Ashland, Oregon, less than 20 miles north of the California state line is easily accessible by flying into Medford, Oregon. This small town, possibly most well-known for the annual Shakespeare festival, boasts a small, friendly community where you will discover art, music, beauty, culture, food, wine, parks and Pacific Northwest friendliness.
After arriving at Medford Airport, driving into Ashland, Oregon, our group of wine, food and travel writers were greeted with the beauty of fall colors. Becoming acquainted over lunch at the Brickroom, this newer restaurant (opened in 2016), is located in an historic 1866 building, adjacent to Lithia Park. Featuring culinary creations by Chef Skye Elder (2017 Ashland Culinary Festival Top Chef), and bar creations by Blake Henry (2016 Ashland Culinary Festival Top Mixologist and 2018 third place honors), this was the perfect way to begin our five days of exploration.
Following lunch, walking off the calories we had just consumed, we were treated to a tour of Historic Downtown Ashland and Lithia Park—an urban park, bright with Fall Colors, streams, fountains, numerous walking paths and even a duck pond (of course, for the Oregon Ducks)! Strolling through this bucolic park, you truly become immersed in the beauty of nature.
Sated by food and wine, energized by our tour of Historic Ashland and Lithia Park, we then checked into the sophisticated Ashland Springs Hotel. This boutique hotel in downtown Ashland, is walking distance from just about anywhere you want to go. Built in the early part of the 20th century, The Ashland Springs Hotel resonates old world charm, and a bygone era.
Awhile later, our group re-convened at Lark’s Restaurant, inside the hotel. Welcoming and unpretentious, the menu features choices that are a combination of eclectic creativity, and comfort food. Beautifully presented, Lark’s prides themselves of fresh, farm to table ingredients, and local wines. Each dish, individually prepared-showing off the bounty and taste of Oregon.
Following dinner we were off to the Angus Bowmer Theatre…..for a performance of Hairspray! Fun and high energy, this was a perfect way to end the day. Depending on time of year, there are up to about a dozen performances that may take place every day….ranging from Shakespeare to comedy, music and of course musicals! Open from March-October, through its 80+ years of putting on performances, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival receives national and international acclaim.
Arriving back at our hotel about 11:00pm…..we had time to finally unwind, lay back, and get a good night’s sleep...............to be continued