Ashland Oregon

Whenever we driving through Oregon, we like to stop in Ashland Oregon.

This pretty little city has streets lined with interesting boutiques and art galleries (especially the large, multi-floor Ashland Art Center which houses numerous studios in addition to galleries) and pretty B&Bs within walking distance of the town.

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Ashland is also alive with the Sound of Music as street musicians are interspersed the city’s main streets.

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The city’s primary draw, and the thing that allows a relatively small city to draw so many tourists, is the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Throughout the season, dozens of plays are staged in each of the festival’s four theaters. HINT: Before you buy theater tickets, ask your B&B if they have access to discounted tickets.

If you have tickets for a play, or even you don’t, early evening is a great time to stroll Main Street and the city square, browse through the shops and galleries, and listen to the wonderful street musicians.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

In September 2018, we caught a Idris Goodwin play, “The Way the Mountain Moved”. This play, staged in the Utah Territory in the mid-19th century just after the Mexican-American War, opened with a team of soldiers and scientists sent by the government to survey potential route for the transcontinental railroad. The team was somehow dispersed by a contrived, undefined plot device that consisted of loud, high-pitched tones that pierced the theaters. The real story consisted of the wanderings of the individual party members and the wide range of people they encountered along the way. These included a black Mormon couple, a women and daughter in search of their recently kidnapped son, a couple of potentially violent bandits, two mutes, a Mexican stranded in the newly American territory and of course, an assortment of Native Americans.

The story was how a dispersed soldier and scientists ran into each other and how other disparate characters had to combine into unusual alliances to survive this inhospitable place. While the play generally held our interest throughout (other than for the plot device), it ended with another seemingly artificial scene of two Native-American sisters pondering how the rapidly growing stream of entrants would alter their ways of lives and how they should respond. Like other reviewers, we left the theater unsatisfied with this world premier. Maybe it will get better with some rewriting before it moves onto another venue.

Ashland Restaurants (compilation of multiple stays)

Alchemy Restaurant and Bar (reviewed 2018)

Alchemy houses one of the most popular wine and cocktail bars in town. No surprise given its lovely two-level garden and its enormous selection of wines and spirits that are offered by the glass and its much larger, Oregon-centric list of wines by the bottle.

We split two savory dishes followed by dessert. The savories consisted of broiled diver scallops with enoki mushrooms, ginger and huckleberries and a halibut fillet served with brown butter sauce, huckleberries, morel mushrooms and nori powder. Both were reasonably tasty, although not particularly worthy of a return visit. Three things, however, were worthy of a return. First was the inspired wine list, from which we chose an Oregon Pinot Noir, a very nice, full-bodied 2015 Bergstrom from Gregory Ranch in Willamette Valley’s Yamhill-Carlton District. Second was the service and third the decadent, brown butter shortbread tart with brown butter custard, vanilla ice cream and seasonal huckleberries.

Amuse Restaurant (reviewed 2014)

We split one appetizer, one entree and one desert:

  • Chicken Liver Mousse with pickled cherries, peaches, radish and plum on a slice of fried focaccia;
  • Sous vide salmon with chanterelles, corn, bacon, berries and watercress sauce; and
  • Corn ice cream with local berries (rasp, black and blue) with oak crumble.

While we enjoyed all three (while the ice cream was not as rich as we would have expected, the accompaniments complimented it beautifully). The standout, however, was the salmon–absolutely perfectly done (to 120 degrees) and again, perfectly complemented with the bacon and fresh local produce.

We enjoyed a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: Stoller 2010 Reserve Pinot. Although it was a bit light (in color, body and its bright red fruit), the wine was well balanced with a smooth finish. It was good enough to prompt us to add Stoller to our Willamette Valley winery must-visit list.

Ashland Hotels (compilation of multiple stays)

Bayberry Inn Bed and Breakfast (stayed 2018)

Bayberry Inn is a lovely bed and breakfast that is a short walk from the main Ashland town. Some people are born hosts, and Franchesca, the delightful owner, is one of them. She is more than happy to help you in any way. Homemade cookies and sherry are available along with coffee and tea in the sitting area. Full breakfast at 9. If you are bothered by street noise (we aren’t), you may not like the room we have as it is by the road. Just ask for a quieter room. Ashland was in the 90s when we were there but the AC kept up just fine. Franchesca sometimes has discounted tickets to some of the plays. Ask and you may be rewarded. But make your reservations early. We found that some of our fellow travelers book here year after year

Abigail’s Bed & Breakfast Inn (stayed 2014)

Within a short walk from the town plaza, where one could find restaurants and theater. It gives you an opportunity to walk a little, which we always like. This was like an old fashion bed and breakfast. Place filled with a traditional style furniture. Flowered wallpaper on the walls. While the decorating was very old fashion, it was clean and the room had what we needed. The bed was too soft for our tastes. While we could regulate the room temperature, the lowest temperature was 70. I get why, but the room was a little too warm for sleeping well. Breakfast was at 9. The common areas had a good selection of coffee and tea, red velvet cookies, and other little sweets. Bottom line, nothing really wrong with it, but I’d try another place next time. My back will appreciate it.

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