The world renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival may have put Ashland, Oregon on the map, but there’s big city culture waiting to be discovered in this quaint, historic town. In other words, lots of chances to ‘Eat, drink and be merry’…
“We shall…eat, and make good cheer.” William Shakespeare, King Henry the Fourth…
You could say about Ashland ‘So many restaurants, so little time’! With over 88 restaurants in the tiny town, visitors can take their pick of culinary delights. In the upcoming Ashland Culinary Festival, November 2-4th, produced by the Ashland Visitor & Convention Bureau, over thirty vendors show their talents and creativity using local wine and produce and eight outstanding local chefs compete, including a ‘best desserts’ competition. Oh yum!
The Rogue Valley Grower’s Market, offering fresh, local produce, baked goods, flowers, high quality crafts and more, continues into November, three mornings a week. Check out their schedule and locations on their website.
Making good cheer…
For those who enjoy wine and wine tasting, the area boasts 88 wineries within an hour’s drive. The 250 varietals of grapes grown in the region make the area one of the most diverse winegrowing regions in the world. The Southern Oregon Winery Association hosts lots of events, tours and tastings to promote this Rogue Valley growing asset.
Two microbreweries, Caldera Brewing Company and Standing Stone Brewing Company and Cascade Peaks Spirits, Oregon’s first certified organic distillery, featuring vodka, gin and whiskey, round out the ‘be merry’ category.
The town also offers live music, art galleries and interesting shops to browse in. The Ashland Gallery Association organizes the First Friday Art Walk the first Friday of each month for both locals and visitors to enjoy the art galleries while sampling food, wine and more.
We enjoyed staying downtown so that we could walk to the theater and stroll through town, enjoying its ambience, shops and restaurants. We stayed at the Plaza Inn and Suites, right in the heart of town. The creek rushes by at the back of the hotel and we meandered on the creek side path to town.
The Inn provided a full hot breakfast each morning with eggs, toast and bagels, waffles, cereals, fruit and yogurt. And in the evening, right after the theater, they put out yummy cookies and snacks. Check out their website for specials.
Visitors interested in outdoor fun—can sample everything from skiing, hiking, cycling, white water rafting, kayaking, and fishing. Ten lakes, five major rivers and ten golf courses can be reached within an hour’s drive.
And finally, back to Theater…
“All the world’s a stage…” William Shakespeare, As You Like It
Visitors can enjoy plays 365 days a year. In addition to Shakespeare, American musicals, comedies and experimental theater add variety to the theater going opportunities.
And here’s some free theater fun for the whole family. The Green Show offers a diverse array of genres outside at the Courtyard Stage in a forty-five minute early evening show. During our visit, we saw families with young children and senior citizens all laughing, enjoying themselves and being thoroughly entertained.
Fall is always a great time to travel—the crowds are gone and the prices are lower than in the summer. And Ashland’s location at the base of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges at nearly 2,000 feet in elevation, gives the region four mild yet distinct seasons.
That means crisp clear days and bright fall foliage in the weeks ahead, a perfect time to meander down the streets of downtown, enjoy the shops, restaurants and theater, or stroll through ninety-three acre Lithia Park, Southern Oregon’s oldest park, savoring a picnic by the sparkling creek.
Discover how much beauty and rich culture this little town can pack into your visit. With so much to do and see for all ages and all budgets, don’t miss putting Ashland into your travel plans and fall is a perfect time to go.
Diane Covington 2012