Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ashland Oregon...Shakespeare, Crater Lake, Wine Tasting, Shopping

Friday, May 22, we were off to Ashland OR. We stopped briefly to buy fresh cherries along the way and encountered a little rain for one of Pat’s stints behind the wheel. We didn't get to see Mt Shasta, but noted that Shasta Lake seemed a bit surprise given the drought. 
Shasta Lake...a bit light on water
We arrived  safe and sound in Ashland in the late afternoon. We enjoyed dinner at Martino’s - a Viognier from Pebblestone with a lobster risotto (Pat) and smoked salmon ravioli (Bill).

Lobster Risotto
Smoked Salmon Ravioli in a
Fresh Tomato Sauce

Saturday we wandered around town, discovering that Ashland is a sister city of Guanajuato MEX (our neigboring city). We realized this as we shopped the artisan market along the creekside "Calle Guanajuato”. (FYI: “Calle" is “Street” in Spanish.) After a little shopping we had lunch at a Brew Pub and stopped at an Enoteca (wine tasting room) for a light dinner and music.
Two of the four theaters in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Group
On Sunday we toured the Applegate Wine Valley near Jacksonville, a quaint town with interesting 1850’s architecture.  
Six wineries later (3 made the short list - Troon, Cowhorn, and John Michael Champagne Cellars), with a pizza lunch at Dancin Vineyards, we returned to Ashland and enjoyed our dinner seated at the bar at Lark’s.  
Countryside View

The "short" list
Monday we ventured off to Crater Lake. Along the way short hikes take you to waterfalls and an area, including a stream, strewn with boulders. A bit further along a walk along the Rogue River Gorge reveal some oddities, a living tree stump (living off roots that are interconnected with a living tree, and a natural bridge where the water suddenly disappears only to reappear about 30 feet further downstream. 
At Mill Creek Falls
The stream strewn with boulders
The dark blue water in the caldera and the lingering winter’s snow made the Crater Lake stop memorable and intensely blue. In addition there were birds and a chipmunk to entertain us.  

Crater Lake is renowned for it's intense blue color

This chipmunk seems to think it is a prairie dog

On the way back to Ashland we stopped at Beckie’s for pieces of blackberry pie and fresh strawberry pie (no calories, really!) While enjoying our pie we overheard two couples talking about the house one couple had purchased in, yep you got it, San Miguel.  We soon learned that Kathy and Kurt have a house about 2 blocks from ours. 

Later we enjoyed a few "small plates” paired with wines at Liquid Assets (cava with stuffed dates, viognier with salmon rillets, a rose with the lettuce wedge, a zinandel & a Nero d’Avola with the mushrooms). Dessert was a local pseudo ice wine pinot noir - very tasty (the grapes were frozen after harvest).

Given our uncertainty re timing we were delayed in booking tickets for plays in Ashland. What with being there for Memorial Day weekend, the weekend tickets were gone…but we got tickets to see two plays on Tuesday, the musical "Guys and Dolls” and “Pericles” by Shakespeare;  Both were very fun and well done.

We enjoyed a creekside lunch at Louis (very good) and dinner at Eleven (a basque place that sounded promising, but was disappointing).  

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