Staying in any wilderness lodge can give you a greater appreciation for nature, wildlife, and an untouched frontier. Staying at Tutka Bay Lodge near Homer, however, can also boost your gourmet skills and broaden your culinary palate.
Owners Carl and Kirsten Dixon—the same folks who run Winterlake Lodge —pride themselves on giving visitors a hands-on naturalist experience both inside and outside their lodges. While Winterlake (along the Iditarod Trail) is most famous for its snowy diversions, Tutka Bay Lodge celebrates Alaska’s maritime flavor. Not just maritime scenery—such as rugged coastlines, deep fjords, dramatic mountains, amazing tidal fluctuations—but literal flavor, too.
Whales and Wonders on the Way from Homer
The family-run lodge is nine ocean miles from Homer, on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Accommodations are spread across six different cabins of varying sizes—sleeping from three to seven guests, and each offering different views of the bay, mountains or ocean.
To arrive at the lodge, you’ll fly or drive into Homer, then take a 25-minute water taxi across Kachemak Bay to the lodge’s dock; keep your eyes out for a menagerie of marine birds, sea otters, even Orcas or Humpback whales along the way.
Wilderness Luxury: World Cuisines and Wine-Tastings
Once you’re settled in, you can hike through the old-growth forest, pick berries, go kayaking or fly-fishing with Carl, watch for whales in the bay, or even dig for steamer clams that might show up in that night’s dinner. Closer to the lodge you can soak in the hot tub, read watch nature videos in the lodge library, do a yoga class on the deck, or—brace yourself—take advantage of the complimentary massage from the on-staff massage therapist. There are afternoon wine tastings, perhaps complemented by cheese flown in from New York, and followed by an elegantly prepared dinner.
This wilderness lodge, however isn’t just for people who want to explore the great outdoors. One of the lodge owners is a Cordon-Bleu-trained chef and since 2010 has been offering the Cooking School at Tutka to both overnight guests and day guests, too. The daily classes let you learn tips and techniques related to a various cuisines around the world—including Japan, India, France or Italy. One day you might be tasting olive oils, or picking herbs from the lodge’s own garden. You’ll both cook and then eat, with the best of Alaskan ingredients, from local Kachemak Bay oysters to homegrown vegetables, berries or Alaska honey. When you take the class—included in your overnight stay— you enjoy the fruits of your labor with a seaside luncheon.