A Day Trip To Halibut Cove

The artists' colony of Halibut Cove sits on either side of a narrow, peaceful channel between a small island and the mainland; the water in this channel is the road. Boardwalks connect the buildings, and stairs reach down to the water from houses perched on pilings over the shore. The post office floats on a dock. Visitors arrive each afternoon to walk the boardwalks, visit the galleries, and eat at the restaurant, the Saltry (tel. 907/399-2683; www.halibut-cove-alaska.com/saltry.htm), which also manages transportation to the cove. The Saltry's deck is a place to sip microbrews and eat fresh baked bread, mussels, sushi, and locally grown salads, followed by fresh fish grilled over charcoal.

The Saltry's classic wooden boat Danny J leaves Homer daily in the summer at noon, brings back day-trippers, takes guests to the Saltry Restaurant at 5pm, and brings back the diners later in the evening. The noon trip includes bird-watching at Gull Island. Seating is mostly outdoors. You also take the Danny J if you're spending the night in Halibut Cove. The noon trip is $50 for adults, $45 seniors, $30 children; the dinner trip is $30 for everyone, and you must have a dinner reservation at the Saltry, usually made at least a few days ahead. On the noon trip only, they sometimes take more passengers than the Danny J can carry, putting the overflow aboard the steel Storm Bird (same reservations and fares apply).

On the afternoon trip, you can bring lunch or eat at the Saltry and then explore the boardwalk that runs from the restaurant along Ismailof Island past the galleries, boat shops, and houses. There's also a barnyard, perched on a patch of ground along the boardwalk, where kids, who already will be in heaven, can look at horses. The summer-only Halibut Cove's Experience Fine Art Gallery (tel. 907/296-2215) is the first building past the farm on the boardwalk, on pilings above the water. The airy room contains works by Halibut Cove artists only.

Exceptionally appealing overnight accommodations can be found in Halibut Cove.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.