San Jose Mercury News

Southern Oregon: Five terrific wine-tasting stops

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by MARY ORLIN

winetasting

When people think of Oregon and wine, it’s the Willamette Valley — the famed chardonnay and pinot noir mecca just south of Portland — that springs to mind. But Southern Oregon boasts an appealing wine region near Medford, with more than 150 wineries producing 70 varieties of wine. If you’re planning a trip to Crater Lake or Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival, add a day or two to your itinerary and explore some wineries, too. Here are five great spots to try.

Read the full report featuring Dancin Vineyards, Quady North, Plaisance Ranch, Schmidt Family Vineyards and Serra Vineyards in the San Jose Mercury News.

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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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Getting wild on Oregon's Rogue River

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Photo from Rogue Wilderness Adventures

Standing on the banks of the Rogue River, Rogue Wilderness Adventures owner Brad Niva gave our rafting group a safety briefing on things to do and things to avoid, a reminder to stay hydrated and an advisory: "There's absolutely no cell service in the canyon, so you may as well turn your phones off now." My girls, Cassidy and Annabel, had been forewarned but still looked mildly dejected.

They might not admit it, but I'm pretty sure their media-deprived state was forgotten by the second rapid.

The Rogue rises near Crater Lake in Oregon's Cascade Mountains and flows 215 miles in a generally westerly direction, before reaching the Siskiyou Mountains and finally entering the Pacific at the town of Gold Beach.

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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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