Just over a month ago, we ventured off to Oregon. As it was my first time experiencing this beautiful state, I had no idea what to expect, but when I came back, I couldn’t stop talking about this place. Perhaps one day, we’ll even move there.
We started our Oregon adventure in the Rogue Valley (otherwise better known as the Ashland/Medford/Jacksonville/Grants Pass area of the state. The first two days were spent along the Howard Prarie Lake Recreation area for a large Family Reunion, but one thing we learned is that this was a GREAT place to come camping.
Howard Prairie Lake Recreation Area:
This area has campsites that can be completely reserved for large gatherings, and they also have individual camping sites to rent out nightly. A little something for everyone. The recreation area typically opens up around the middle of June, sometimes earlier, and sometimes later depending on the weather within the area (think Snow, etc). More info can be found at Jackson County Parks.
After our two day family reunion, we were off to explore more of the Rogue Valley and this is what we found:
Shop Boutique Shops: Walk along the main streets of downtown within Ashland going in and out of Boutique Shops. Shop Costumes, Jewelry, Clothing and more while in town.
Spend some time within Lithia Park, and the creek that runs alongside it. Head to the top of the park for your very own swimming hole, spend some time swimming with friends and family, and bring a picnic along with you making it a fun day outing right in Ashland.
The Shakespeare Festival:
Believe it or not, I NEVER KNEW THIS EXISTED before! But Ashland, Oregon was the home of the first Elizabethan Theatre created within the United States:
And since, every February through October, the Shakespeare festival takes place every year in Ashland! Shows take place EVERY day except Monday (guess which day we were in town?) Beautiful stage settings within theaters all around town, even outdoor performances taking place. For any theater lover, this is a must stop at least one time in their life.
After spending a bit of time in Ashland, head further North into the town of Medford for more fun. A few must visits include:
If you love blue cheese, this creamery is a must stop. They even serve amazing grilled cheese sandwiches now! After sampling the many cheeses, run next door to Lillie Belle’s chocolates, be sure to try her sea salt lavender caramels, or during the summer, her homemade ice cream sandwiches. Then after, stop into Ledgar David’s tasting room for a glass of wine.
Harry & David:
A stop into Medford isn’t complete without a visit to Harry & David, one of the largest businesses within the area. And yes, exactly where Harry & David manufacturers all of their products. Be sure to stop into their Harry & David Village Center to try out a variety of treats, purchase your favorites, and if times allows, a visit to the Harry & David plant facility for a complete tour (just 5 dollars per person!)
The Rogue Valley has a variety of Wine Tasting Rooms within the area. Spend a day wine tasting and visiting the area wineries. Find some new wines.
To get you inspired, read more about our Wine Tasting Adventures here.
And yes, Oregon has tons of rivers within their beautiful state. In the Ashland/Medford/Grants Pass area, there is the famous Rogue River where many go White Water Rafting Down. Take on your own White Water Adventure.
Historic Downtown Jacksonville:
My other half’s favorite part of this Southern Oregon area was stepping afoot into Downtown Historic Jacksonville. This Small Town has a lot of history, and a lot of charm that has been kept restored. If time allows, be sure to take the Downtown Trolley Tour (just 5 dollars per person!)
This Historic Small Town is also home to the annual Britt Festival where amazing concerts come to town every summer. It’s also a great place to wine taste (4 tasting rooms within the downtown area) along with a great place to shop, many boutique shops still reside in the downtown area.
We fell in love with this part of Oregon and hope to be back in the future. Stay tuned to learn more about where we stayed while in town.