Seward Polar Bear Jump Festival + Winter Weekends Launch

Join us January 25–27 for a weekend full of winter family fun! In addition to the 34th Seward Polar Bear Jump, we’ve got live music, outdoor recreation, lodging specials, and a variety of community events to enjoy. 
 

Schedule of Events

Friday, January 25
 
7:00 PM
Polar Bear Pool Tournament Fundraiser at the Breeze Inn Lounge ($20 entry)
303 North Harbor Dr. 
 
7:30 PM
Polar Bear Jump auction at Tony’s Bar (benefits the American Cancer Society)
135 Fourth Ave.
 
9:30 PM
Blackwater Railroad live at the Seward Alehouse
215 Fourth Ave. 
 
Saturday, January 26
 
11:30 AM
Polar Bear Jump Parade
Start at 5th & Jefferson; main route is along 4th Ave towards the harbor
 
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
301 Railway Ave.
 
12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
 
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Kids’ Winter Carnival at AVTEC gym, hosted by Seward Parks & Recreation (Kids 8 and under)
519 Fourth Ave. 
 
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Oyster Fest at the Breeze Inn
303 North Harbor Dr.
 
8:30 PM
Karaoke at the American Legion
402 Fifth Ave. 
 
Sunday, January 27
 
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Locks for Love hair donation at the Breeze Inn Motel lobby
303 North Harbor Dr.

Member Spotlight: Seward Properties

Q&A With Nicole Lawrence of Seward Properties

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Seward Properties is a Seward-owned real estate company that takes pride in being a contributing member of the community. Since starting in 2013, they have grown to handle sales, property management and vacation rentals in the Seward area.

We recently sat down with Nicole to learn more about the journey she and her team have taken to create and grow Seward Properties.
Owner Nicole Lawrence is celebrating 5 years of Seward Properties serving the community. Photo Courtesy of Seward Properties.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

I first moved to Seward in 2006 to work as a boat captain for the Military Rec Camp. You could say I moved up here for love; I was dating my now-husband, Colby Lawrence, at the time. I had been a boat captain since 1999 and he convinced me to follow him to Alaska to work for a summer. Colby and I weren’t ready to settle down yet, so at the end of that season, we entered the world of yachting and worked around the world as captains on private yachts for three years. Then, in 2009 we received job offers as captains from Tom Tougas at Major Marine Tours and decided we were ready to spend more time in Alaska and to have a stable lifestyle. I figured we would be here for two years at the most, but now we are at about our 10-year mark and I doubt we will be going anywhere else anytime soon.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

I am most proud of Seward Properties’ reputation. My team and our clients are amazing and we couldn’t succeed without them. Our company has represented nearly 50% of all the sales transaction in Seward since 2015; plus, we manage over 100 local rentals. It’s amazing to me how the business continues to grow and I have to thank my awesome team and our great community.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

Overall I think the friendliness, knowledge and full-time availability of our team really helps us stand apart. Plus the amount of real estate services we offer ensures that we can answer just about any real estate question for any housing situation that exists. Having a full-time staff is great because we work as a team to help each other out and we have cumulative knowledge of the local real estate that we are able to share with our clients. Since our services range from sales to property management and even vacation rentals, we can help buyers and sellers through the transition of renting and becoming buyers. We’ve also assisted sellers from the transition of being a landlord to selling a rental property and re-investing in new properties using 1031 tax exchanges. Even if someone isn’t an active client, we love helping answer tricky real estate questions!

Nicole credits the success of her business largely to her year-round team: (L-R) Allyson, Callie, Nicole and Pamela. Photo Courtesy of Seward Properties.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

Most people are surprised to know that I am a boat captain and have been since 1999. I graduated from University of Michigan in 2003 with a degree in business and a degree in science. However, I never really wanted to settle down and get a “real” job…I just wanted to travel around the world on boats. I did that until I was about 30, and then I was finally ready to settle down and unpack my bags here in Seward. Oh and it’s not really business related but I was on Fear Factor and I think that’s pretty surprising to some people!

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

For people entering into real estate, I would say that you should find a good broker and take a lot of classes. It’s really important that you have good training from someone who has experience. Without sufficient real estate knowledge and someone to ask questions, it’s very difficult to succeed in such a competitive market. Since it is such a word of mouth profession, you need to start out on the right foot and do a good job for every single client. Having a good amount of training, education, and ethical integrity will help ensure your success.

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

I think a big risk that I took was building my own building. We used to rent an office space downtown and after a few years I realized that we needed something more permanent and something that was a better long term investment. I found the perfect piece of land and constructed the building where our office now sits, on the corner of Fourth and Madison. We designed it to have rentals to help cover the cost of the construction and it has worked out well. We love our office!!

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

The best compliment was receiving the Seward Chamber of Commerce’s “Excellence in Profession” Award after opening up my business. I had no idea how I would do when I started my business. I always strive to be ethical, professional and to go above and beyond for my clients. It’s nice to be recognized as a new business because it’s a lot of work getting up and running and building a reputation for yourself.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

When I look at what I admire in people, it comes down to three things: they are good-hearted, they go out of their way to help other people and they put time and effort into improving our community. Many people in Seward fit this description, but one that has meant a lot to me is Tom Tougas. I am in Alaska largely because he offered me a job as a captain. Since then, he has been my business mentor and has helped guide my decision-making on numerous occasions. Tom has helped out a lot of businesses in this town in different ways without seeking credit for it. He does it because he enjoys helping our community grow. He’s a great role model.

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

What I enjoy most about Seward is the sense of community and connection that you get in a small town. The longer I live in Seward, the more I fall in love with the people here and develop strong community ties through volunteer work. Seward is a special place and I don’t know of anywhere in the world quite like it. I consider myself lucky to live here.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

My favorite place to unwind is with a mug of tea on my living room couch with my husband and dogs. He has been one of my biggest supporters with my business and I respect and value his opinion. Plus, I think dogs are the best therapy after a long day at work.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time with my husband, friends and dogs. Seward is one of the most magical places for outdoor recreation. I enjoy various activities from hiking with my three dogs, skate-skiing on Bear Lake, back-country skiing in Summit Lake, kayaking in Resurrection Bay, picking blueberries, four-wheeling up to Crown Point Mine, to snow machining to the public use cabins for a weekend with friends. This place is incredible in every season and you can usually find me outside.

If your life was a book, what would the title be?

Say Yes to New Adventures

There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

In the winter, I would ski or snow machine into one of the public use cabins. If it were summer, I would probably be out RV-ing with friends, hiking, or riding my four-wheeler.

Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?

Seward Properties is celebrating the end of our 5th year in business! Our plan for 2019 is to donate 5% of all our net proceeds to the community. We are so thankful for such a supportive community and we want to give back any way we can!

Feature Image: A beautifully designed new office stands tall on the corner of 4th and Madison in downtown Seward. Stop by and say hi! Photo Courtesy of Seward Properties.

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For more information about Seward Properties click here or call 907.312.7660.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.

2018 Gift Buying Guide

Give the Gift of Seward for the Holidays!

Steep mountains, remote landscapes and abundant wildlife inspire Seward handmade crafts. We spent a day checking out the wares in gift shops and stores around town and compiled a list of unique products from local artists and makers that showcase Seward’s talent, along with creative ideas for stocking stuffers and everyone on your list for the holidays.

Jewelry
Whether it’s a delicate piece featuring brilliant crystals or unique upcycled earrings, the gift of handmade jewelry will brings smiles to your loved ones this holiday season.

Delicate earrings with Swarovski crystals are available at Urbach’s. Bohart Photography.

Katy Lee produces sterling silver earrings, necklaces and rings. Each piece is unique and sparkles with various Swarovski crystals. Prices vary. Urbach’s, 218 4th Ave, (907) 224-3088.

From compass necklaces to tassel earrings embellished with bullet casings, Sam Clemens combines modern and vintage styles with her company, Brass Bones. Resurrect Art, 320 3rd Ave, (907) 224-7161.

Jennifer Hedke creates brightly colored hand-beaded necklaces that fly off the shelves. The Ranting Raven, 228 4th Ave, (907) 224-2228. 

Libby Ferrera makes delicate earrings with intricate beadwork on handmade salmon leather. Available at Salmon Sisters. Open Fri-Saturday only through Dec. 22, 2018 until spring. 501 Railway Ave, (907) 299-5615.

Health
Health conscientious loved ones will appreciate various handmade goods and therapeutic services available from knowledgeable Seward locals. Lip balms and moisturizers make great stocking stuffers!

Jacara natural skin therapies are great stocking stuffers. Bohart Photography.

Made from a native medicinal and spiritual plant said to have strong healing and pain relief qualities, Devil’s Club Salve alleviates pain from arthritis and can help skin infections. The Frontier Trading Post, 233 4th Ave, (907) 362-7802. 

A local family has created globally aware skincare with their line Jacara. It features various therapies for lips, hands, feet and body. The Frontier Trading Post and The Ranting Raven. Starting at $6

Seward’s spa is the place to go for holiday skin and hair care packages that will ward off the dry winter air. Gift certificates are also available to treat a loved one to a variety of luxurious services from massages to manicures. The Retreat, 500 4th Ave, (907) 224-3223. 

Food
For gifts that go straight to the stomach look no further. Any lover of Alaska’s great bounty will savor these delectable treats.

Everyone will appreciate some hand-made chocolates for the holidays! Bohart Photography.

Taste a lifetime of smokehouse experience with Jim Woodside’s smoked salmon and black cod. From flavors like truffle or orange and with a wide variety of dips and smears, you’ll find something for everyone here. Saltwood Smokehouse, 2101 Seward Highway, (907) 491-0189 . If Jim’s green pickup is in the driveway, he’s open for business.

Whether its making your own sourdough starter or creating epic grilled cheese sandwiches, from fermenting to winter cocktail creations, you can find cookbooks to feed any Alaskan soul at The Frontier Trading Post, 233 4th Ave, (907) 362-7802. $15-35

Alaska Back Country Coffee’s Cold Brew is new in town and available by the growler. Handmade chocolates and other sweet treats are also on offer and make great stocking stuffers! Sweet Darlings, 205 4th Avenue, (907) 224-3011 Growler and fill – $15, fill only – $9

Art
Winter weather inspires the artist in many a Sewardite each year. Creative and resourceful folk manifest unique pieces from found objects to stunning photography to handmade treasures.

Beautifully designed pottery from Nakao Ceramics line the shelves at Resurrect Art. Bohart Photography.

After finishing construction of her homemade kiln last year, local artist Jenny Nakao turns out everything from mugs to oil dispensers inspired by Seward’s surrounding nature. Nakao Ceramics: call (907) 362-0062 for a studio appointment. Select pieces also available at Resurrect Art. $25-$40

Kalani Woodlock’s photography will make you fall in love with Seward and the Kenai Fjords National Park all over again. Choose from affordable canvas prints or vibrant metal displays that depict scenes and places that tug at the heartstrings. Custom order available. Select pieces available at Brown & Hawkins and the Sea Life Center. Starting at $85.

Delicately etched wine glasses by Sewardite Joellyn MacKennon depict local scenes such as the Mount Marathon Race and Mount Alice. The Ranting Raven, 228 4th Ave, (907) 224-2228. $25 each.

Give a Kalani Woodlock photo to someone who misses the wilds of Seward. Bohart Photography.

James and Sarah Minden collect scraps from different local industries that would otherwise end up in the landfill and turn them into beautiful sculptures and “usable art”. Many of their pieces have historical significance in Seward. Check out their work at Brown & Hawkins, 207 4th Avenue, (907) 831-1995. Prices start at $40.

Decorate your walls with affordable prints from local artists. Marissa Amore’s vibrant artwork depicts intricate tidal life on the shores of the bay. J. Leslie’s bright geometric paintings bring a splash of color to local landscapes. Available at Resurrect Art, 320 3rd Ave, (907) 224-7161. Starting at $50

Susan Swiderski is a local artist who paints landscapes of Seward and beyond. Pick up prints and originals at Resurrect Art or see the rest of the collection at www.susanswiderski.com. Prices Vary.

Clothing
Keep your loved ones warm and ready for outdoor adventures with these products made right here in Seward.

Gift the Salmon Sister’s most popular design, “All good things are wild and free,” available on hoodies, t-shirts and more. For every item bought, a can of salmon is donated to the Food Bank of Alaska; buy one gift, give two! Salmon Sisters. Open Fri-Saturday only through Dec. 22, 2018 until spring. 501 Railway Ave, (907) 299-5615. Starting at $25.

Keep warm with these fuzzy collars knitted by Dorothy Urbach. Bohart Photography.

Knitting is a well-loved hobby in Seward and Tanya uses fine yarn and delicate stitches to create colorful socks and other items that keep out the cold. The Ranting Raven, 228 4th Ave, (907) 224-2228. $26 each.

Dorothy Urbach knits warm collars out of various types of yarn. Each collar is embellished with a handcrafted ceramic button made by local artist Jeannie Shirk. Available at Urbach’s, 218 4th Ave, (907) 224-3088. 

Give the gift of warm, dry and fashionable feet with Extra Tuf’s new printed designs by the Salmon Sisters. Available at Salmon Sisters or The Fish House, 1303 4th Ave, (907) 224-3674. 

Looking for something unique? The quirkiest outfits and great stocking stuffers can often be found at Seward’s second-hand store, Ukanuzit, 339 5th Ave, (907) 224-5268. Bargains at $ .50 on up!

Kids
From plush toys to educational games, several places in town have a good selection for the half-pints in your life.

Choose from shelves of educational toys at the Alaska Sea Life Center. Bohart Photography.

Pique the little one’s curiosity in science with packaged kits and explorer games. Teach them how to “dig” for gold and fossils or grow their own crystals; there’s plenty of educational fun available at the Alaska Sea Life Center, 301 Railway Ave, (907) 224- 6300. From $15.

A favorite find of the day was a transformer robot that changed into a polar bear. Get to the Alaska Sea Life Center gift shop before they sell out!

Cuddly toys and other knick-knacks make great stocking stuffers. We found the best selection at Brown & Hawkins, the Harbor 360 Gift Shop and The Alaska Sea Life Center.

Gift Certificates
A number of businesses are open year-round and selling gift cards or memberships that would make great gifts.

Give the gift of unlimited rainy day activities with a yearlong membership to the Alaska Sea Life Center. Membership gives two adults and dependent children admission to the center all year long, as well as discounts on experiences and merchandise. Alaska Sea Life Center, 301 Railway Ave, (907) 224-6300. $140

Treat your loved ones to a night out in Seward with a gift certificate from a variety of restaurants. From soul food to Thai food, the following are open all year-round:

The Cookery (907.422.7459), Ms. Gene’s Place (907.224.6447), Apollo Restaurant (907.224.3092), Woody’s Thai Kitchen (907.422.0338), Chinook’s Waterfront Restaurant (907.224.2207), Seward Subway (907.224.7165), Zudy’s Café (907.224.4710), Thorn’s Showcase Lounge (907.224.3700), The Highliner Restaurant (907.224.3950), The Smoke Shack (907.224.4789).

Drink chips make great stocking stuffers as well. Choose your favorite watering hole: Tony’s Bar (907.224.3045), The Yukon Bar (907.224.3063), The Alehouse (907.224.2337)

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Feature Image: Resurrect Art is a perfect place to kick back with a cup of coffee and browse for holiday gifts. Photo by Bohart Photography.

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Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.

2019 Signature Events Logo Contests

The Seward Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the logo contests for our 2019 signature events:

92nd Running of the Mount Marathon Race

64th Annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby

13th Annual Seward Halibut Tournament

Designing a logo is a great way to be associated with some of the most iconic events in Alaska! Winning designs will be widely promoted and used for event brochures, web/social media content, t-shirts, and more. 

Each event will be holding its own separate logo contests with varying rules and regulations. Read on to find out how to enter and win!

How to Enter 

Important dates for all three contests:

  • The contest begins on December 4th, 2018
  • Submissions will be accepted through January 31, 2019
  • Winners will be announced in mid-February via email, Seward.com, and the Seward Chamber of Commerce’s social media channels

In order for your entry to be submitted and reviewed by our judges, all entries must be:

  • Submitted directly to Elizabeth Hashem at events@seward.com.
  • Submitted in their original source file (a scalable, vector format such as .ai or .eps).
  • Submitted as a high resolution .pdf with 300 dpi or higher.

Logo Requirements

Mount Marathon Race

  • Theme: To best convey the unique nature of the Mount Marathon Race, the logo design must include a mountain theme. 
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Mount Marathon Race 2019
    • 92nd Running
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.
  • To see logos from previous years, visit the Mount Marathon Race Website

Silver Salmon Derby

  • Theme: To best convey the nature of the Silver Salmon Derby, the logo design must include a fisheries theme.
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Seward Silver Salmon Derby 
    • 64th Annual
    • August 10th-18th 2019
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.

Halibut Tournament

  • Theme: To best convey the nature of the Halibut Tournament, the logo design must include a fisheries theme.
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Seward Halibut Tournament 
    • 13th Annual
    • June 2019
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.

Contest Details

  • One winning logo design will be selected for each contest.
  • Contestants agree that the Seward Chamber of Commerce may publish their logo and name(s) and may use both for advertising campaigns and/or marketing materials in the future.
  • Contestants assign all ownership rights, including all intellectual property rights to the logo, to the Seward Chamber of Commerce.
  • The Seward Chamber of Commerce may alter, modify or revise the winning logo as necessary for its intended use.
  • The Seward Chamber of Commerce reserves the right to not select a winner if, in its sole discretion, no suitable entries are received.  

Prize: The winning designer of each contest will receive $200!

Deadline: Thursday, January 31 at 11:59 pm AK.

Contact Elizabeth Hashem at the Seward Chamber of Commerce with any questions: 907.224.8051 or events@seward.com.

Member Spotlight: Seward Subway & Harbor Street Creamery

Q&A With Young Jin Park of Seward Subway and Harbor Street Creamery

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Young Jin Park owns and operates Seward Subway® and the Harbor Street Creamery. Subway not only offers sandwiches, salads, wraps & side dishes, but they also sell Subway To Go box lunches for Alaska adventures. Harbor Street Creamery serves up Cascade Glacier ice cream of all flavors, milkshakes and more. As the owner of the only franchise restaurant in Seward, Mr. Park is happy to serve the community healthy sandwiches and sweet treats all year round. He is also a generous supporter of Seward events such as the Mount Marathon Race, the Halibut Derby and the Silver Salmon Derby.

We recently sat down with Mr. Park to learn more about the journey he has taken as a small business owner in Seward.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

The biggest shipping company in Korea used to own and operate the coal terminal in Seward. I came here in 1999 as the general manager. When they tried to transfer me back to Korea, I had fallen in love with the town and decided to stay. In 2004, the opportunity to take over Subway presented itself. There was only one condition. The previous owner said that it had to be open year-round and that I would have to be in Seward year-round. I agreed and have now been running Subway for almost 15 years!

Mr. Park owns and operates Seward Subway and Harbor Street Creamery year round. Photo by Seward Chamber of Commerce

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

Because Subway is the only franchise in Seward, I feel a responsibility to support the community that supports my business. I always try to think of my customers and my employees first. Subway stays open all year-round mostly because I want my employees to have work all year round. This is why many of my employees have worked with me for 5 to 10 years. I’m proud that many of my employees and patrons are like family to me.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

Working within the framework of a franchise can sometimes be difficult in a small town. There is a balance that needs to be struck between doing what is best for the community and working together with Subway’s larger corporation. Luckily, Subway Alaska’s team is great to work with and understands many of the unique circumstances that arise with doing business in rural Alaska. 

Seward Subway is a proud sponsor of many of Seward’s events such as the Mount Marathon Race. Photo Courtesy of Subway AK

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

Seward has given me so much that I try to contribute to the community as much as I can. I am a strong supporter of youth sports such as The Tsunami Swim Club and Seward Subway contributes a $5000 scholarship to the Seward High School Scholarship program. Seward Subway has always sponsored town events, but this year we were proud to be the exclusive sponsor of the 4th of July Fireworks Display for the Mount Marathon Race. It’s important to me that I give back and support my community.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

I am sometimes told by Subway that we make our sandwiches too big with too many veggies on them, but I don’t care! My customers love that our sandwiches are big and loaded with vegetables.

At the Creamery, a family from Oregon—a state known for its dairies and creameries—told me that they had never expected such good ice cream in Alaska. We use Cascade ice creams from Oregon and I’m proud to give my customers big scoops!

The Harbor Street Creamery is a convenient place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Photo Courtesy of Harbor Street Creamery

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

Staying open in the winter is always a risk. It’s a challenge to find quality employees and make sure they have enough hours to make a good living, especially in the winter. I always push them to continue to improve themselves and push them to find better jobs if they want to, so I’m always looking for new workers. Because of this, I do have employees that are like family and who are always welcome to come back to work for me, even long after they leave.

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

I came from South Korea, which is a small country with a lot of people and a very hectic lifestyle. I like the peace and quiet of Seward and the people are very nice. I’m really happy here and love Seward.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

I appreciate all the business owners who contribute to the town that helps them make their money.

How do you spend your free time?

In the summer I work about 18 hour day, so I only really have free time in the winter. Then, I like to spend time with my family at home.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

This might sound strange, but I really like the schools. I like the calm and quiet of the schools and I also like being a part of everything that’s going on there. My wife and I also really like walking on the waterfront.

Feature Image: Residents and guests take in the firework show sponsored by Seward Subway on the Fourth of July. Photo: Joel Krahn.

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For more information about Seward Subway, contact marketing director Dee Buchanon at dbuchanon@subwayak.com or click here.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.

Seward Tops List of “Most Instagram-Worthy Destinations” in the U.S.

Seward is a photographer’s dream, with towering fjords, dramatic glaciers, rugged coastline and incredible wildlife. So we were thrilled (but not surprised) to see our coastal town top this recent list of the “8 Most Instagram-Worthy Destinations in the United States.”

The scenery surrounding Seward is so stunning it doesn’t seem real. But, oh, it’s as real as ever. Located on a fjord of the Gulf of Alaska called Resurrection Bay, this city is one of the most beautiful in America and was made for Instagram. Have your camera at the ready when you hike through the thick forests of Two Lakes Trail. Trade the woods for the water with a day tour of the gulf, courtesy of Alaska Dream Charters (look out for orcas). If boats aren’t your thing, hop in the car and drive the Kenai Peninsula via Alaska Route 1.

Check out the full list here. Thanks to CarRentals.com for the recognition! 

Feature image: Joel Krahn

 

Join Us For The Seward Music and Arts Festival Oct. 5th-7th!

We are delighted to welcome back the Seward Music and Arts Festival! A favorite celebration of music, creativity, and community returns October 5th-7th. Great tunes, tasty local food, family activities, and artisan craft vendors all come together for the perfect showcase of this seaside town’s deep love of the arts. 

SMAF logo design by artist Rob Ammerman

Now Playing!

This festival is known for an eclectic lineup that has entertainers from a wide variety of genres. There is sure to be something to get everyone dancing, no matter your taste!

Seward band Blackwater Railroad owning the stage at SMAF 2017. Photo credit: @flynnfotography

SMAF begins the evening of Friday, October 5th at 5pm with a dedication to Rockwell Kent, the artist who inspired the “Wilderness” theme of this year’s festival. Following that, the show begins! 

Over the full weekend more than 20 music and performance artists will take the stage. Prepare yourself for some mesmerizing dance moves, enchanting costumes, and immersive art. Get your dancing shoes ready for swingin’ jazz and foot-stompin’ folk. Sweet bluegrass tunes will be mixed in with psychedelic jams, funk, and alternative rock. We are not kidding when we say there is something for everyone – you might even discover a new favorite!

Music will go on late into the evening on Friday and Saturday night with the final artists starting their sets after 11pm. On Sunday the final act goes on at 4, closing out the festival. For a detailed list of artists and set times, check out the SMAF website here.

More than Great Music

Wondering what to do in between sets? SMAF offers a great variety of activities for the whole family:

  • Treat your taste buds to some festival fare including decadent smoked fish spreads, fresh baked goods, mouthwatering spinach bread, and gourmet crepes – just a few of the many delectable options!

    A potential offering by Le Barn Apetit Creperie!
  • After sampling a tasty treat, enjoy a cold brew or glass of wine in the beer garden
  • Check out handmade pottery, jewelry, skincare, fine art, tie dye, and more as you browse the wares of Alaskan artists and artisan craft vendors
  • Get a henna (temporary!) tattoo from the henna artist booth 
  • Visit the Kid’s Area for a fun open play place where the kids can get in the creative spirit. On Saturday the space will be hosted by the Boys & Girls Club with art supplies and additional activities!

SMAF Train – Arrive in Style

The Alaska Railroad is currently offering a can’t-miss package for round-trip travel to SMAF. Departing from Anchorage in the morning, you’ll arrive in Seward just in time for the beginning of the festivities on Saturday. After a full weekend, you’ll head back to Anchorage late Sunday afternoon. 

Not only will you get treated to the gorgeous fall views of the Kenai Peninsula, you’ll have on board entertainment on both legs of your journey. With her breathtaking vocals, Emma Hill will get you feeling inspired to have a weekend filled with amazing performances. On the way back up to Anchorage, Syran will end your Sunday with a unique blend of folk/rock paired with heartfelt lyrics. 

The ticket price of $125 includes your round-trip fare, live music on the train, and entry to the festival on Saturday and Sunday. Besides that, you’ll benefit from free shuttle service around Seward for the weekend along with free Alaska Railroad depot parking. 

This is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up! Book your train tickets here.

Catch fall views like this on the SMAF train! Photo credit: Alaska Railroad

Maximize Your Visit!

Seward is one of the greatest playgrounds Alaska has to offer – you’ll want to take full advantage of this incredible place while you’re here for the weekend. If you need a little change of pace from festival festivities, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you:

  • First things first – energize your morning with an expertly poured cup of coffee from Resurrect Art Coffee House or Frontier Trading Post
  • Fuel up with a hearty breakfast from The Smokeshack or The Breeze Inn
  • Take a scenic cruise in Resurrection Bay! Major Marine Tours is offering a 20% discount for SMAF attendees on their 3.5 hour Wildlife Cruise 
  • Get up close and personal with local wildlife at the Alaska SeaLife Center
  • Walk our Historic Downtown District to visit local shops and galleries
  • The waterfront bike/walking path is a wonderful way to stretch your legs! Watch for wildlife and look for the glaciers peeking out of the mountains

October is a beautiful time of year to find yourself in Seward. Our Music and Arts Festival is such a lively celebration of the creativity that makes this community shine. We hope to see you there!

Join us for the Silver Salmon Derby Aug. 11-19!

The Silvers Are Back!

We’re thrilled to announce that the silver salmon have returned to Resurrection Bay, just in time for the 63rd annual Silver Salmon Derby! This year the Derby begins Saturday, Aug. 11 at 6 am, and runs until Sunday, Aug. 19 at noon. 

Anglers are reporting taking limits both in the outer islands of the bay, and the fishing spots closer to the head of the bay. Across the board, we’re hearing that this year’s returning class is full of big coho! There are plenty of fish to go around, so don’t miss your chance to land some fresh, bright silver salmon! 

Many Ways to Win

We’ve got loads of prizes, including tagged fish (up to $50,000 cash!), prizes for the top 20 heaviest fish overall (up to $10,00 cash!), daily prizes for heaviest fish and random weights, and more! 

Proceeds from the fish buy-back program support our smolt rearing program, in partnership with Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. 

Ticket Info

Daily tickets are $10, or fish all nine days for $50. Purchase your tickets at the Derby booth (across from the Harbormaster’s office near B dock) or The Fish House (1303 Fourth Ave). 

Special thanks to our most generous partners for making this great summer tradition possible!

Visit salmon.seward.com for more info on rules, prizes, and partners.

Follow us on Facebook for daily fishing updates and photos!

Fish on!

 

Member Spotlight: The Nauti Otter Inn and Yurt Village

Q&A With Heather and Clint Davis of The Nauti Otter Inn, Cabins and Hostel

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Recent construction of the Yurt Village has nearly doubled the size of the Nauti Otter Inn, located just outside of Seward at Mile Post 5.  The Nauti Otter Cabins and Hostel offers inexpensive lodging from dorm style bunks to vintage campers to rustic cabins.  One mile away lies the Yurt Village nestled in a forest reminiscent of childhood fairytales.
 
We recently sat down with Heather to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward.
Co-owners Heather and Clint share their love of Seward with their guests. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

Guests love the quirky feel of the inn and the fairytale vibe of the yurt village. Both locations are set up to encourage mingling of travelers. Many have made life-time friends from their time at the Nauti Otter. We have nightly bonfires with s’mores, family-style group dinners, group hikes and various other activities planned to encourage guest interaction.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

I first visited Alaska during the summer of 2008.  Being a school teacher, I took the whole summer to have an “Alaskan Adventure.”  I flew into Anchorage from Texas the day school was out, bought a car and drove to Seward.  I found the Seward Highway location where the owner allowed me and my cousin to work at the inn in return for housing.  When the summer was over, the owner asked me if I wanted to stay all winter as a caretaker. I said “Yes!”, resigned from my teaching position in Texas, flew home, packed bags, and started the journey back to Alaska.  After a few months, the owners offered to sell the inn and I gladly accepted! In 2016 I found my first mate and married Clint. We now own and manage the properties together and hope everyone falls in love with Alaska as much as we have!

Quirky Cabins make guests’ stay in Seward unforgettable. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

We are super excited about finishing the construction of the Yurt Village. It took a lot of hard work to create a fairytale atmosphere in the forest.


What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

“The stay at the Nauti Otter was our most memorable experience in Alaska”. “This is the coolest place we’ve ever stayed!”

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

When we purchased the yurt village property, we had to choose between being safe and starting with a few yurts or go all the way and purchase 12 yurts. We’re glad we decided to go big because we have been filled almost to capacity since the season started.

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

Take chances! When I first bought the inn, I went about it with an attitude of, “Worst case scenario: I can rent the rooms out to roommates to help with the mortgage”. Fortunately, she was able to rent it to nightly travelers and the business succeeded.
Heather and Clint hope to use Seward as a stunning backdrop for destination weddings in the future. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.


What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

Seward is a beautiful town with a close knit community. We also enjoy the laid back lifestyle.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

I admire Rissie Casagranda. She’s a mom, a hard worker, owns her own business, serves as a council member and cares about the city. She went above and beyond to help us find a new property to purchase when we wanted to expand our business.  When we couldn’t find property in Seward, she even drove us to Homer to look there. She stomped through feet of snow, while FaceTiming us during the winter to show us various properties.

How do you spend your free time?

Clint and I travel as much as we can and enjoy seeing what this world as to offer. We love Mexico and the Carribean!Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Thorn’s Showcase Lounge! They created a drink for us called the “Nauti Otter” which is printed on the menu.If your life was a book, what would the title be?

Nauti by Nature – The Davis AdventuresThere are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

We want to visit Katmai State Park and view the bears!

Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?

We are thinking about partnering up with Marathon Helicopters and offering wedding packages. We have our first wedding this summer. If all goes well, you will find us all over the US offering destination wedding packages.

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Feature Image: Sunlight plays on the roof of the fairytale Yurt Village. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

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For more information about The Nauti Otter click here or call (907) 491-2255.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.

Member Spotlight: Flynn Fotography

Q&A With Kally (Flynn) DiMarzio of Flynn Fotography

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Kally (Flynn) DiMarzio is a wedding and family photographer, specializing in adventure elopements and small intimate weddings. Born and raised in Juneau, she turned her love of photography from a hobby into a business, and in 2012 Flynn Fotography was born. From local families updating their family portrait, to a couple from the Midwest eloping to Alaska to tie the knot on a glacier, to a couple from the other side of the Peninsula who are planning a wedding with 20 of their closest friends and family; her clients are go-with-the-flow and up for anything, which is how Kally creates works of art encapsulating special moments in each photo.

We recently sat down with Kally to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward.

An avid adventurer, Kally uses the natural scenic beauty of Alaska to create lasting memories for her clients. Photo Courtesy of Flynn Fotography.

What do you like most about living and working in Seward? 

I am a life-long Alaskan girl, raised in Juneau.  I love LOVE. I love LOVE stories. I love my husband. I love adventuring. I love camping and fishing. I love trail running with my dogs in the rain. I love yoga. I love good lighting. I mean, I really love good lighting. I really love capturing love and life by way of photography. Seward is one of the few places where all of my loves coexist. 

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

A boy brought me to Seward; I met my husband Ken in Juneau and we started our journey to Seward in April of 2016. We opened business as a new charter company, Seward Maritime, with our boat, Point Retreat. We primarily work with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking to take visitors into the Kenai Fjords National Park. Along with helping to manage the charter company, I’m building a client base for my photography business in Seward.

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

Starting the business itself was a risk. It’s been six years now and I’m happy I took the risk.

Whether it’s family portraits or weddings, Kally captures natural and scenic moments. Photo Courtesy of Flynn Fotography.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

My specialty is small outdoor intimate weddings and elopements. I am so lucky to have the greatest clients that are open for anything. I have been known to jump in and play hairstylist, makeup artist, chauffeur, wedding planner, even the officiant! Whatever it takes.

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

During my first few years of business in Juneau, before moving to Seward, the community voted and awarded me 1st Place as “Juneau’s Favorite Photographer”. That reassured me that I made the right choice in starting Flynn Fotography.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

The trails in and around Seward are spectacular. I’m happy on any trail with my pups and husband.

Feature Image: Kally’s eye for beauty creates stunning photographs with a natural backdrop. Photo Courtesy of Flynn Fotography.

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For more information about Flynn Fotography, click here or call 907.723.6195.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.