229 is a shape shifter. In the winter, it’s a community gathering place, with knitting circles, movie nights, sled dog hitching posts in the gravel parking lot, and a simple menu of soups, sandwiches and extraordinary baked goods (the pastry chef got her training in France and is certified member of the European Pastry Union). In the summer, 229 Parks turns into one of Alaska’s most exciting fine-dining establishments. Locally grown produce is the reason why. What’s in season, and the whims of the kitchen, dictate what’s on the ever-changing menu. Green beans were in season when I was last there, and they made crisp, steamy plate companions for the rosemary skewered Alaskan halibut with the herb and feta phyllo bundles and the prosciutto wrapped rack of elk rubbed with a juniper marinade. Carrots, leaks, tomatoes and zucchini were also in season, and they, along with sun dried tomato pesto, goat cheese, and phyllo, were put to splendid use in the roasted vegetable napolean. On the ligher and more affordable side of the menu, you might find locally grown red peppers, scallions, carrots, diakon, mint, cilantro, and baby mizuna stuffed into the vegan spring rolls. Or you might get one glistening, crunchy piece of organic lettuce folded beneath the freshly baked bun of a free-range ground sirloin burger. Highly recommended.

One warning: You'll need a car (or taxi) to get here, bad news if you're one of the visitors who arrived on the train and is relying on shuttles to get around.