Gerry Frank's picks: For fine-dining in Ashland try Coquina or Amuse

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by GERRY FRANK

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When I think of Southern Oregon, good cheese and good wine come to mind…

Read the full report on OregonLive.com >

Come for the plays, stay for the city

The Boston Globe

By BROOKE JACKSON-GLIDDEN

Ashland Artisans Market

When the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s artistic director Bill Rauch isn’t curating seasons of classic and original theater, he’s on the Rogue River with his family, rafting.

“There’s such a strong culture of outdoors: You can hike, you can raft in the summer, you can ski in the winter,” Rauch, a Harvard alum and seasoned director, said in a phone interview. “Ashland, even though it’s a small town of only 20,000 people, has the cultural amenities of much larger cities in terms of extraordinary restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, galleries, and art house movie theaters. It’s part of the reason I fell in love: the best of a small town with a lot of the culture of a large city.”

Read the full report in The Boston Globe >

DANCIN Vineyards one of five Oregon wineries with eateries profiled by Palate

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by MARY CRESSLER

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Winemakers will often tell you that their wines are meant to be enjoyed with food. But how often does a winery have a chance to prove it to their guests? In the U.S. more wineries have begun incorporating food and wine pairings into their hospitality programs. However, few of them have gone beyond simple bites to build an actual sit-down restaurant on site.

In Oregon, strict land use laws have kept many owners from developing commercial kitchens. But things are changing and slowly wineries are developing full food programs to go alongside their wines.
In our continuing exploration of epicurean experiences at wineries, we are focusing on five Oregon producers that are shifting the paradigm. From southern Oregon all the way up to Portland, these wineries have gone beyond the typical cheese and charcuterie plate by offering a seat at their tables. Literally.

Offering a full spectrum food and wine experience to tasting room guests is certainly one way for a winery to stand out from the growing competition. But I discovered that standing out isn’t the reason these wineries decided to offer them.

“We never set out to be a restaurant,” explains Dan Marca of southern Oregon’s DANCIN Vineyards, “But I’m Italian. We are all about hospitality.”

Read the full report featuring DANCIN Vineyards on PalatePress.com

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2015: What to See, How to Eat...

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by CHLOE VELTMAN

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The internationally-renowned, 80-year-old Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) isn’t really a festival in the traditional sense of the word. Like a Renaissance tragedy, it’s epically long — running this year from Feb. 27 to Nov. 1. And it doesn’t only focus on the works of William Shakespeare, as classics by other writers, musicals and new dramas complement the Bard’s titles.

Despite the misnomer, the high quality of OSF’s theatrical offerings and the bucolic nature of its surroundings draw playgoers from all over world each year, including many from the Bay Area. (Nearly a quarter of the audience comes from San Francisco and its surroundings, according to OSF data.)

Add to this the fact that Ashland, Oregon is among very few places in the world where you can get a discount at the local frozen yogurt shop simply by waving a theater ticket at the cash register, or have an in-depth conversation with a stranger in a bar about lighting design or the size of a lead actor’s codpiece, and you’ve got a compelling case to make the five-and-a-half-hour drive north.

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Bucolic Ashland, Ore., is a Shakespeare-steeped literary retreat

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By CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS

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Salt needs pepper. Romeo needs Juliet. And your epic nature trip to Crater Lake might need a cultural detour.

Enter Ashland, Ore., which sits in the bucolic Bear Creek Valley about 90 miles southwest of Crater Lake and 16 miles north of the California border.

It was born in the 19th century as a mill town on the banks of Ashland Creek. But things took a turn in the early 1890s.

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72 Hours: Ashland

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By JULIET GRABLE

FROM A DISTANCE, Ashland is a storybook town: a village cradled by steep forested slopes on one side and hills that change from green to tawny, to white and snowy on the other. The illusion doesn’t fade with proximity. Wellpreserved historic Craftsman and Victorian houses perch in the hills above a picturesque downtown. Its centerpieces are a bustling plaza, the jewel of Lithia Park and the economic engine that is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In summer, Ashland is jammed with theatergoers, buskers, Pacific Crest Trail throughhikers and other travelers. Loyal visitors make the pilgrimage year after year to catch the new season of plays, revisit favorite restaurants and stay in bed and breakfasts.

While dinner-and-a-play makes for a satisfying outing, there is also excellent hiking and mountain biking, spas, vineyards and rapids ranging from Class I to IV on the nearby Rogue and Upper Klamath rivers.

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A perfect Ashland itinerary includes a little shopping and noshing, as well as Shakespeare

Coquina Ashland Oregon

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By KAREN D'SOUZA

In 1887, when the last Golden Spike was pounded into the tracks in Ashland, Oregon, and the iron horse officially encircled the nation, the Railroad District was the bustling hub of the Rogue Valley. The area was bristling with railroad workers, Chinese immigrants, gamblers and hustlers of all stripes, looking to make their fortune in the Wild West.

Nowadays, the star of the town is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary by staging 11 plays on three stages for nine months. But old-timers are quick to point out that the rambunctious spirit of the railroad's golden age has not yet vanished. Indeed, there's one feisty ghost, in particular, who is said to roam the halls of the historic Peerless on 4th, a stylish 1894 hotel that seduces its guests with the romance of the past, from clawfoot tubs to hand-painted, trompe l'oeil murals and stained-glass lamps.

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12 things to do in Ashland: Best places to eat, walk, shop

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By JANET EASTMAN

Shakespeare and company are back for their eight-month run at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. The first four plays - of 11 -  just opened with strong performances of "Much Ado About Nothing," a magical "Pericles," a dashing "Guys and Dolls" and an astonishing new Victorian crime thriller, "Fingersmith."

Visiting Ashland is fun no matter what the season, so I asked readers to recommend their favorite things to do there.

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10 cool things to do in Ashland

San Jose Mercury News

by LISA WREN

(besides watching Shakespeare)

Say Ashland, and the word Shakespeare leaps to mind. But veteran visitors of the charming Southern Oregon town find other words - shoe shopping, Class III rapids, pinot noir and tuna tartar - also are part of the Ashland lexicon.
Many plan the six-hour pilgrimage from Northern California to the mecca of summer theater as a weekend getaway. In a three-day trip you can cram in four shows, maybe catch a free lecture, and eat extremely well.

But if you've got a little longer, or have had your fill of theater, there's lots more to discover. (That said, it would be a small tragedy to visit Ashland and not see a single play.)

So, here are suggestions for a midsummer's dream vacation.
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