Wilderness, Fine Dining All in Harmony Riversong Lodge

Reed Travel Features

ANCHORAGE -- Sixty-five miles almost due north of here is a wilderness lodge with a difference.

The difference lies not in the fishing, the spectacular scen-ery or the wildlife-viewing opportunities it affords guests.

Most wilderness inns offer that much.

What sets the Riversong Lodge apart is the quality of its cuisine and the stature of its chef, Kirsten Dixon.

Dixon, the co-owner of the place (with husband, Carl) as well as its food preparer, has something of a storied career.

In recent years, she has been named one of the 10 best chefs in the area by Pacific Northwest magazine and one of the 10 best new chefs in the nation by Esquire magazine.

She was honored by the James Beard Foundation and was named a Culinary Legend by the House of Blues, the popular nightclub chain, for whom she prepared menus and served as a guest chef.

It is hardly surprising that people on flightseeing trips into Denali National Park often stop off at the Riversong Lodge for dinner on their way back to Anchorage.

The rustic facility can be reached only by float plane; there are no roads around.

It sits on the Yentna River, near Finger Lake at the mile-194 checkpoint of the annual 1,100-mile Iditarod dogsled race.

On the afternoon of March 3, guests at the lodge can expect to see the first of the Iditarod mushers pass through the checkpoint; the race starts in downtown Anchorage on March 1.

A winter weekend package (Friday to Sunday), including air from Anchorage, all meals and accommodations, costs $485 per person.

A two-day package that features all of the above plus unlimited use of the lodge's winter equipment, including snowmobiles, costs $750 per person.

Winter packages of up to seven days in length are available into April.

Prices rise by $250 per day from the two-day price.

In the summertime, fishing becomes the activity of choice at Riversong.

The icy waters of the Yentna and the many other streams and rivers of the upper Susitna Valley are the ideal environment for a number of species of fish.

King salmon run from late May until early July and sockeye from mid-June to the end of July.

Pink salmon can be found in July and August. Chum salmon have one of the longest seasons, from early July into September, and silver salmon are found in the area from about the last week of July until the early part of September.

Arctic grayling, northern pike and rainbow trout can be taken year-round, the trout on a catch-and-release basis only.

For price details and brochures or to make reservations, contact the lodge's marketing office at 2463 Cottonwood St., Anchorage 99508, or call (907) 274-2710; fax (907) 277-6256.

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