5 small towns in Oregon that are worth a visit

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by LUIS RAMIREZ and COOPER GREEN

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Who doesn't enjoy visiting small towns and taking in the scenic beauty, discovering local shops and businesses and exploring festivals and events? These small towns reflect the best of what Oregon has to offer for a memorable day trip, whether you're visiting the state's rugged coast, the home of a century old "Real West" rodeo, picturesque wine country renowned for its pinot noir, a town famous for its Shakespeare theater company, or a community near stunning waterfalls. 

Ashland

Ashland, Ore., is a town of 21,000 near Oregon’s southern border. The town boasts a world-famous Shakespeare theater company, opportunity for outdoor adventures and a liberal mindset despite conservative, rural surroundings. The town is fairly spread out through a forested surrounding area. Ashland also is home to Southern Oregon University, a state college with some 6,200 students.

A great day: Start your day in Ashland with a hearty breakfast at the Breadboard Restaurant, a café in the middle of town. Explore some of Ashland’s greenery, either with a walk through the Southern Oregon University campus or Lithia Park, a 100-acre park in the middle of the town with trails, ponds and wooded areas. From Lithia, dinner and a beer aren’t too far away. The Brickroom, a restaurant and bar, overlooks the park and Ashland Creek.

Claim to fame: Ashland is known outside of Oregon, and even the country, for its Shakespeare performances put on by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The company runs productions for most of the year and dominates much of the downtown area with ticket offices, shops for Shakespearean souvenirs, and the theaters themselves.

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