Hearing the soft murmur of Shakespearean language, letting a gorgonzola omelet with toasted walnuts and caramelized onion melt in your mouth, hiking up to a view that will take your breath away—these are just a few experiences that await you this summer in Ashland, Oregon.
Ashland is known in the Pacific Northwest as the best place for those who want to see their favorite Shakespearean plays come to life before their eyes. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival runs from February to November but peaks in the summer. There are usually around four plays by Shakespeare and the remaining seven are by other playwrights, usually with a premiere thrown into the lineup. And no, you don’t have to dress up in an Elizabethan costume to attend—though you are free to.
When traveling to a new city, people often ask about food. Where to get it, how it is, the best places to go. In Ashland, you can’t go wrong. Almost any place you stroll past in the historical downtown is worth your time—and your taste buds. An important one to note (since breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day) is Morning Glory, with the biggest portions in town. Their omelets and pancakes are fan favorites worth the wait. Lark’s Home Kitchen Cuisine is a smart option for dinner, or try Standing Stone Brewing Company for something a little more casual.
When you aren’t frolicking from one play to another, explore Ashland further. Summer is the best time to get out and hunt down the seasonal wildflowers on Mount Ashland or picnic at Grouse Gap Shelter, 20 miles from town on the Pacific Crest Trail. Nothing compares to the feeling of fresh air through your lungs while taking in the stunning views. You’ll also find opportunities for fishing, swimming in mountain lakes and rafting down the Rogue River.
As Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” The historic Ashland Springs Hotel is just a few steps from the theater festival—you can’t miss it, it’s the tallest building in town. For something smaller, the elegantly appointed Bayberry Inn is one of Ashland’s oldest bed and breakfasts and never fails to make you feel like anything less than family. This inn is an affordable option for those who want a getaway on a budget. There are in-house massages provided, a team ready to work with you on how you want to spend your time in Ashland, and a gourmet complimentary breakfast that you are free to enjoy even from the comfort of your bed.
Visit the seventeen parks that pepper the six and a half square miles of town, zip line across the Rogue Valley, become more in touch with your inner creative side and explore art galleries all over, go on a brewery tour and sample some cold brews. Some theatergoers make Ashland an annual trip since the lineup of plays changes every year. What doesn’t change is Ashland’s welcoming vibes.
To plan your visit to Ashland. go to ashlandchamber.com. For Oregon Shakespeare Festival tickets, visit osfashland.org.