Tutka Bay Lodge, Alaska
By Anne Z. Cooke
It's hard to put a label on Tutka Bay Lodge, in the southwestern corner of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.
But it's easy to see why the lodge has earned so many accolades.
A short but scenic boat ride from Homer, the lodge's expansive acreage, bayside views, terraced decks and award-winning cuisine would put any five-star resort to shame.
Some might call it a bed-and-breakfast.
Travelers checking in at the homey log lodge or unpacking their bags in one of six rustic bungalows describe it that way. But it's the rugged setting -- the wildlife guides in the Alaskana Library, the whales in the bay and the pamphlets advertising bear watching nearby -- that speak the loudest.
Tutka Bay Lodge, at the foot of the glacier-capped Kenai Mountains, is surrounded by wilderness. Kachemak Bay State Park, on its border, is a vibrant ecosystem, its finger-like fiords harboring a thriving population of birds, whales, sea lions, porpoises, seals and sea otters.
The combination offers no better and certainly no more stellar introduction to Alaska.
At the lodge, six inviting bungalows sleep from three to seven people each, ideal for a family vacation. For active guests, there's guided fly-fishing, sea kayaking, birding tours and hikes to the Harding Ice Field. Casual activities range from berry picking and nature walks to clamming and beachcombing.
For best mates, girlfriends and anniversary couples Tutka Bay Lodge does smash-up weekend getaways.
Padded deck chairs, chef-prepared meals, a hot tub soak or a massage and a turn in the wood-fired sauna contribute to an unhurried experience.
The bungalows, paneled in pine, are decorated with puffy quilts, Alaskan art, a hair dryer, coffeemaker and mini-fridge. Each has a private bath with shower. And, rare for a place like this, satellite television and high-speed Internet access.
Some tours are optional, available through outside outfitters. As such, they are charged separately.
Photographers like the flight-seeing tours. But bear watching and saltwater fishing trips are the most popular.
The first, also a flight trip, crosses Cook Inlet to land at neighboring Redoubt Bay Lodge, where the bears gather to gorge themselves on spawning salmon.
The fishing, for salmon and halibut, includes the motor launch, fishing gear, lunch and snacks. You can have your catch flash-frozen and mailed to you, or stored until you pick it up. Or leave it in a frozen locker at the airport and check it in with your luggage on your flight home.
For many years, John and Nelda Osgood owned and ran Tutka Bay Lodge. Recently retired, they sold it to Kirsten and Carl Dixon, lodge owners with 20 years in the business. If you're a frequent visitor, be assured. They love it for itself, and say they plan very few changes.
Rates per person are $3,365 for a four-day/four-night stay. A one-night stay is $1,370. Included are round-trip airfare from Anchorage to Homer, ground and water taxi from the Homer airport to the lodge, lodging, meals, most beverages, lodge-based recreation, guide service and sports equipment. Children under 12 pay 2/3 the adult rate.
The lodge is on Tutka Bay, on the Kenai Peninsula, 125 air miles from Anchorage.
Go to www.withinthewild.com, or call (907)274-2710.
(c) 2009 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
Exploring the Pacific Northwest
World's Fare By Cindy Ross
Tucked away in the far northwestern reaches of the Continental United States is the Pacific Northwest.
The Pacific Northwest forms a land of endless diversity and unparalleled beauty, from looming volcanoes to wave-battered coastline, from rainforests to glacial peaks.
And on the edge of it all, an expanse of glimmering skyscrapers in the city of Seattle.
Norway's Ultimate Natural Thrill
Rick Steves' Europe
Frankly, if you go to Oslo and don't get out to the fjords, you should have your passport revoked.
Norway's greatest claim to scenic fame is its deep and lush saltwater inlets.
Sognefjord, Norway's longest (120 miles) and deepest (more than a mile), is tops. Sognefjord offers Norway's best combination of scenic wonder and accessibility.
Ventures in Western Norway
Bo Zaunders World's Fare
Our Norwegian venture began when we took the train from Oslo to Bergen. Choosing rail proved auspicious.
I've always liked trains. They are (in Europe anyway) comfortable and relaxing, even luxurious. And you can enjoy the scenery with not the slightest concern about oncoming traffic.
Speaking of scenery, we had heard that the views would be spectacular during this six and a half hour journey across Norway's mountainous midriff.
Suffice it to say, they were.
One of the many waterfalls -- with or without rainbows -- that we encountered as we wound our way to Stavanger.
Cycling Maine's Acadia National Park
World's Fare Cindy Ross
Acadia National Park is America's first national park east of the Mississippi.
The park provides an amazing cornucopia of recreation with more than 100 miles of hiking trails, many of which were laid out by Native Americans, and 57 miles of the most unique system of stone carriage roads on the planet. John D. Rockefeller Jr. had the foresight and wisdom way back in 1913 when the automobile was first invented to see it as a menacing threat.
- Siena's Palio Sets Stage for Touring Tuscany
- Safari in Botswana
- Athens: A New Look for an Old City
- Peloponnese, Greece Where Ancient Olympics Meet Wild West
- From Switzerland to German coast of Baltic Sea
- 10 Best Bargains in Salzburg - Karen Brown
- Italy's Cinque Terre & Vernazza - Rick Steves
- Norway's Ultimate Natural Thrill - Rick Steves
- Travel Ventures in Western Norway - Bo Zaunders
- The Dingle Peninsula Escape to Pure Ireland - Rick Steves
- Five-Star Ireland: Luxury, Golf & Spas Await - Margaret M. Johnson
- London's May Fair Hotel Rocks
- Plan Ahead for a Memorable Roman Holiday
- Tutka Bay Lodge Luxury Alaskan Style - Anne Z. Cooke
- Exploring the Pacific Northwest
- Cycling Maine's Acadia National Park - Cindy Ross
- San Francisco Weekend - Diana Korte
- An Unforgettable Mediterranean Wedding
- Mediterranean Enchantment Cruise - Margaret M. Johnson
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