A Welcoming Vibe ~ Ashland, OR

Since we visited the Oregon coast three years ago we have dreamt of returning to explore more of what has become one of our favorite states. Ashland has long been a city on our must-see list, with several friends agreeing that it was a special place. Knowing that our RV buddies Laurel and Eric (Raven and Chickadee) were there when we arrived made it that much sweeter.

Emigrant Lake
Emigrant Lake

Once we settled into our site at Emigrant Lake Recreation Area, my first request was a visit to urgent care to ensure that Terry’s shortness of breath and near constant pain was nothing more than bruised ribs from an earlier fall. Thankfully that was the diagnosis so now we could move on to having some fun, albeit at a slower pace for a while. A lovely dinner that evening at Laurel and Eric’s home set the tone for a very relaxing week.

Although unexpected circumstances like bruised ribs and unseasonably hot weather that settled in later in the week changed our plans, as in no hiking or biking for several days, slowing things down a bit allowed us to become the typical tourists and enjoy some quality time with friends.

Laurel and Eric were gracious hosts to their home city, taking us on a lovely hike through Lithia Park, a beautiful city park that I would love to revisit in the fall when the maple trees are at their peak colors. Laurel also shared some of her longtime girlfriends with me, inviting me to a day of arts and crafts where I took away some colorful artwork to brighten up our little Fox.

Lovely Lithia Park
Lovely Lithia Park

First Friday found Terry and I wandering the downtown streets to explore interesting galleries, talk to the artists, and listen to the joyful music of Zimbabwe performed by Sonic Kaleidoscope…great fun! We enjoyed dinner and drinks at the Standing Stone Brewery, where Steel Cut Stout won for favorite brew.

We returned to downtown Ashland several more times, visiting the Saturday farmers’ market, the artisans’ market, and the Ashland Co-op. From the quaint coffee shops we visited in the Historic Railroad District, to the farmers’ market, the artisans’ market, and the wonderful Ashland Co-op, the welcoming nature of the locals confirmed our belief that there was something special about this lovely city. And the folks at Mix make some darn fine gelato. I loved the chocolate truffle and Terry the salted caramel but we both agreed that mixing the two was heaven in a cup!

Ashland may be best known for its Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which runs nine months of the year. We hoped for last minute tickets for the show Pericles, which we were told was a must-see, but unfortunately there were none to be had. What we enjoyed instead was a free performance at the Green Show, the last performance of the season by Sonic Kaleidoscope. It was a joy to watch these talented grade school and high school kids playing the marimba for their final performance of the season. The only downside was the temperature was hovering around 100°. One last stop to sample a flight at Caldera Brewery seemed to be what was needed to slake our thirst on a hot Ashland day. The Pilot Rock Porter seemed to win the taste-test for both of us.

The best part of our week, the gift that fed both body and soul, was enjoying a lovely dinner our last night in Ashland with Laurel and Eric, at friends Ted and Katherine’s home. We had met Ted and Kath at Anza Borrego this past winter and they are delightful.

Their fabulous home has breathtakingly expansive views, beautiful gardens, a lovely little vineyard, and some of the most spectacular sunset views right off the deck. Their generosity was so heartwarming, making our time in Ashland special indeed.