Homer is known as a traveling community. It doesn’t take long to find someone who has spent considerable time abroad, bouncing from one hostel to the next, meeting others of a like mind.
Wes Fazio, who bought property here only two years ago, is one of those travelers who now calls Homer home.
He describes choosing Homer as his new home in a way that many can relate to.
“I love the culture here. There are a lot of really cool people in Homer. That’s one of my favorite things about it actually. It just feels right,” Fazio said.
“I explored all over Alaska and this was just the place, so hands down the place. The land, the bay, the beauty, the views, the people, the culture, I mean everything was just like, ‘Wow.’ It’s amazing that a place like this exists.”
It is within this culture he has come to love, that he believes a new hostel will fit so perfectly.
Fazio, who came to enjoy the atmosphere and convenience of hostels while traveling in New Zealand and surrounding areas, decided he wanted to start one. Realizing he already had the perfect property in the perfect place (Homer), the vision began.
“It sort of developed organically,” Fazio said. “I already had this property and it was definitely a place I wanted to live for a long time … all that traveling and staying in all those places and I was like, ‘man I love these places so much, why don’t I do something like that in Alaska?’ and I was just thinking, I have the perfect property for it. Homer is such a cool place.’”
Fazio’s property is located off Eagle Aerie down East Skyline Drive. With no neighbors in sight, and surrounded by forest, it’s a great spot for travelers looking to immerse themselves in nature.
A variety of different bird species, moose and the occasional bear, along with many other, smaller creatures live here.
One of the property’s best assets is its view, which stretches from Grewingk Glacier, to the Spit, to beyond the head of the Kachemak Bay.
Fazio hopes visitors will enjoy the view while grilling, sharing stories and enjoying music and life together on the massive deck that soon will be added to the 50-foot yurt which is already in place.
“Benches and picnic tables, deck chairs. Places outside to just hang out. It will be a very outdoor friendly place,” said Fazio.
The yurt, which will house approximately 18 people, is distinctly Alaskan. Handcrafted in Homer by Nomad Shelters, the yurt is a testament to Homer’s unique culture.
Modern amenities in the form of toilets and hot showers, available to all who stay in the hostel, or at the campground Fazio hopes to add in coming years, will be available.
In the future, Fazio also plans to add a few, smaller yurts for more private settings.
Not only is the hostel’s location beautiful, it’s also affordable. While a hotel with a view like this one might cost hundreds of dollars a night, at Top of the World Hostel and Campground, Fazio plans to charge only $25 a night for a bed, clean linens, hot showers, and a unique experience shared with like-minded adventurers from around the world.
The hostel is scheduled to open in early August.
Mattea Peters is a student intern at the Homer News.