Western Traveler

Ashland, Oregon

One of the really fun things about exploring totally new areas is the fact that on early visits you get to see a variety of areas, natural and developed.  After my friends the Campbell’s moved from Utah to Oregon a whole new region was made available for me to see and enjoy. Ashland #11 Shortly after my arrival we took a day to check out a very interesting town named Ashland (originally called Ashland Mills), not be confused with the area in eastern Kentucky of the same name.  With that in mind,  the town founders did derive the name from relatives who were from that area.

The Oregon town sits in the foothills of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges at only 1,949 feet above sea level, a huge drop down from what I’d gotten used to on my Utah visits. Needless to say, no altitude acclimation needed here. This town of just over 20,000 residents is just north of the California border and can be accessed via I-5.  Oregon Route 99 takes you right through downtown where you can find tons of fun stuff to do.

You’ll find a lovely assortment of specialty shops, restaurants and places to “wet your whistle”. Speaking of, we stopped for a quick snack & brew at the Standing Stone Brewery in downtown Ashland.  This brief and enjoyable stopover was the perfect way to begin our exploration. Ashland #1 Ashland #2 For starters, Ashland is famous regionally for their Annual Shakespeare Festival which produces 11 plays on three stages throughout their season which runs from February through October.  The entertainment doesn’t stop there however as you’ll also find a dinner theater known as the Oregon Cabaret Theater (in the old First Baptist Church building) and the Ashland Independent Film Festival which takes place in April in the Varsity Theater downtown. Ashland #4 Ashland #3 We checked out the Shakespeare theater facility even though there were no plays going on and cruised from there directly into a beautiful adjacent park, complete with playground, walking trails, stream with wildlife and picnic areas.  My friends’ little girl, Aleutia had a great time next to the stream studying all the wildlife there.  Thanks to Ma & Pa Campbell she’s already a big fan of the outdoors. Ashland #5 Ashland #6 One especially interesting find was their lithium fountain, seriously.  You could take a sip of the water and experience for yourself the very horrible taste.  The good thing about their fountain was that they had a fresh water nozzle right across from the nasty one.  For the record, I did taste the lithium water.  If I’d had a Bucket List of things to try, this would NOT have been on it. Ashland #7 One of the highlights of my visit to Ashland was the stopping off at a very fun English Pub (British Public House) called The Black Sheep that Jeff had told me about for months.  The decor is certainly an eye-catcher and the food is great.  I had a dish called Scotch Egg which was super spicy, loaded with flavor and totally different than anything I’d ever had before.  The depth and variety of their menu is extraordinary and practically screams at you to return time and time again to sample more of their offerings, something I hope to do on future visits. Ashland #9 Adding to the great food is a wonderful assortment of “adult beverages” ranging from draft beers (Ales), to ciders to fine wines.  One could easily visit The Black Sheep daily and spend a lot of time exploring their fares. Ashland #10 We finished up our visit to Ashland by cruising the streets of town before heading back home for the night.  We left Ashland listening to the many musicians and singers performing along the street, nice way to finish up the day. Ashland #8 If you decide to visit Ashland make sure to enjoy some of the other attractions in the area; rafting on the Rogue River, Crater Lake National Park, First Friday Artwalk and Emigrant Lake.

Last modified on: January 27th 2015.
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