laden hippie mecca hidden amongst the thick flora of the river bank.  The neon “open” sign that was displayed on the road entrance had a burlap shade that could be pulled over it.  “For when you don’t want people to know you’re here at all.”  My dad suggested.

We were wet and cold, and were lured in by the fire pit outside the store and the promises of coffee within.  Walking into this shop, we realized we were interrupting an intimate gathering of friends.  There were about 5 older looking people sitting in a circle, one with a large dog on his lap.  They were laughing about something and as we came in, didn’t move or acknowledge us.  This was a little bit awkward because there was no path through the people so we were forced to stand in the doorway until we asked if we could buy something to drink. Then the owner of the fine establishment emerged out of the group and said that he was just about to play a song and would make us some drinks when he was done.

He strapped on his guitar and meandered through a leisurely version of “Mama Tried” by Johnny Cash, occasionally accompanied by the flat harmonies of one of the women seated on the floor.  Despite the unwelcoming undertones, it was a pretty enjoyably unique experience.  The atmosphere became ever so slightly more unwelcoming after we had our coffee in hand and my dad corrected the grammar on one of the signs in the shop.

Knowing it was time to go, and that we had (I’m pretty sure) seen all that Seldovia had to offer, we headed back to the ferry.  We had a great day there, and if you are in Homer, Seldovia should definitely be added to your list.  It embodies the kind of quirky, small town, back woods charm that defines Alaska.

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  1. Go to Seldovia- just pass on the bookstore? BTW cars on an island isn’t an odd thing. It’s the ones without cars that stand out for me. Do they have a car ferry that goes there? If not, getting cars over is probably a major thing. Does the water ice over in winter so they can drive on it?

    • says:

      Well, the bookstore was actually pretty cute and cool to look through, it was also one of the only places to be inside on a cold rainy day… I guess just maybe be ready for a little bit of strangeness when you visit! They do have a car ferry that comes once a week, but I don’t think the ice ever packs enough for them to drive on… I don’t know why it just struck me as strange that people have three cars when the only place to drive to is the post office!

  2. I love your pictures! What a charming little town! :)

  3. What a great little town! So quaint and makes me want to go there now and check it out! Love your new look btw!!!! It’s great!!!


    • says:

      It was super cute, my dad said it looked like a rundown junky version of the coast of Maine LOL!!! Thanks for the feedback about the new layout, I REALLY appreciate any comments that people have about it because sometimes I don’t know what works or doesn’t!

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