ASHLAND SPRINGS HOTEL
Each summer a friend and I drive 5-1/2 hours to Ashland, Oregon to enjoy several plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Our favorite lodging in the center of town is the charming Ashland Springs Hotel, a beloved historic landmark which first opened its doors in 1921. In recent years it has been refurbished to exude an Old World Victorian elegance.
Although some of the 70 rooms are relatively small, our corner room with two beds was one of the largest. All the rooms have a cheerful floral palette of pastels -- apricot, melon, and pear --which create a restful mood.
THE HOTEL’S TWO SURPRISES
Instead of a continental breakfast served on the mezzanine overlooking the grand lobby, there is a complimentary breakfast buffet next to the lobby in Lark’s, one of the locals’ favorite restaurants.
Better yet, most of the rooms now have an automatic coffee maker with Starbuck’s coffee. I no longer had to wait until
7 a.m. to get my first cup of coffee on the mezzanine.
LITHIA PARK ISN’T ASHLAND’S ONLY WONDERFUL PARK
Everyone is familiar with legendary Lithia Park that was established in 1908. Its 93 acres of beautiful gardens and wandering paths along the bubbling river surely make it one of the most beautiful in all of America’s small towns.
This year, my friend discovered another special park in Ashland during her long early morning walk -- North Mountain Park Nature Center, a great place to spend the day!
A renovated early 20th century farmhouse serves as the park’s nature center to self-guided interpretive trails. Demonstration Gardens are each designed with a unique theme: the Butterfly Garden, Reptile and Amphibian Garden, Herb Garden, Heirloom Garden, Native Garden, and the Bird Buffet.
LOUIE’S RESTAURANT AND BAR
New owner, Melissa Jensen, has infused Louie’s with a new vitality. A favorite hangout, for many years Louie’s has become well known for having the town’s “Best Hamburger.”
Late one hot afternoon, however, we were more interested in ordering a refreshing drink at Louie’s gorgeous 100-year old bar made of one polished piece of wood. Before choosing a table at the restaurant’s creekside patio, we each ordered one of the bar’s eight delicious cocktail specials – the best-ever mint julep and a mojito.
IF YOU GO