Béla Fleck to play with the Britt Orchestra

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Known for his explorations of new musical territory and considered by many to be the world's greatest banjo player, Béla Fleck has been nominated in more genres than any musician in Grammy history. Already a powerfully creative force in bluegrass, jazz, pop, rock and world beat, It was only natural that he delve into Classical music. He performs with the Britt Orchestra on Friday, August 8 for a special evening of music, both old and new including a groundbreaking work that is sweeping the nation's concert halls to rave reviews. Béla Fleck has performed at the Britt twelve times, but never with the Britt Orchestra.

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Digital detox on the Rogue River

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Sunset Magazine called them the “best cell phone free vacation ever.” Enjoy a wilderness adventure on the nation’s first National Wild and Scenic River. For over 40 years, Rogue Wilderness Adventures has been a leader in adventure travel on Oregon’s revered Rogue River.

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Southern Oregon Lavender Trail

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Photo of Applegate Valley Lavender Farm by Jamie James Photography

In addition to the up-and-coming Rogue Wine Country, the region is also making a name with those who have a nose for lavender. A multi-sensory experience awaits on the Southern Oregon Lavender Trail in the nearby Applegate Valley! Nestled among the vineyards and tranquil fields are unique family-run farms, nurseries and gardens offering U-pick lavender flowers, exquisite lavender products and crafts, essential oil distillation, and potted lavender plants.

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Southern Oregon’s under-the-radar wine country

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By RACHEL LEVIN

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Photos by Leah Nash for The New York Times

California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma are renowned for their wines, but tasting trips there generally come attached to luxurious digs, spa treatments, $25 tasting fees, Hummer limos and standstill traffic — and all the “no picnicking” pretension that goes with that.

So head instead to Oregon, not to the state’s well-known Willamette Valley wine country, but to southern Oregon. We found a relaxed, blossoming wine country with empty roads and crowd-free tasting rooms — some surrounded by strip malls, others by sparkling rivers — pouring excellent versions of an impressively wide range of varietals.

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Praise for Southern Oregon wines

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by Becky Sue Epstein

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Photo from Palate Press

There’s a reason most Oregonians don’t leave the state for vacations: they have everything they need right here. The same could be said about Oregon’s wines, too – which is what I found when I finally went beyond the famed Willamette Valley region a few months ago.  Along with the enthusiasm and hospitality of the winery owners, two additional elements are contributing to a flourishing winemaking panorama in Southern Oregon: the tempranillo grape and wine clubs.

> Read the full report on PalatePress.com.

Oregon named top state for summer road trips

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Personal finance site WalletHub—always on the lookout for the best deal—studied lodging, gas prices, traffic safety, weather, and the less quantifiable fun factor to find the best states in the U.S. for the all-American road trip.

Anyone who’s driven the Oregon Coast won’t be surprised that the Beaver State tops the list. There’s just so much to see: from sea lion caves to massive sand dunes to the famed Goonies Rock (pictured), which stands sentry on
Cannon Beach.

Free Yoga in Lithia Park

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Around Ashland, yoga in one form or another is a way of life, so much so that local teacher John Arnold offer a donation-based summer yoga series in Lithia Park.

At a young age, a near-death experience shifted John’s spiritual quest. He found himself at the most solemn and profound crossroads. Thankfully, John’s life since has been filled with the joys of a continually unfolding discovery toward being true to self while giving back to his community. One of the ways he gives back is by teaching yoga classes.  To honor this, all of his classes are donation based.

Starting Thursday, June 19 through Saturday, August 30, you can join John and the “Off The Mat” Community on the front lawn to Lithia Park every Thursday and Saturday at 8AM. Remember to bring your own yoga mat (or towel!). John’s Yoga In The Park classes are each 90 minutes and no two classes are the same. All ages and abilities are welcome to attend and in this special outdoor yoga class simply relaxing in the grass with the group energy is also encouraged.

John Arnold has been teaching yoga classes and practicing yoga off the mat since 1986, and has been influenced by Bikram Choudry, Max Thomas, Babaji Hari Das, Shiva Rea, Martyn Jackson, Chuck Miller, Robert Bly, BKS Iyengar and Paramahansa Yogananda.

For more information, visit YogawithJohnArnold.com.

Dog-friendly drinking fountain

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On Granite St. a couple blocks off North Main you may find a dog-friendly watering hole. A generous and kind resident set it up for our four-legged friends. Low enough for most dogs to reach and lap up fresh water. Ashland supports and cares for their dogs! The dog park on Nevada Street has doggie pools for some of those hot summer days. Check out restaurant list by Chanticleer Inn innkeeper Ellen Campbell where you can find which restaurants are dog-friendly and will serve their clients on sidewalk tables so their canine companions may be with the diners.

Only Hours From Napa, But a World Away

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Leah Nash for The New York Times

While Napa Valley and Sonoma are renowned for their world-class wines, tasting trips there generally come attached to luxurious digs, spa treatments, $25 tasting fees, Hummer limos and standstill traffic — and all the “no picnicking” pretension that goes with that.

It’s gotten to the point where a thirsty, fogged-in San Franciscan in search of summer sun, stellar wine and hotel rates less than $400 a night has to go out of state, especially when toting two children under the age of 5 and a husband who prefers his fishing rod to the French Laundry.

And so, we headed north to Oregon, not to the well-known Willamette Valley, in the state’s northwest, but about four hours to its south, a sprawling region better known for the “wild and scenic” (as the official designation has it) Rogue River and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland than for the rolling vineyards in between.

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