|a l a s k a j o u r n e y . c o m|
|The Kenai Peninsula|
Location/Climate: 40 road miles north of Homer on Cook Inlet. 24"/yr. precip., 14°F60°F.
Population: 597 (19.5 percent native, mainly Tanaina).
Travel Attractions: Historic Russian Orthodox church, charming town, beach access, fishing, clamming.
Getting There: Vehicle access via the Sterling Highway (AK 1).
Information: Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 39164, Ninilchik, AK 99639, 567-3571, www.recworld.com/ncoc; Historic Ninilchik Village Visitor Center, Mile 135.1 Sterling Highway, Old Village, Ninilchik, 567-3500.
This small, oceanside village, whose name means "peaceful settlement by the river," began as a community for retired employees of the Russian-American Trading Company. Many were Russians who had married native Alaskan women and were unwilling to return to their homeland. Their descendants have lived here for at least 140 years. Today Ninilchik is little more than a stretch of roadside businesses surrounded by a scattering of homes, but a visit to the historic village at the river mouth is worth a short detour.
The homes and beachfront of Ninilchik are reached via a short road from Mile 135.1 of the Sterling Highway. The right fork of the access road leads to the village, the left to Ninilchik Beach Road and access to the beach and clamming area of Ninilchik State Recreation Area. The small harbor at the mouth of the Ninilchik River is open to Cook Inlet only at high tide. A couple of shops and a small B&B are located in the village, while an interesting Russian Orthodox church and cemetery sits on the northern bluff overlooking town. The church can be reached by a short path from below, or via Coal Road just north of town from Mile 134.7 of the Sterling Highway.
Where to Stay and Eat in Ninilchik
Beachcomber Motel, Ninilchik Beach Road, 567-3417. $60 (single), $70 (double).
The Eagle Watch Hostel, Oilwell Road (3 miles east of town), 567-3905. $10 members, $15 non-members.
Happy Wok Restaurant, Sterling Highway, 567-1060. Good stir-fry offerings.
Homestead House B&B, 66670 Oilwell Road, (888) 697-3474, 567-3412. Rooms are $70 and up. Fishing packages offered.