Shakespeare made Ashland famous, but the quaint town in southern Oregon has gone a long way to make sure the reputation it’s built for itself for the last 80 years as a hospitable, friendly, family-oriented community has remained intact.
A quant town of about 21,000 people, Ashland is surrounded by mountains and offers a plethora of outdoor activity including golf, fishing, skiing and hiking, wine, and great, award-winning theater.
Ashland is the land of Shakespeare and its home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland
Since the 1930s, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has brought thousands of people to Ashland each year. The festival started as a summer showcase of the Bard’s work, but since has grown into a nearly year-long affair.
From February through October the Shakespeare Festival now incorporates not only the classic works of the world’s most famous playwright, but those plays from classic Americana and the modern day.
Since the prestige of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has brought this town to fame, other live venues have popped up including community theater at Oregon Stageworks and the Oregon Cabaret Theater, which features musical play selections throughout the year.
But Ashland expanded its performance options when members of the community created the now internally-famous Ashland Independent Film Festival.
Ashland International Film Festival
The Ashland International Film Festival features the works of American and international films from nearly every genre including short, indie, documentary, full length.
The film festival has taken place since 2001 and each April film buffs, fans and stars flock to this Pacific Northwest state.
But, keeping with the town’s heritage, Ashland also offers the Ashland New Plays Festival
Ashland New Plays Festival
The Ashland New Plays Festival is a week-long event which focuses on bringing a bit of spotlight to new American plays and the new works of established playwrights while establishing a place for the live stage in a town known for developing quality theater.
Ashland Annual Food & Wine Classic
Each year Ashland host its own food and wine classic which features the food and drink of this Oregon town. Typically held in November, the community comes together to host wine tastings and sample some of the delicacies and gourmet food that has been created from the harvests of Oregon’s Rogue Valley.
The classic features sushi making, healthy lifestyle workshops and a chef showdown, one of the highlights of the festival. Local chefs compete while using ingredients from the Ashland area to create new desserts, entrees and appetizers.
Ashland Festival of Lights
The annual festival of lights is a community event begins each year the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season. Wonder at the holiday charm, which takes residents and visitors through Ashland’s decorations and the beautiful downtown with storefront windows lit up for the season. The festival features cuisine at one of gourmet Ashland’s restaurants and is filled with festive music or theater performance; rounded out by Ashland’s outdoor ice-skating rink.
There are carolers throughout town and photo opportunities with Santa, making for a festive and child-like environment that invites the holiday season it.
Ashland features more than 100 restaurants that are, for the most part, locally owned. No chains here. Local gourmet chefs offer up local fair grow in the valley; with many of the chefs at the top of their field and having received international accolade from such publications as Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine
A visit to Southern Oregon is not complete without experiencing some premium wines from one of many wineries in the area.
The Ashland Rogue Valley surrounded by rugged mountains and valleys create diverse climates that allow for a wide variety of intensely flavored wine grapes to be grown in the area.
Ashland is located 15 miles north of the California border at about 2,000 feet above sea level. Green in the spring and golden brown in the summer, Ashland has four distinct seasons. Fall is crisp and winter brings snows, though not much of it. Summer is typically in the mid-80s with lows in the 50s. Winter highs usually run in the mid-40s, with lows in the 30s.
Even though Oregon is known for rain which can last for months in areas such as Salem and Portland, Ashland averages only 19 inches per year with an additional 10 inches of snow.