Palmer Buzz

Peonies are budding and blossoming. Their huge heads are glorious in their bountiful beauty. I can’t stop painting them. And they are just in time for next week’s Mid Summer Garden Fair, sponsored by the Palmer Chamber of Commerce for the Palmer Museum and Visitor’s Center. The fair will be outside with local food, live musicians and artists, vibrant gardens, and beautiful art in downtown Palmer, Alaska on July 11th, 2020.

Memory Scent—The abundance of peonies, poppies and roses take over as the lilacs move on. We had an amazing lilac time and the peonies and roses now come to the front of the floral production. All three of these showy flowers have the added benefit of “memory scents,” which make them even more significant. Everyone remembers the smell of lilacs and roses…..from a past memory. Perhaps it was an auntie or a parent who grew them. One whiff of their aroma and immediately you are transported back to a time before. Not only is their visual beauty a joyful moment, but your nose remembers too.

Palmer North End Is Popping—It’s uptown Palmer and it’s a hot spot now. The old renovated Hartley Motors Garage, across from the skate-board park, seems to always be busy. Over the last few weeks this location is buzzing. Poppy Lane and 203 Kombuchu are the two retailers in the historic building. Both places have their individual followings. Add the opening of the Reuben Haus and you have the full synergy of a cool town spot, serving the needs of quite a crowd. Another benefit is the outdoor eating areas, landscaping, and general ambiance of a hip spot.

Families, teens, millennials, Moms, and everyone else are driving in to the well paved and friendly parking lot. Others are walking or biking on the convenient bike trails for a visit. This is an example of creating a successful destination. Smart businesses and an interesting location, working together to create a new and desired “port of call.”

The 203 Kombuchery has grown its own organic charm with its’ delicious and healthy homegrown product and chill atmosphere. There is a delightful gritty decor, young urban art, board games, vinyl records, open mic and well made tables and chairs. The large garage door is thrown up so it feels spacious and open. This nice alcohol-free place is a big win for Palmer.

Also on the North Side, on West Arctic Street, is another active location in Palmer. Backcountry Bike and Ski is a wonderful anchor in this part of town. Directly across the street is Pizza Ria Delphi restaurant, which has a long and loyal following. In this building is also the Wood & Wire Guitar Store, Tattoo Parlor, Dream Nails, Revive Aesthetics, and Alpenglow Hair Studio. Internally, Forget Me Not Boutique has moved into the Alpenglow Hair Salon to offer trendy and classic clothing to customers. This is another terrific example of group synergy when various complimentary small retailers work together to create a well-planned convergence of shopping experiences.

The collective planning is the basis of successful small towns, as is obvious on Palmer’s main street’s shopping area. Good food, nice shops, services, sidewalks, landscaping, all work well. Now we have several different Palmer nodes, spreading out destinations around town. And the best part is that the whole Palmer area is walkable with interesting amenities in-between. Go Palmer!

Hello July!—The planned Palmer Calendar still isn’t functional because of Corona Days. However, it appears that the Midsummer Outdoor Garden Faire, First Friday Celebration, Car Launch, and 4th of July festivities may occur at some level. There will also be some sidewalk chalk events, fishing, biking, bubble-blowing, hiking, outdoor concerts and camps always available. The Palmer library is reopening with different hours. All of these events need to be considered carefully and with precautions as the Covid-19 continues to spread in our community. Personal discretion and social distancing is encouraged for the good of all. Stay Safe!

Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Her “Palmer Buzz Community Calendar” is available at Palmer shops and the Palmer museum. Contact at or text 907.315.3222

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