Best Bets

Once again a public relations person has sent a missive to World Betster Headquarters stating what the Betster has already figured out. Sometimes we get pitches to cover the opening of a new national restaurant chain in Anchorage. If the Betster is feeling snarky, yours truly will reply with a note that the distance between Homer and Anchorage is about the same as between Boston and New York.

Holy geography! Doesn’t anyone in the Lower 48 look at a map? Well, OK, they do, and probably think that Alaska is a tiny little island smaller than Hawaii way down there in the South Pacific, as most maps show us. You can see why people Back East get confused. To be fair, the Betster admits to not knowing everything about New York City geography. Is it “the Bronx is up and the Battery is down” or the other way around? We forget.

Anyway, this press release from informed us that 75% of Alaskans will be taking a staycation this summer. We knew that. Anyone who has been to the Homer Spit on a weekend gets that a whole bunch of Alaskans have been visiting us this summer. In a normal year — the Before Times, one friend of the Betster calls it — this would be huge. It may still be. The Betster can’t figure out if all those visiting Alaskans are dropping tourist dollars at our local businesses or just squatting in renegade campgrounds and not spending a penny. Huh. Put that on the story list.

We sure hope visitors from up north have been keeping our town afloat until things get better, whenever that will be. No one has sent the Betster a press release informing us how and when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. Apparently there’s a limit to what public relations people know.

Still, it’s nice to see all those fresh faces, or at least fresh eyes, since most visitors have their mouths covered with cheerful face masks. That’s good. We’re trying to slow the spread and keep the coronavirus out of the lower Kenai Peninsula. We know it’s weird for everyone these days, and a blast of fresh air and our amazing scenery do much to cheer everyone up.

So be safe, be strong and drop a few Benjamins before heading back home. While you’re here, enjoy our town, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST GO GRETA BET: If you’re like Greta Thunberg and concerned about climate change, check out the Homer Drawdown Climate Action Series. This week they focus climate solutions on Land Use. At 6 p.m. today, join the series via Zoom conferencing for the latest chapter on Land use in “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.” Hear from a local panel of experts and then envision what solutions can be applied here in Kachemak Bay. The Zoom link to register and join is at

If you would like your own copy of Drawdown or have any questions, please email The event is presented by Cook Inletkeeper , Alaskans Know Climate Change and the Kachemak Bay Conservation Society.

BEST PERFECT PEONY BET: Listen to Homer artist Sharlene Cline talk about the art of Chinese painting and you can sense the passion she holds for it. Cline talks about meditating on brush strokes, visualizing the image and, in one focused burst, putting brush to paper.

As part of the first Homer Peony Celebration, learn to paint peonies when Cline holds a Chinese brush painting workshop this from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts. The fee is $50 for HCOA members and $60 for nonmembers and limited to 12 students. Call 07-235-4288 for information or to register.

BEST TAKE IT OUTSIDE BET: Here’s another chance to paint peonies when Andy Sonneborn holds a plein air oil painting workshop from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Joslyn Peonies on Diamond Ridge. Also sponsored by the Homer Council on the Arts, the fee is $60 for HCOA members and $75 for nonmembers. Rent a French easel for $20. Basic supplies will be provided. The class is suitable for any level.

BEST GET OUT BET: The Pratt Museum has reopened with restrictions, but on its Nature Trails, you can enjoy the big outdoors and learn about our local history and culture. From 2-4 p.m. Saturday the museum holds “Walking Museum: Exploring The Pratt Nature Trails” on the trails behind the museum. Join Botanical Garden curator Yarrow Hinnant in an exploration of the Pratt trails.

Learn how to identify common plants found in the forest and practice documenting what we see through nature journaling, drawing, and collecting. All ages are welcome. Wear mass and maintain 6 feet of social distancing, please.