Wine Travel Writers Are Discovering Southern Oregon
In the last few years, on a fairly regular basis, Southern Oregon wine region is making the wine travel writers lists. One of the latest “The Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions To Visit In 2017: A Month-By-Month Guide” by Lauren Mowery, a contributor to Forbes Magazine.
Why?, you might ask, are international travel writers raving about this area? Well, because Southern Oregon is truly remarkable and very distinct from the Pinot Noir heavy wine region in northern Oregon.
It’s all about geography and diversity: for many decades this region has been globally recognized for its bio-diversity by biologists, and now wine makers are discovering that geographic diversity translates to good wine making. Three mountains ranges cross this region, Cascades, Klamath, and Siskiyou, forming highly diverse terrain, multiple micro-climates, and a number of fertile river valleys. Each mountain range unique in geology adds to the diversity of the terroir.
Southern Oregon wine region has the most diverse growing conditions in the world. More kinds of grapes thrive here than any other wine growing region. A few years ago there were a little over 60 wineries, now there are over 150 offering over 70 different varieties of wine in 5 distinct regions.
Native Plant Society Program: Siskiyou botanical areas and stewardship – Feb 16, 2017
Local Hiking Trails In and Around Ashland
This winter, between rainstorms, Jim and I found some time to explore the local hiking trails in and around Ashland. My goal was to expand my first-hand knowledge of trails that are dog-friendly [on-leash! ] and/or easy to get to from the Chanticleer Inn. The City of Ashland has some online maps of Ashland’s trails.
So far, we especially enjoyed the trails in Hald Strawberry Park and Ashland Watershed. Judging from the over-wintering plants, evidence of last summer’s growth, and evergreen trees, come springtime all of these trails will have an abundance of native flowers.
There will be more blog posts describing additional trails and walks in and around Ashland; meanwhile here are two hikes:
Hald Strawberry Park
This park is situated west of Lithia Park, uphill from Granite St. A small network of trails wend through the chaparral habitat with native madrone, manzanita, and oak. On the highest point you will find a bench which provides a view toward the Rogue Valley. From the park’s gentle hills there are many lovely views overlooking Ashland’s downtown with the Bear Creek Valley and the Western Cascades in the background.
To get to the park: from Granite St. take Strawberry Lane (it will be a bit steep uphill). The trail crosses Strawberry Lane just after Alnutt St. Take a right onto the trail — one can go left, but it will be a dead end before too long. Once on the trail going north, you will come to a fork, I would opt for left. After that, consult the map as the trails in this park crisscross and loop around a knoll. It not difficult to find one’s way out of the park, just go downhill, you will either come out the way you came, or onto Skycrest Dr. or Ditch Road.
One of Many Local Hiking Trails in the Ashland Watershed
This hike has a picnic table, so think about packing a snack.
There is a collection of local hiking trails in Ashland’s Watershed, many of those closest to town (south and uphill) have Alice in Wonderland themed names. They are tightly networked and for the most part well marked, but I recommend bring a map. I always have a stack of the maps in the inn’s foyer.
For those who want approximately 1.5 to 2 hour roundtrip hike starting from and returning to the Chanticleer, here is one of several possibilities.
Similar to Hald Strawberry, but with more conifers, this area will have native wildflowers in the spring.
Directions: From the Chanticleer Inn walk uphill. It will be steep: just keep in mind you’ll be going back down on the return! Gresham St. ends at Holly St., turn right and make an immediate left onto Gutherie. Then take Herbert which veers off (forks) to the right. The trailhead will be on your left between two residential houses. This trail will bisect Cottle-Philips Property and end at Ashland Loop Road. Turn left onto the road and look on the right for the Red Queen trail. Once on the Red Queen, you’re in the Watershed, now choose one of the two below.
Shorter loop: continue on Red Queen, pick up JubJub and stay to the right. In a very short distance you’ll cross the BTI (this is the big red/white line on the map which is bike only), in a short distance turn right on Bandersnatch. Follow Bandersnatch as it switchbacks three times, evens out the trail, and crosses BTI again. A couple more switchbacks and you’ll be on a knoll with a picnic table. Continue downhill and you’ll spill out on Waterline. Continue downhill, you’ll get on Glenview and then right/back up onto Waterline. About a block or so, you’ll be back on Ashland Loop road and you can retrace your steps downhill to the inn.
Longer Loop: continue on Red Queen, turn left onto JubJub. In a short distance you’ll cross the BTI (this is the big red/white line on the map which is bike only), and almost immediately turn right/south onto Bandersnatch. Bandersnatch will parallel BTI going south for ~.25mi then cross BTI again and turn west and follow the switchbacks uphill. You’ll once again cross over the BTI, in a couple more switchbacks and you’ll be on a knoll with a picnic table. Continue downhill and you’ll spill out on Waterline. Continue downhill, you’ll get on Glenview and then right/back up onto Waterline. About a block or so, you’ll be back on Ashland Loop road and you can retrace your steps downhill to the inn.
Dog Friendly Parks and Trails
Frequently, guests who like to hike and walk with their dogs are disappointed when they discover Lithia Park is off limits for dogs — even on leash. The sidewalk and the multi-purpose trail around the park is dog-friendly. Go here for a close up map of Lithia Park and the uphill trails west of the park, showing where you may walk with Fido. Additionally there are a number of city parks throughout Ashland, and trails up on the watershed that are dog friendly. There is also an off-leash dog park. Many trails and parks are easily accessible from the inn and downtown.
Go here for the City of Ashland’s map of the dog friendly parks and trails.
This winter, weather permitting, Jim and I have been exploring some of the local close to the town trails. We especially enjoyed these walks: Hald Strawberry Park and Red Queen-Bandersnatch trails. For more detailed description of these trails, please follow the links.
Ashland watershed stretches quite a bit south and west from Ashland, totaling 15,000 acres, it includes Mt. Ashland (7,533′) at the furtherest south and four other peaks (ranging from 4,650′ to 7,253′) circling the watershed to the west and south. In future blog posts, I will describe more of these trails and how to get to the trailheads.
Dogs on leash are welcome throughout the Ashland Watershed which is uphill and south of the town. The trails closer into town are very accessible from the Chanticleer inn on foot. They are well maintained. Some are hiking-only, some are biking-only, and others are mix use. Be sure to ask me for trail maps. The Chamber of Commerce hands them out for free.
Many locals do not respect the leash-only rules. Some dogs stay close and will obey ‘come back’ commands. Unfortunately, many do not. The rules are in place for the safety of the dogs, other hikers, and wildlife. There is abundant wildlife in the hills, some will be dog aggressive: bear, cougar and deer.
All of the watershed trails that are close to town have names of characters and creatures in Alice in Wonderland. No one has been able to tell me why or when that naming tradition got started, but it does make one feel like a true local when talking about the trails.
Charles St. Pierre, presenter at Bug ‘n Brew 2017
Pierre is best known for his signature patterns like the Hoh Bo Spey fly. Pierre is also a veteran Kanektok King Salmon fisherman, an Olympic Peninsula steelhead junky, and owns Northwest Spey Casting. He is one of the most talented and patient Spey instructors around.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Steelhead Tying Class: CSP’s Signature Flies ($50)
- Learn to tie the popular and deadly Hoh Bo Spey, Foxy Dog, and GP Spey.
- 4-6 pm: Steelhead Confidence Flies (Free!)
Sunday, March 5, 2017
- 10am to 1 pm: Spey Clinic w/ Charles St. Pierre ($95)
- Spey Tune-Up and Winter Steelhead Tactics
All Steelhead Tying Classes and Free Presentations will be held at the Ashland Fly Shop on 399 E. Main St. Ashland OR, 541 488-6454. Spey Clinics will be held at Tou Velle Park on the Rogue River.
At the Camelot Theater ‘Calendar Girls’ — February 8 – 26, 2017
Written by Tim Firth
Directed by Gwen Overland
Tickets: $18 – $34
Calendar Girls, play, based on the screenplay of the same name, is actually based on a true story in the small town of Knapely, Yorkshire, England. A member of the local Women’s Institute, Annie Clarke recently lost her husband to cancer. She was inspired by her husband’s speech to the local Women’s Institute, in which he said, “the flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire”, and “the last phase of the women of Yorkshire is always the most glorious.” Annie’s best friend Chris Harper decides to make a calendar with twelve local nude middle-age women to raise funds for the wing of leukemia treatment in the local hospital. The calendar becomes wildly and globally successful — with some unintended consequences.
About Camelot Theatre
Camelot Theatre Company is located in Talent, Oregon in the beautiful Rogue Valley, just a few miles north of Ashland. In just a few minutes drive from excellent lodging in Ashland OR, the Chanticleer Inn B&B.
The Camelot has a wonderful new state-of-the-art building, the James M. Collier Theatre. Here is the Mission Statement:
To be of service to the Rogue Valley, Oregon, by producing high-quality affordable plays, musicals and musical events while providing a supportive environment for professional and amateur theatre artists and technicians and inspiring and training adults, teens and children in the theatre arts.
You can read a short history of the theatre company if you click here.
For more information and to purchase tickets to this performance at the Camelot Theatre go to their website.
Adaskin String Trio with Ensemble Schumann
The Adaskin String Trio has won over audiences internationally with exuberant and stirring performances. Formed in 1994, the trio performs extensively throughout the US and Canada, and has appeared at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and in Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Santa Barbara and Chicago. Joined in a lively and colorful trio, the members of Ensemble Schumann (oboe, piano, and the violist from the Adaskin Trio) have performed together since 2005.
Ensemble Schumann has been featured at the prestigious Da Camera Series in Los Angeles, at the Clark Art Museum in Massachusetts and on Live From Fraser on WGBH- Radio in Boston.
Location: SOU Music Recital Hall
Friday, February 10, 2017 – 7:30pm and Saturday, February 11, 2017 – 3pm
EVENING SERIES: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 – 7:30PM
Elgar – Andante and Allegro for Oboe Quartet
Honegger – Sonatina for Violin and Cello
Loeffler – 2 Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola, and Piano
Francçaix – String Trio
Turina – Piano Quartet in A Minor, Op. 67
MATINEE SERIES: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2017 – 3PM
J. C. Bach – Oboe Quartet
Sibelius – Suite for String Trio
Martinů – Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Cello, and Piano, H. 315
Brahms – Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25
For more information go to: Chamber Music Concerts
“The Adaskin String Trio combines a flexible command of flow and phrase with instrumental power and eloquence” Gramophone Magazine
“Each member [of Ensemble Schumann] comes across as an exemplary virtuoso in his or her own right, and yet they play as if wedded for a half century.” Audiophile Audition San Francisco Examiner
Oregon Cabaret Theatre: Noises Off
February 9 – April 9, 2017
Critic Frank Rich claimed:
“Noises Off is, was, and probably always will be
the funniest play written in my lifetime.”
A classic door-slamming backstage comedy Noises Off reveals behind the scenes of the mounting of a new farce, Nothing On. It’s a story told in three acts with a rotating set, providing us looks both onstage and off as the ill-fated new farce careens from catastrophic dress rehearsals to historically hilarious failures during its run.
The idea for the farce came when playwright Michael Frayn was standing in the wings watching a performance of The Two of Us, a farce that he had written for Lynn Redgrave. Frayn noticed the show was funnier from backstage than from the audience’s perspective. This inspired him to write a farce from behind the scenes.
For more information and tickets go to Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s website.
Across the Pond with “Mason & Weed”
John Weed (fiddle) and Stuart Mason (guitar, mandolin, banjo) will be performing traditional Celtic and Appalachian, and blues music that digs deep into the roots of bluegrass music. Long before the time of Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, and the Carter Family, rural Americans were singing and fiddling the ballads and dance tunes of Britain and Ireland, as well as the sentimental and comedy hits of the wildly popular minstrel shows. These sources provided a well of material that later formed the basis of the Mason & Weed Bluegrass repertoire.
Mason and Weed have been working up a batch of new tunes and songs for a new album project their first recording as a duo. So far, material for the project ranges from early American ballads and songs newly composed by their peers to beautiful melodies with Celtic and Nordic roots. They will remain true to their love of American old timey music and Irish trad while expanding the repertoire with tunes and songs that reflect their life long love of traditional music from all eras and all regions. The audience can expect a few surprises along with some familiar favorites, and maybe even a singalong or a humorous party piece dating back to the minstrel era. Along with brand new pieces, these concerts will showcase material from the new Molly’s revenge album Lift as well as songs from the lively repertoire of Molly’s Revenge, Little Black Train and from Stuarts two solo albums.
For food at the winery: Sultan’s Delight will be on site with food available for purchase from 6pm.
Local musicians Kevin and Daniel Carr will open the show with a set of fiddle tunes!
Date: Sunday, February 5th
Tickets: $15 per person – Available at Brown Paper Tickets, or at the door.
New York Times Critics on August Wilson
“What August Wilson Mean Now” a New York Times article, critics Ben Brantley and Wesley Morris talk about August Wilson’s use of language and representation. This article is well worth the read.
Because of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s productions of Wilson’s plays, I have been introduce to, and have come to love, August Wilson. I wish OSF would do his entire canon. It’s my personal goal to see all 10 plays that chronicle African-American lives in the Hill District of Pittsburgh — one play for each decade of the 20th century.
This 2017 season, OSF will produce Unison. With Wilson’s poetry, UNIVERSES, uses multimedia, poetry, dance, and music to weave a mythically current story of a dying poet. This poet leaves a box to apprentice with instructions to destroy it. Like Pandora of old, the apprentice opens the box; and releases the terrors that tormented his master.
OSF says: “This world premiere fuses poetry, theatre, dance, and music to explore the reconstruction of collective memory, bringing Wilson’s words to a new century and a new generation“.
I venture to guess that the powerful language he employs in his plays will also be present in his poetry.