The Kenai visitor centre has a small museum with lots of interesting exhibits, I rather fell for these beautiful beaded gloves
Around the corner from the visitor centre is old town Kenai, originally home to Russian fur traders and native Kenaitze indians.
We parked by The Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, which, according to the information board, is designed in classic Pskov vessel or ship pattern and is a fine example of a Russian village church.
When we were there (in May) the church was closed, parts of it are rotten, the local parish, Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska and the National Park Service are developing a plan for the church’s preservation.
From 1841 The Holy Assumption Orthodox Church has been an important landmark in this part of Alaska and over the years has served as a school, judiciary, social and welfare centre.
Nearby, overlooking the inlet is the Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel which was built in 1906 over the graves of Igumen Nicholai (1810 - 1867), Makary Ivanov (1835 – 1878) & others.
The church, chapel and rectory are examples of Russian style architecture on the far western frontier.
Close by is the Oskolkof/Dolchok house, built from hand hewn logs by farmer John Oskolkof around 1918, it became the Dolchok home in 1945. These days it’s Veronicas Coffee House, naturally we tried it out for lunch. DB had a half beef and cheddar sandwich and coffee, I had a vegetarian wrap and hot chocolate, by then we were rather full, so we had a piece of Hawaiian carrot cake to go. If you’re in old town Kenai, it’s a great place for lunch.
Our last stop in old town Kenai was Erik Hansen Scout Park, overlooking the Kenai river and Cook Inlet.
The Kenai River flows for 150 miles from high in the Harding Icefield and Kenai mountain range through gorges, forests, wetlands and lowland spruce forests before joining the Cook Inlet. Fresh water and salt water meet as the river joins the inlet and high tides can carry salt water 12 miles up river.
Beluga whales, harbour seals and occasional Orca’s hunt in the Cook Inlet during, Spring, Summer and Autumn and Scout Park is a good spot to see them, sadly not the day we were there. It’s also a good spot for volcano viewing as on a clear day you can see Mount Redoubt, Mount Illiamna and Mount Augustine.
Have fun, we are!