Ashland, Ore.: Pathways to Participation

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By K.C. Compton

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Each year, Mother Earth News selects a handful of sustainable communities to highlight in their annual Great Places feature.

One of the things 28-year resident Katie Gomez appreciates most about Ashland is the number of volunteer opportunities available, and the variety of people who participate in all aspects of the community. From the Jackson County Master Recycler Program, to bird-watching and nature classes at North Mountain Park, to volunteers who take tickets and usher for theatrical events, Ashland abounds in pathways to participation. ScienceWorks Museum, for example, offers hands-on activities, family science night, camps and even a telescope-lending program. “I volunteer with three organizations,” says Gomez. “I believe most folks here volunteer for at least one.”

Mention this town in southern Oregon and the response is likely to be an enthusiastic, “The Oregon Shakespeare Festival!” This internationally renowned theater has become an economic engine for the town, along with organizations such as the Oregon Cabaret Theatre and Ashland Independent Film Festival.

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Mt. Ashland 2014/15 Ski Passes Now Available

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Photo by Alisha Jucevic

Mt. Ashland's summit elevation of 7,533 feet gives the ski area a vertical drop of 1,150 vertical feet with 220 acres of varied skiing and riding terrain. Four chair lifts provide access to 23 ski trails plus epic open bowl skiing. Forty acres of trails are lit for night skiing. A Tudor-style mountain lodge provides food service, bar/lounge, ski school, retail and ticket sales. Ski and snowboard rentals are available.

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The Perfect Autumn Getaway: Ashland, Oregon

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By ANDREA MINARCEK

Ashland, Oregon
Early autumn in Ashland may be the best time of year to visit the southern Oregon town: The leaves are turning, and this year, its legendary Shakespeare fest is as lively as ever. We sent writer Christopher Hall to check it out. Here are his picks for the five perfect components to an autumn Ashland visit.

Play time

During the first season of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival 80 years ago, Ashland residents and students served as actors on a simple stage that also hosted boxing matches. Now the Tony Award-winning company has three state-of-the-art theaters—and not a fist-swinging bout in sight. It produces everything from the Bard (Richard III runs through October 10) to modern musicals (Into the Woods runs through October 11). It also stages its own new commissions during a season that goes from February to November. September offers a full slate of performances, including an outdoor series that seems perfectly timed to the weather: Days this month stay mostly sunny, even as a nip starts to spice the air each evening around curtain time.

Go-to fall foliage

Picnickers, Frisbee tossers, and kids on swings populate the busy end of Lithia Park (pictured below), near Ashland’s downtown plaza and the Shakespeare Festival complex. But deeper inside this 93-acre oasis, tranquility prevails along the forested paths that follow Ashland Creek through a wooded canyon. September is especially scenic. “That’s when our fall color starts, usually with the maples in the Japanese garden,” says park superintendent Bruce Dickens.

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A Renaissance-esque Running Stop

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By CAITLYN PILKINGTON


Running in Ashland

Visit this historic Pacific Northwest town for some great running, racing and food.

Bordered by emerald landscape just 15 miles north of the California border sits Ashland, a quaint Renaissance-esque stop best known for Shakespeare, good grub and trail running.

“From town or anywhere along our 5-mile corridor you can be on dirt in a matter of moments,” says Hal Koerner, two-time Western States 100 champion and owner of Rogue Valley Runners in downtown Ashland. “The terrain here is forgiving but the climbs and descents are rather robust. That mix helps make our area unique and has a little something for everyone. Whether it’s a 3-mile run through the well-manicured Lithia Park or a 4-hour dusting in the watershed to the Siskiyou Crest, we have you covered.”

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