Celebrating 12 Incredible Businesses On The Kenai – International Women’s Day

With March 8th, 2017 being International Women’s Day, we thought we’d take a moment to honor some of The Kenai’s most beloved local businesses. Each and every one of these thriving businesses offers a truly unique and special product to the many communities throughout the Kenai Peninsula. Whether you’re looking for a delicious restaurant, a spectacular lodging experience or a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation planned by experts – you’ll find it in the wonderful list below. Enjoy all that there is to offer on the only place in the Last Frontier known as Alaska’s Playground.

1 – Pizza Boys, Soldotna

Credit: Facebook – Pizza Boys

Located in the heart of Soldotna, Pizza Boys is a local favorite that also attracts visitors from all around the world each busy summer season. Their locally, hand-tossed pizzas will make your mouth water and you won’t be able to resist all the yummy sides. Menu favorites include baked pasta dishes, oven-roasted sandwiches, hoagies, gelato and plenty of beer and wine to go around.

Address: 44686 Sterling Highway, Soldotna, AK 99669.

2 – Grouchy Old Woman B&B, Nikiski

Credit: Facebook – Grouchy Old Woman B&B

Located in North Kenai on the shores of Daniel’s Lake is this charming and utterly idyllic B&B escape. Watch as the moose meander about while your rest peacefully in your own private oasis. You won’t ever forget the warm-hearted hospitality that you’ll receive in this wonderful place.

Address: 48570 North Earl Drive, Kenai, AK 99611.

3 – The Driftwood Inn, Homer

Credit: TripAdvisor

Located in the heart of Old Town Homer is the historic Driftwood Inn. This beachy gem is filled with charm and will make you feel right at home. You’ll soon see why this sweet spot has become a favorite for adventurous families and serious fishermen and women.

Address: 135 West Bunnell Avenue, Homer, AK 99603.

4 – AJ’s Oldtown Steakhouse, Homer

Credit: TripAdvisor

Quite simply put, this little steakhouse is seriously awesome. Nice, big portions and food that is always mouth-watering. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, but the live music nights really take the experience up a notch. Sip cocktails or shoot pool in a wood–paneled interior that is perfectly Alaskan.

Address: 120 West Bunnell Avenue, Homer, AK 99603.

5 – Angels Rest on Resurrection Bay, Seward

Credit: Facebook – Angels Rest on Resurrection Bay, LLC

Nestled on the shoes of Resurrection Bay is this magnificent waterfront lodging retreat that many refer to as ‘heaven on earth.’ Enjoy exceptionally clean cabins with a million dollar view that is guaranteed to take your breath away. As you gaze out at the picturesque landscape that awaits you, you’ll experience something that looks like a masterpiece paining. Lynda Ann Martin Paquette is the owner of Angels Rest on Resurrection Bay, and she says that her favorite part about operating a business on the Kenai Peninsula is that she “can live independently in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.” This award-winning property is truly a slice of heaven on earth.

Address: 13730 Beach Drive, Seward, AK 99664.

6 – A Cabin by the Pond, Soldotna

Credit: A Cabin by the Pond – Facebook

A Cabin by the Pond is a majestic little cabin getaway located just steps away from the world-renowned Kenai River. The artesian pond on property attracts moose, birds and a variety of wildlife that truly make the area feel like a wilderness escape. With seven different idyllic cabins to choose from, guests that stay here fall in love with cozy cabins and the warm Alaskan hospitality. Plus, it’s located just a mile away from downtown Soldotna. Cathy Sue Sargenser owns the business with her husband Jim, and she says that her favorite part of owning a leisure business is “That’s easy.  The people!  We’re honored to have the opportunity to interact and get to know people from many different nations and cultures.” She continues on by saying that they’ve entertained guests from all around the world, many of which they remain in touch with long after they return home. Lastly, she says that “It’s fun to wake up every morning knowing it will be a new adventure and opportunity to meet new friends.  I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to do.”

Address: 34480 Airport Heights Street, Soldotna, AK 99669.

7 – Odie’s Deli, Soldotna

Facebook – Odie’s Deli

Odie’s Deli is a truly scrumdiddlyumptious deli restaurant located right in town Soldotna off the Sterling Highway. Local favorites include homemade soups, sandwiches, salads, cookies, and many other mouthwatering baked goods. The soft, flavorful breads are savory soups are made from scratch daily. Plus, each week they have a yummy weekly sandwich special. They even have PubQuiz trivia nights every Wednesday at 6pm and Live Music every Friday at 6pm! Tons of fun, great service, undeniably delicious food.

Address: 44315 Sterling Highway, Soldotna, AK 99669.

8 – Main Street Tap & Grill, Kenai

Credit: Main Street Hotel Tap and Grill

There’s always something going on a Main Street Tap and Grill in Kenai! Locals and visitors alike always look forward to Karaoke Wednesday. Plus, every Friday and Saturday night you can enjoy the awesomeness of a Live Band or DJ! Monday’s and Thursday’s they have World Tavern Poker nights. The grill is filled with seriously delicious menu options and it’s always open late. If you’re a sports fanatic, you can always catch your favorite game on one of the many flat screens.

Address: 10800 Kenai Spur Highway, Kenai, AK 99611.

9 – Mykel’s Restaurant, Soldotna

Credit: Facebook – Mykel’s Restaurant

This insanely delicious restaurant offers some of the best food that you’ll probably ever eat in your entire lifetime. The menu is full of delicious steaks, seafood dishes, appetizers and salads – plus a full bar with lots of local beers on tap. They even have live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Tammy Blank is the Chef and Kitchen Manager at Mykel’s Restaurant, a.k.a. the personally directly responsible for all of the mouth-watering things that you will be scarfing down ASAP. Along with Vanessa Robinson, who is the Restaurant General Manager at Mykel’s Restaurant, both of these incredible women work hard to handle all of the behind-the-scenes action that comes with being one of the best places to eat in all of Alaska. Alice Kerkvliet has been the owner of Mykel’s Restaurant for the last 18 years. She says, “I respect and trust these women and am eternally grateful for their help in promoting the tourism industry in our beautiful community and state of Alaska. They handle all the daily responsibilities, plan for the future and evaluate our progress along the way. We love being part of Alaska’s playground here on the Kenai Peninsula!”

Address: 35041 Kenai Spur Highway, Soldotna, AK 99669.

10 – Everything Bagels, Kenai & Soldotna

Credit: Facebook – Everything Bagels

This is a new name on the Kenai Peninsula, and one that the locals have quickly fallen head-over-heels in love with. Pamela Parker and her husband started Everything Bagels in their personal kitchen in February 2016. Six months after baking our first batch of bagels, they opened there store in Soldotna with their new business partners, Brooke and John Campbell. After just six more months passed, they expanded again to open their second location in Kenai. Grab a fresh baked bagel with hand-made cream cheese and you will fall in love at first bite, we guarantee it!

Soldotna Address: 44539 Sterling Highway.

Kenai Address: 610 Attla Way.

11 – Aksala Alaska, Seward

Credit: visitalaska907.com

The team at Aksala Alaska loves to “live, work, and play Alaska.” They are passionate about the beautiful state of Alaska, and they love to share it with travelers from all around the world! Go to Aksala Alaska for lodging, transportation, plus adventures and tours from Kenai Fjords National Park to Denali National Park. “Go the local way, go AKSALA ALASKA

Address: 209 4th Avenue #1, Seward, AK.

12 – Soldotna Inn, Soldotna

Credit: Facebook – Soldotna Inn

The comfortable and cozy Soldotna Inn is located right near the Y in the heart of Soldotna. These affordable rooms offer a great value close to all of the best fishing holes and hiking trails. Cindy Jackinsky is the Hotel Manager that spends her days working hard to assure that operations are running efficiently while balancing the art of guest service being the utmost priority at all times. CarolAnn Wagner is the Head Housekeeper, a.k.a the behind-the-scenes ninja that keeps the fundamentals flowing like a well-oiled machine. Alice Kerkvliet has been the owner of Soldotna Inn for the last 18 years. She says, “I respect and trust these women and am eternally grateful for their help in promoting the tourism industry in our beautiful community and state of Alaska. They handle all the daily responsibilities, plan for the future and evaluate our progress along the way. We love being part of Alaska’s playground here on the Kenai Peninsula!“

Address: 35041 Kenai Spur Highway, Soldotna.

A huge “thank you” to each and every one of these incredible businesses (and all of their extraordinarily hard-working teams) for all that you do to serve our community. Locals and visitors alike are grateful to have so many top-notch restaurant, lodging and adventure establishments to choose from on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

20 Undeniable Reasons Why Everyone Should Love Alaska

Photo from kathika.com.

Photo from kathika.com.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer out there! The 49th state is a glorious place for freedom lovers and wilderness adventurers. The last frontier is more than just a place for the wildlife to roam free, it’s an outdoor mecca for anyone looking to experience some of the most beautiful, untouched land in all of the world. We will give you 20 undeniable reasons why everyone should love Alaska, but we all know that this is a topic we could sing the praises to for well over 20 lines. 😉

#1 – Seclusion. Sure the city lights can be luring, but Alaska has the lowest population density in the nation at one person per square mile. The perfect place to unplug and drink life in.

#2 – Natural Hot Springs. The U.S. Geological Survey identifies 79 thermal springs in Alaska.

Photo from www.alaska.org of Chena Hot springs.

Photo from http://www.Alaska.org of Chena Hot springs.

#3 – Snow days in Alaska are not ordinary whatsoever. Winter is nothing short of EPIC. Drive right out your front door and go cross country skiing or snow-machining in a total backcountry paradise.

Photo from crestedbutteguides.com.

Photo from crestedbutteguides.com.

#4 – 24 hours of daylight. Otherwise known as “the land of the midnight sun.” This means, more time to play during the warm summer months. Alaskans have a motto: we will sleep in the wintertime, just like the bears!

Photo from www.adn.com.

Photo from http://www.adn.com.

#5 – Aurora Borealis. The beautiful colors of the Northern Lights do all the talking for themselves. Seeing these gorgeous dancing lights in person is a MUST for everyone’s lifetime bucket list.

Photo from northtosouth.us.

Photo from northtosouth.us.

#6 – Sunrises. One word: breathtaking. We would say more, but we are speechless.

#7 – Fishing. The fishing and seafood industry is the state’s largest private industry employer. Such a fun activity for the sport fisherman as well as the whole family.

#8 – Hiking. For the active, outdoor enthusiast- Alaska is the place to be. Whether you are a beginner or an expert hiker looking to go off the beaten path, hundreds upon thousands of hiking trails make up this beautiful state.

#9 – Water babies, unite! There are more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes in Alaska.

Photo from ehfcmembers.wordpress.com.

Photo from ehfcmembers.wordpress.com.

#10 – National Parks. Alaska has 8 National Parks, the second largest amount of any other state in the USA. All but two are actually classified as both National Parks and National Preserves.

Photo from hqworld.net.

Photo from hqworld.net.

#11 – Island living. Don’t think of “island life” when you think of Alaska? Think again. Alaska has 2,670 named islands making this the state perfect for those who want their own slice of Alaskan paradise.

Photo from www.wsj.com.

Photo from http://www.wsj.com.

#12 – Alaska or bust! “The mountains are calling, and I must go!” Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 are in Alaska.

#13 – Forests. The country’s largest and second-largest national forests are in Alaska. The 17-million-acre Tongass and the 5.6-million-acre Chugach. Both lie in southern Alaska and protect temperate rain forests and coastal mountains.

#14 – Glaciers. There are 616 officially named glaciers in Alaska however the Alaska Almanac estimates that Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers.

#15 – Arctic Tundra. This refers to treeless ecosystems where winters are long and cold, and summers are short and (usually) chilly. With a view like this, it’s hard not to fall in love.

#16 – Dog mushing is our state sport! And what’s not to love about that? In our book, the more dogs- the better! There is something so spectacular about the relationship between hard working dog mushers and their resilient, athletic dogs.

Photo from animalaska.wordpress.com.

Photo from animalaska.wordpress.com.

#17 – A birders paradise. Alaska has over 430 species of birds with the largest population of bald eagles in the entire nation.

#18 – A bear viewing mecca. Alaska is home to 98% of the US brown bear population and 70% of the total North American population. An estimated 30,000 brown bears live in Alaska.

#19 – We have the highest mountain peak in North America, Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). Sitting 20,310 feet above sea level, Mt. Denali is the third most prominent and isolated mountain in the world.

Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

#20 – Sunsets. We will let the picture do all the talking. But really though, how could anyone resist this stunning eye candy?

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

Top 15 Moments of the Year 2015

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook Page.  Photo by Jordan Alleva.

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook Page. Photo by Jordan Alleva.

Cheers to the last day of 2015! It’s been a pretty magical year on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. So in honor of the final day of the year, we though we’d do a little “Throwback Thursday” and recap the most memorable moments from our Facebook page.

Kenai Lake. Photo from Ed Boudreau.

Kenai Lake. Photo from Ed Boudreau.

Shared with almost 35,000 fans of the glorious Kenai Peninsula, let’s kick this party off with this Photo #1; A stunning sunrise in Seward, Alaska shared from Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

Photo Credit: Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking

Photo Credit: Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking

Photo #2, perfectly captioned “Eagle Eyes” is shared from the beautiful town of Seldovia, Alaska.

Shared from Seldovia, Alaska.

Shared from Seldovia, Alaska.

Photo #3 is a pretty in pink glorious morning sunrise shot from the beautiful town of Seward, Alaska.

Photo by Katherine "Pinky" Bleth & the Seward Journal.

Photo by Katherine “Pinky” Bleth & the Seward Journal.

Photo #4 is an always-popular aerial shot of the epic Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. Is this on your bucket list? If not, we bet it is now! 😉

Photo Credit: Daniel Leifheit. http://bit.ly/1C8YuOL.

Photo Credit: Daniel Leifheit. http://bit.ly/1C8YuOL.

Photo #5… license and registration, please. Need we say more? This moose has an agenda and no humans will stand in his way. 😉

Photo from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

The #6 most popular moment on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground featured an epic underwater chase by a school of halibut chasing a GoPro. Check out this link HERE to view the full video. Warning: it’s up close & personal and incredibly AWESOME.

#7 is the true epitome of “the land of the midnight sun.” This blue-bird-sky photo was taken in June at midnight on the beautiful Turnagain Arm.

Photo by Brittney Robles. Shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

Photo by Brittney Robles. Shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

#8 leaves us utterly breathless. This bear is in his very own version of Disney Land. The happiest place on earth is Alaska! 🙂

Photo shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

Photo shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

The #9 moment features a video of a giant pod of humpback whales that put on quite the show during a Kenai Fjords Tours excursion. If you turn up the volume, you can actually hear the whales trumpet. Once in a lifetime memories happen on Alaska’s Playground! Video featured HERE!

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours Facebook page.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours Facebook page.

Moment #10 is a lovely video of an Orca rubbing its belly along the shore of Fox Island Alaska. Full video HERE!

Video from Eric Eberspeaker. Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Video from Eric Eberspeaker. Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Our #11 moment features an Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) time lapse from Lights Out Photography that is comprised of 546 images taken in the span of about 18 minutes. Exposure time for images were 2 seconds. Shot from the Seward Hwy. Check out the full video HERE!

Aurora Borealis photo from Lights Out Photography.

Aurora Borealis photo from Lights Out Photography.

#12 is a fan favorite and a seasonal delight. Fall colors on the Seward Hwy. Our fall season is short here in Alaska, but boy oh boy does it leave a lasting impression.

Photo from the Seward Highway.

Photo from the Seward Highway.

Moment #13 is appropriately titled “just another day in Alaska.” In this incredible video captured by Bill Tyra you see two bull moose rutting and rumbling it out right smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood in someone’s driveway. It’s incredible. And its real. Only in Alaska! Full video HERE.

Video from Bill Myra.

Video from Bill Tyra.

#14: Surrounded by nature, the small town of Kenai, Alaska stirs peacefully. If you’re wondering, the answer is “yes, we pinch ourselves daily in amazement that this is our backyard.” Lucky is an understatement.

Photo Credit Greg Daniels. Shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

Photo Credit Greg Daniels. Shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

And last but certainly not least, moment #15 of the Year 2015 is this beautiful winter shot featuring the vivid Aurora Borealis captured sky-high from the chair lifts.

Photo shared from Alaska Dispatch News.

Photo shared from Alaska Dispatch News.

Whew! What an amazing year it has been. And the best part is that every year seems to get even better than the last. So hold on tight, 2016 is going to be epic! We can’t wait to share our journey with you and most importantly, we can’t wait for you to share your new memories with US! Thank you for joining us in celebrating all things glorious on the Kenai Peninsula year after year. We are blessed to share our love for this beautiful place with such wonderful people. Cheers!

150 Million Acres of Magic in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Photo from O'Dell Fowles shared by High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters.

Photo from O’Dell Fowles shared by High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 500 unites in the National Wildlife Refuge System. This is a 150-million acre network of lands and waters that is set aside to help conserve out nation’s fish and wildlife heritage.

Photo from the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Center and Tracy Curtin.

Photo from the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center and Tracy Curtin.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, often call “Alaska in miniature,” is home to a wide diversity of wildlife including moose, eagles, brown and black bears, lynx, wolves and trumpeter swans.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska from freenaturepictures.blogspot.com.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska from freenaturepictures.blogspot.com.

For a complete list of species, visit the official U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service link HERE.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

The eastern portion of the refuge descends from the 6,500 Harding Ice Field to 2,000 to 4,000 ft. peaks in the western Kenai Mountains.

Photo of the Harding Ice Field from www.photosbymartin.com.

Photo of the Harding Ice Field from http://www.photosbymartin.com.

Ice fields and glaciers are vital sources of fresh water for wildlife and people. Mountain goats, brown bears and ravens have been sighted crossing glaciers by many locals and visitors alike.

Photo from Mark Johnson.

Photo from Mark Johnson.

A wildlife sighting in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is always a special treat. And it happens quite frequently, so be sure to always keep a look out. After all, this is their backyard, we just get to play in it. 😉

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

In the refuge you will find Mountain Tundra. This is where the tree line ends at 1,500 to 2,000 ft. with low growing tundra plants and shrubs continuing in elevation to snow and rock fields at 4,000 ft. Dall sheep, mountain goats, and caribou roam this rugged country. Hoary marmots form colonies on talus slopes.

Brown bears graze for berries and occasionally take marmots and sheep. Wolves and golden eagles have been known to be successful hunters of young sheep. Wolverines scavenge the carcasses of dead sheep and goats.

Photo of brown bears searching for berries.

Photo of brown bears searching for berries.

From sea level to 2,000 ft., the northern boreal forest is found on the refuge. This forest is composed predominately of white and black spruce, birch, aspen, and cottonwood trees in various stages of succession. This forest is an important source of food and shelter for moose, black and brown bears, lynx, wolves, coyotes, porcupine, weasels, red squirrels and snowshoe hares.

Northern Boreal Forest in Alaska.

Northern Boreal Forest in Alaska.

The lakes & wetlands in the refuge are something extra special! The northeastern portion of the refuge is dotted with hundreds of small lakes surrounded by wetland tundra or spruce/hardwood forest hills. This large wetland habitat supports migratory breeding birds including common and pacific loons, grebes, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, ducks, and shorebirds.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Mammals found within this lake & wetland habitat include caribou, moose, beaver, muskrat, and mink. The lakes support a variety of fish species, such as rainbow trout, arctic char, red and silver salmon, and sticklebacks.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Also within this habitat, the Chickaloon River Flats remains the last pristine major saltwater estuary on the Kenai Peninsula. The Flats serves as a staging area for thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl.

Photo at the Chickaloon River Flats from the Redoubt Reporter.

Photo at the Chickaloon River Flats from the Redoubt Reporter.

And the Rivers in the refuge can be described as “what dreams are made of” with some being world renowned.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

The refuge is drained by nine river systems, including the world famous Kenai River, renowned for its wide variety of sport fish including Chinook (king), sockeye (red), and coho (silver) salmon, and Dolly Varden and rainbow trout.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook Page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook Page.

Bald eagles are often sighted perched in tall cottonwoods along the riverbanks. Brown and black bears are attracted to the rich fish resources in summer and fall. Moose, beaver, and mergansers are commonly seen wildlife along refuge river systems.

Photo from the Upper Kenai River Trail at the Russian River Ferry, from USFWS/Berkley Bedell.

Photo from the Upper Kenai River Trail at the Russian River Ferry, USFWS/Berkley Bedell.

If you haven’t yet visited, you simply MUST. Be sure to make time to catch a good reflection (double the pleasure, double the memories).

Photo from Aren Kert at Tern Lake.

Photo from Aren Kert at Tern Lake.

And a beautiful rainbow won’t hurt your eyes too bad either… 😉

Photo from Sara Moore via the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from Sara Moore via the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

If you prefer to get your body moving and enjoy an active lifestyle, we recommend a hike in the refuge. So many incredible options to choose from.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Be sure to get up early enough (at least one day) to enjoy a sunrise. Worth it? We think so!

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

And of course, it’s always a good idea to take a load off and enjoy a good sunset. Happy travels, friends. 🙂

Sunset over Mt. Iliamna. What dreams are made of.

Sunset over Mt. Iliamna. What dreams are made of.