Checking out of the Lithia Springs Resort on Thursday, our 5th and final day, we proceeded back to the center of Ashland, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival venue, where we were to be given a backstage tour of the festival venue. What a perfectly fitting bookend to our five days in Oregon. Starting out with lunch and a tour, followed by the performance of Hairspray on our first day….and ending with a tour of the OSF Theatre.
The tour started with a presentation and history of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, founded in 1935 by Angus Bowmer. Today, there are upwards of 800+ performances during the March-October season, and next year is sure to be extra special, as the festival celebrates its 80th anniversary!
Following the presentation, we were split into groups, and wouldn’t you know it, but OUR guide was one of the lead actress from Hairspray! We were toured throughout the theatre complex. The intricacies of running a production---stage set up and tear down-getting ready for the evening performance-behind the scenes-the cues that are given-costume changes (and sterilizing…did you know that costumes are sprayed with vodka to keep them sterile! And only dry cleaned 3 times a season). It is mind boggling what goes into the successful production of a play……..and we, the audience, are privileged to see the final product!
The tour ended with us, on-stage, at the Elizabethan Theatre. What better ending, on a perfect Fall day…looking out at the seats as the actors and actresses do every night……bringing laughter and tears to all those who are fortunate enough to attend one or more of the performances during the season.
But wait! That’s not quite all! One more meal to go, just around the corner from The OSF, at Sesame Asian Kitchen: Lunch Time!
Small and unpretentious, their menu “is inspired by the various cultures of the Far East, representing a fusion of cuisines from the South China Seas. We incorporate fresh Asian vegetables, free-range meats, and house-blended spices with other specialty ingredients to create seasonal menus.” To compliment the flavors of the food, Sesame Asian Kitchen also features hand crafted cocktails. So, as a salute to Ashland, I simply had to have the lemongrass margarita---and oh, was it GOOD! I shared shrimp tacos with Robin who ordered Vietnamese Fish & Chips....and as good and fresh as the fish was…the chips, along with the dipping sauce, was amazing. Everyone had a good meal and a good time…..and try as we did to stretch things out…..the bewitching hour came to leave for the airport!
POSTSCRIPT: Afternoon of departure! Such a perfect trip, (with only a flat tire), ended with quite a laugh! My suitcase decided NOT to make it from Medford Airport (with all of 6 gates) to Los Angeles-at least not right away. When I finally got my suitcase 3 days later….it had gone from Medford to Seattle, to San Francisco to Indianapolis…..and then back again…..to Dallas, to San Francisco FINALLY arriving safe and sound in Los Angeles! Wish I had gotten frequent flyer miles!
A special thank you to Cori Solomon of the LA Wine Writers, and Katharine Cato of Travel Ashland for putting this amazing trip together. And to the winemakers, chefs, restaurant owners, vintners and everyone who made this so fun, educational, enjoyable and tasty! And of course, to my other travel companions: Danielle, Tamara, Robin, Andrew, Patricia, and Barbara! “Happy trails to you…..until we meet again.”