RoadTrippin’: Slowing down in Seldovia

Published: May. 29, 2018 at 5:13 PM AKDT
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One of the first things you learn when arriving in Seldovia is you don’t have to rush. Most cell phones don’t work. It’s a chance to disconnect.

“A few of us locals call it 'Slow-dovia,'” says Perley Morrison, a self-described jack of all trades, master of none. In reality, he started a cab company in town, which his wife now runs, while Morrison has started a mill in his yard. “We're kind of on our own pace here. (It's) one of the advantages of living off the road system. It's not, ‘I have to get in the car and drive to Walmart,’ or here or there. You do your shopping and then you come home and you're home.”

Originally settled by Alaska Natives, Seldovia became a port for Russia in the 1840s. Through the years, the taking of various natural resources — sea otters, crab, herring — has made for a boom-and-bust economy.

Once a town of approximately 3,000 residents, today Seldovia is home to less than 500. It’s clear that the people who choose to live here love the lifestyle.

“When my husband retired, we wanted to experience a real simpler lifestyle and connect with nature and this is it.” says Suzie Stranik, owner of Thyme on the Boardwalk, a garden nursery and gift shop. “Seldovia is a paradise for that.”

“We're just a small community, and try to live like Alaskans are supposed to live,” says Morrison. “We have a lot of fun here. The ocean’s right here. What a resource for some really healthy foods. Lots of gardening. We do a little gardening ourselves, and Seldovia is just an ultimate place for berries. When the berries are good we have blueberries, salmon berries, raspberries, currant berries, it's just a great spot.”

Even with the slower pace of life, Seldovia is looking for growth, but Stranik says it’s a challenge. “Our opportunity, our window is just four months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day where we have a lot of commerce so it's hard to attract a business when there's only four months to make a living.”

“We seem to be getting a lot of people that work off computers and they just come here,” Morrison added. “What a place to have a job like that.”