Greetings from Seward, Alaska!
A common question asked of Alaskans is “How did you end up in Alaska.” Some, of course, were born here, but most Alaskans come up here for work or vacation and never go back. Lori and I were actually looking for a new home when we found Alaska.
Your Hosts–Tom and Lori Swann
We married after graduating from college, and set a long-term plan in motion. In 10 years we would stop whatever we were doing, liquidate our assets, and set sail for faraway lands. In the mid 90’s we set sail along with our nine-year-old son. We had no time frame and no specific destination.
Most cruising sailors buy a boat and set sail for warmer climates. Likewise we started in the Caribbean, and worked our way through Central America and Hawaii. However we then turned northward with the plan to spend a part of two summers and a winter in Alaskan waters.
After eighteen days at sea we made land fall on Kodiak Island. With our first sight of Alaska’s wooded mountains rising out of the blue-gray ocean waves, we knew that we had found our next home. This is a magical land, the Great Land, with its raw beauty of towering glacier-capped mountains cascading into the sea. We spent hours watching the glaciers drop huge chunks of ice into the water, the antics of the full bellied puffins running along the surface of the water trying to gain flight; the eagles, majestic and symbolic, were everywhere. The wild life here is incredible–whales, bear, otter, moose, wolf, ravens, sea lions and more are all abundant.
The first order of business was to find a place to winter over. After spending a few weeks in Kodiak and Homer, we sailed into Resurrection Bay and saw Seward for the first time. When you visit Seward, you will be visiting one of the most beautiful places on earth. Seward has all the best things that Alaska has to offer. Its small town atmosphere just invites you to dive into its history. For the first half of the1900’s Seward was the gateway to central Alaska with its ice-free harbor and railhead for the Alaska Railroad. The Historic Iditarod trail starts in Seward. The town is nestled in an incredibly beautiful valley, and offers hiking, kayaking, biking, sailing, fishing, flight seeing, horseback riding, glaciers, wildlife, and dog sledding. The town itself is unique with its historic downtown filled with neat little shops. We fell in love and knew when we were finished sailing we would make our home here.
|S.V. Mirage in front of Northwest Glacier|
The following year when we headed south for Mexico then the South Pacific, we still felt the same way. We spent another two years living the cruising life on the tropical islands and palm covered atolls of French Polynesia. Then we headed back north, stopping in Hawaii before arriving finally in California where we sold Mirage, our forty-one foot Choey Lee sailboat and home of five years. We then moved permanently to Seward. How we ended up owning and restoring a Historic building and operating an Inn is another story. When you are traveling, if you like meeting interesting people and sharing stories after a day of sightseeing, then I hope you will stop by for a visit.
– Tom & Lori Swann