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Introducing Seldovia

If the tourist-thronged towns of the Kenai Peninsula have left you frazzled, catch a boat to Seldovia, on the south side of Kachemak Bay and in a world of its own. Living up to the nickname 'City of Secluded Charm, ' the community has managed to retain much of its old Alaskan character, and can be a restful (and inexpensive) day, or overnight, trip from Homer.

One of the oldest settlements on Cook Inlet, Russians founded the town in the late 18th century and named it after their word seldevoy, meaning 'herring bay.' By the 1890s, Seldovia had become an important shipping and supply center for the region, and the town boomed right into the 1920s, with salmon canning, fur farming and, of course, a (short-lived) herring industry.

After the Sterling Hwy to Homer was completed in the 1950s, Seldovia's importance as a supply center began to dwindle. Today it relies primarily on fishing but is making its best stab at becoming a tourist destination. It's a process that's happening in fits and starts: the hiking and biking possibilities here are excellent and the accommodations are plush, but the culinary offerings are limited and the galleries feel a bit like desperate rummage sales. All in all you'll find a village with quaintness to spare, but little tourist infrastructure, which may be the best thing about the place.