Best Bets

  • Art from the soul Travelling folk artist Walter Hudson, 74, of Linchburg, Va., sits next to one of his paintings at Refuge Chapel last Friday during an opening reception. Many of his paintings have religious meanings and symbols. “They all have specific meaning,” Hudson said. “I spend a day thinking about them.” The painting behind him is of Homer and Kachemak Bay. His work is on sale at Refuge Chapel. (Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News)

As idyllic as our little corner of the world can be, sometimes one finds oneself in need of a vacation. Maybe we find ourselves in a rut creatively, maybe our job has been weighing on us, or maybe we just really need a change of scenery — though the Betster fails to see what scene could be more perfect and picturesque than the mountains looming across Kachemak Bay.

Either way, sometimes we just need a break.

This seems especially true when the dark days of winter descend, wreaking more havoc on our bodies and psyches than it does in the Lower 48. The winter season is the perfect time to fly the coop to somewhere warmer, and brighter, to clear our minds and get away from it all. The Betster would hazard a guess, however, that not many Homerites decide to take flight for far off lands smack in the middle of summer. Why would we give up the sunny skies, the warm air that doesn’t cross over into unbearably hot, and the picture-perfect fireweed that lines our streets and frames our yards?

When we are tempted Outside during our precious few summer months, it never seems to measure up to the summer we could have spent in Alaska — at least this is true in the Betster’s experience. One may grow accustomed to Homer’s temperate temperatures and the relative lack of humility and other annoyances that generally plague the summer season elsewhere in the country, and thus be less equipped to handle them when faced with them in other states. And, contrary to popular belief, the mosquitoes the Betster has encountered here in Alaska, while admittedly giant compared to the other varieties, are not nearly as plentiful nor as bothersome as those found in, say, the Midwest.

It’s good to remember that we live in other people’s definition of a vacation getaway. While Homer may eventually seem tired and humdrum to those who have pounded its streets for years, to others, it’s an actual paradise, a once in a lifetime trip.

Sometimes it takes a return tour of someplace in the Lower 48, a jolt to our senses and habit of living, to remind us how lucky we are to live in what is already the perfect summer vacation destination. Maybe these Best Bets will help give even more of a reminder.

BEST BARNYARD BET: What better activity to take advantage of during the summertime than a tour of a local farm? Get out to learn about all that goes into running a dairy farm at 6 p.m. Thursday at Kackleberry Farm, 17 miles east of Homer — part of Thriving Thursday.

BEST BURGEONING YOUTH BET: Kids know how to take advantage of their summer vacation and time off of school better than perhaps anyone. Some locals in the Pier One Youth Theatre have been honing their skills and will present an original production for the next two weeks. “Honor Among Thieves,” written and directed by Lindsay Schneider, plays at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11-13, and Aug. 17-19.

BEST DRUM BEATING BET: Suck the very last marrow out of the summer season with the Tahitian Drumming and Dance Workshops. From 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, lucky participants will be taught by an instructor fresh from performing in Tahiti. The workshops cost $20-$30 and will be held at the Mariner Theater’s Green Room.

BEST MELODIOUS BET: It’s no secret that Homer is brimming with talented folks. That only increases during summer months when snow birds return and talented tourists visit. The Coastal Trio, made up of a singer who lives seasonally in Halibut Cove, an Alaska pianist and an oboe player who has made the round with many Alaska groups, will dazzle an audience at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10 at the Bunnell Street Arts Center.

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