I think I’ve already raved enough about Ashland on this blog in the last week or so that you guys should know how much I enjoyed my time there.
I was only in town for a few days so I’m by no means an expert on the place, but I did want to share with you my top 7 experiences while I was there.
1. Go to an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production
As I said in my previous post about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, it’s not something to miss if you’re in town during the summer! I was enamored with the shows I saw in Ashland – Guys & Dolls and Head Over Heels. It’s a world renowned festival, and even if you’re not a theatre fan it’s hard not to enjoy their productions.
Tip: If you do have a chance to go to a play or two make sure to see at least one in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre – it’s all part of the Shakespeare experience.
2. Explore Lithia Park
I spent half a day driving the loop around the expansive Lithia Park, making little stops along the way to check out another picnic spot, creek, or hiking trail. It is a stunning place to get lost and spend a day enjoying nature. If you’re able to drive the loop around the park, you’ll be rewarded with grand views looking out over golden hills and lush forests.
Tip: Take a book or a picnic down to the lower duck pond to the left of the path when you enter from the front entrance. This is where you’ll find the picturesque Lithia waterfall and a reflective pond with friendly ducks and many benches circling around it. Bonus – it’s right next to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, so go here before a play to unwind and enjoy the scenery.
3. Go on a Mini Craft Beer Journey
Although Ashland doesn’t have a craft beer scene comparable to Bend, Eugene, or Portland, there are still some great ones to check out in town! It is Oregon after all, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to beer.
Start off at the well-established Caldera Taphouse or Caldera Brewery. These are the two locations in Ashland, the taphouse is the one that I went to right in downtown, but their other location off I-5 is where the actually brewery is and is meant to be a tad more scenic.
Caldera was the first craft brewery on the West Coast to can and brew their own beer, so that interesting claim to fame is enough to make a visit.
Tip: Caldera has quite a few unique beers so I would recommend trying a tasting paddle. To include in your tasters would be these interesting brews: Alcoholic Hibiscus Ginger Beer, Roasted Hatch Chili Golden Ale, No Grain No Pain Gluten-Free Beer, Mother Pucker Raspberry Sour, and the Mogli Bourbon Oak-Aged Chocolate Imperial Porter.
Next head over to Standing Stone Brewing Co., probably the most popular brewery in Ashland and one that is known for it’s sustainability practices. The bartenders were really friendly here and the chilaquiles were delicious.
Tip: I had the I ♥ Oregon beer and would highly recommend it if you enjoy cascade hops as much as I do. The Milk & Honey Ale also seemed to be a popular brew while I was there.
Lastly, check out the local favorite, Swing Tree Brewing. They call themselves “Ashland’s Friendly Neighborhood Brewery” and from the recommendations I received from locals to go here I would have to say that name fits perfects. I sadly didn’t get a chance to stop in before I left town, but I’ll be heading there first thing when I’m back in Ashland.
If that still wasn’t enough beer for you, Granite Taphouse doesn’t brew their own beer but they offer a wide variety of Oregon, Californian and international breweries, and a great view looking out over the city.
4. Window Shop the Boutiques in Downtown
I was surprised at how many cute boutiques there are in Ashland, especially near Lithia Park. Although a tad overpriced in my opinion, which is why I only went window shopping, they’re still worth checking out if you want to get some aesthetically pleasing Pinterest-friendly ideas for home decor.
There are also a good amount of art galleries around town that are worth checking out if you’re into the artistic side of things.
Tip: Grab lunch at Brickroom and head downstairs to the boutique store underneath it. I can’t remember that name of it, but it was the cutest store I’ve seen since I left Santa Cruz. Also, if you’re a fan of bookstore cafes, Bloomsbury Coffee House is the place to go. It was my first stop when I arrived in town and I was impressed with the friendly service, hearty organic coffee, and make-your-own bagel options.
5. Try the famous “Lithia Water”
As I mentioned in my last post, Lithia water is a very unique experience to have while you’re in Ashland. The name Lithia is thrown around so much around the city because of the famous Lithia mineral springs that were found in the area. Lithia water is named as such due to the presence of lithium salts, producing a very interesting mineral flavor.
Tip: Try the water from the Lithia fountains near visitor’s center next to Lithia Park, and expect a one-of-a-kind experience on your taste buds.
6. Try Noble Coffee
I’ve talked about Noble Coffee a couple of times on here because it’s a place I highly recommend visiting if you’re a coffee fiend or simply enjoy sitting in cafes. Their coffee is some of the best I’ve found in Oregon (and yes, that’s including Stumptown Coffee in Portland), and the service was phenomenal.
Tip: Ask the staff for recommendations on which brew to drink, they’ll lead you to the best coffee for your unique palate.
7. Take a Drive through the Countryside
I accidentally took a drive through the countryside when I got lost one day looking for the Caldera Brewing location off I-5. It ended up being the best part of my day, stumbling upon such beautiful scenery just outside the city. I found myself on Hwy 66 and passed by multiple hiking trails and possible day trips. It made me wish I had more time in Ashland, there were so many hidden places just waiting to be discovered.
So, do yourself a favor and get lost in Ashland. You won’t regret it because no matter where you find yourself, the surroundings will be worth it.
Have you ever been to Ashland or Southern Oregon? Is there anything else you would recommend I do when I go back?
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