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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