Oct 08

In Pictures: Art Along the Rogue 2012

Angry Birds


The 10th Annual Art Along the Rogue festival took place this past weekend in downtown Grants Pass. Onlookers watched as “H” Street was transformed into an asphalt art gallery. The perfect sunny fall weather and nonstop music made the event fun for all. Here are some photographs of the amazing artwork that lined the street.



Kids Art

Kids Art
















Oct 04

Art Along the Rogue and Tap Walk


It is truly amazing what these artists can do with a medium as simple as chalk! This weekend October 6-7,  2012 marks the 10th annual Art Along the Rogue chalk art and music festival in downtown Grants Pass. This year’s featured artist is Melanie Stimmel who will no doubt create a beautiful scene with a canvas of pavement and a hand full of chalk. In addition to this years featured artist numerous Rogue Valley residents and businesses also have the opportunity to create stunning works of art which will line the city streets. The weekend is also filled with music and includes folk, reggae and rock bands. For the complete schedule see:  http://www.visitgrantspass.org/Index.aspx?page=353

There is also beer if you are one of the hundreds lucky enough to already have a ticket to the 3rd Annual Tap Walk. Unfortunately for those without tickets the event has already sold out as it does every year. Oregon breweries and a host restaurant pair local food with beer from our fine state. Some of this year’s breweries include Ninkasi, Deschutes, Caldera, Laurel and Alameda. Local participating restaurants are Circle J’s, MaMosa’s, The Twisted Cork and Rosso’s among others. Having gone myself every year I can say participants are in for a good time.

Art Along the Rogue takes place all day on both Saturday and Sunday on “H” Street between 4th St. and 6th St. in Grants Pass.  For more information: http://www.visitgrantspass.org/Index.aspx?page=313

The Tap Walk runs from 2-5pm on Saturday October 6th. For more information on the Tap Walk call Elegance at  541-476-0570.

Mar 15

A Taste of Southern Oregon – Historic Jacksonville and Wine Country

Jacksonville & the Applegate Valley

Historic Jacksonville is a must see on a visit to Southern Oregon. This gold rush town was the bustling center of activity, commerce and culture in the late 1800’s. The entire town has been designated a Historic Landmark and remains much as it was over 100 years ago. Old brick buildings, once occupied by saloons and frequented by gold miners still line the streets and are now home to unique shops, art galleries and fine restaurants. This quaint town is also a great starting point to explore the wineries of the Applegate Valley.  Budget Travel calls Jacksonville one of  “America’s Coolest Small Towns” and with good reason.


What makes this town so special is its history and you can easily spend a day exploring just that. The city of Jacksonville has a detailed map http://www.jacksonvilleor.us/?page_id=22 showing all of the historic structures in town.

For a close up look at the history of the town check out the Jacksonville Museum of Southern Oregon History 206 N 5th, Jacksonville, Oregon, phone: 541-773-6536


Be sure to climb the hill to the Jacksonville Cemetery. This might sound like an odd way to spend an afternoon but this is a one of the oldest cemeteries in the state and provides a glimpse into the early pioneer history of the town. www.friendsjvillecemetery.org

Springtime is beautiful in Southern Oregon but Jacksonville’s peak season is in the summer during the Britt Festival. This summer-long music festival features world class artists performing at the lovely Britt outdoor amphitheater.  Certainly worth a trip back here in the summer! www.brittfest.org



There are many shops and galleries lining California Street. If you have kids you will want to stop at Scheffel’s Toys specializing in high quality toys and serving Jacksonville since 1986. http://www.scheffels.com 180 W. California St.

Terra Firma specializes in gifts, toys and home décor. I never leave this shop empty handed. http://terrafirmahome.com/gift  135 California Street.



In true old west fashion Bella Union was originally a salon complete with shoot-outs (including a famous one involving a senator). Built in 1864 and restored after a fire in 1874, the current Bella Union has been serving fine Italian food featuring local ingredients since 1988. The historic brick building and wisteria covered patio are full of charm and ambiance. Certainly worth a visit when you are in Jacksonville. www.bellau.com 170 West California Street.

One of my favorite Thai restaurants in Southern Oregon is Thai House and that’s saying a lot because there are many good Thai restaurants here. This restaurant serves up some wonderful food at affordable prices. Open for both lunch and dinner. www.thaihousejville.com  215 West California.

Craving a cup o’ joe? Good Bean Coffee is a mainstay in Jacksonville, in business roasting and serving fine coffee since 1990. This fair trade organic coffee house is located in one of the oldest historic buildings in the state of Oregon, The Table Rock Billiards and Saloon build in 1852. www.goodbean.com  165 South Oregon Street.


There are quite a few unique places to stay in Jacksonville, many of which are B&B’s housed in beautiful historic buildings. For a complete list see www.jacksonvilleoregon.org/lodging.html

The Jacksonville Inn was constructed at the height of the gold rush in 1861. Built with local materials, they say you can see the glimmer of gold in the mortar. The inn includes rooms inside the original brick building as well as four cottages. In addition to a nights stay the Inn is also an acclaimed restaurant. Oregon Magazine has called it one of the best restaurants in the state while The Wine Spectator has given it an award of excellence in honor of their extensive wine list. www.jacksonvilleinn.com 175 E. California Street. Rates from $159

If you’re looking for suites complete with kitchens and modern amenities check out Elan Suites & Gallery. Here the hotel is an art gallery in itself with works by local artists displayed throughout.  www.elanguestsuites.com 245 West Main Street. 541-899-8000. Rates from $180.


In the past couple of decades the Applegate Valley has transitioned from a rural farming area to a well known wine growing destination. With gorgeous scenery and award winning wines a drive through wine country is certainly a relaxing way to spend a day. From Jacksonville take California Street which turns into Hwy 238. For maps and information on the wineries see www.sorwa.org or www.southernoregonwineblog.com

Many of these wineries are perfect for a picnic with picturesque views and beautiful grounds. Although a wine tour may seem like something that only the adults would enjoy it’s actually fun for the kids. Many of the wineries are very family friendly and even offer special family events. (The Easter Egg hunt at Troon Vineyard last year was a unique and fun way to spend the holiday.) Once you travel through the Applegate Valley you will find yourself in Grants Pass which is the topic of the upcoming part 3 of this series. (For part 1 see http://www.rogueinoregon.com/?p=512 which focuses on Ashland)

Mar 06

Take a Break in Ashland

When a friend mentioned coming to Southern Oregon with his family for spring break I started compiling a list of suggestions of what to do, where to stay and a long list of must try restaurants. The list quickly grew to become this article. This article then grew and became a three part peek at many of the attractions, inns and restaurants that make Southern Oregon special. So if you are planing a trip to Southern Oregon for a vacation or you’re a local looking for new things to do,  here are some suggestions for enjoying this sunny southwestern corner of Oregon.


Nestled at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains at 2000 feet elevation sits the picturesque town of Ashland, Oregon.  The city is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, funky shops, fantastic restaurants and an abundance of natural beauty.


You can’t mention Ashland without some words about the Shakespeare Festival.  It is one of the most well known and oldest theater companies in the nation. Seeing a play here is certainly a treat and although spring is just the beginning of their season a few plays are available to see in the month of March including Romeo and Juliet, Animal Crackers and Seagull. For more info see  www.osfashland.org/

An activity both kids and their parents are sure to enjoy is Science Works. This science center houses approximately 100 interactive exhibits that encourage the exploration and education of science. There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits here including Explore Zone which is an exhibit from San Francisco’s Exploratorium, the Bubble-ology Room and Pedal Power Railroad.  1500 E. Main St.  www.scienceworksmuseum.org

If you are looking for fun with the kids head down to Lithia Park which is only a short walk from downtown. The park, designed by the landscape architect of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, John McLaren is a great place to relax and take in the laid back beauty of Ashland.  Here you’ll find duck ponds, a playground and large grassy lawns perfect for a game of Frisbee as well as Ashland creek running the length of the park. If that water looks refreshing you can take a sip from the water fountains on the plaza, that is if the smell of sulfur doesn’t scare you off.  This is no mere water but Lithia water which is named for the lithium salts it contains which are said to have great health benefits.  Drink up!

It may be spring break but at 7500 feet Mt. Ashland may still provide some winter fun in the snow. This ski area is open daily except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays but open all week the week of March 24th which corresponds to spring break for much of Oregon. The resort operation schedule is subject to change depending on weather conditions so check before going (541) 482-2897    Take I5 South from Ashland to the Mt. Ashland exit (Exit 6)  www.mtashland.com


From Lithia Park head to the Plaza and Downtown Ashland for a great selection of independently owned shops and restaurants, no chain stores here. (Well, there is one Starbucks but it blends right in).

Unicorn Gifts and Toys has a great selection of unique gifts and plenty of toys for the kids.53 N 2nd St., (541) 488-5943.

Bloomsbury Books  is a fantastic independent bookstore in downtown Ashland located at 290 E.Main.  www.bloomsburyashland.com

If you like getting crafty and making jewelry check out The Bead Studio which has a large selection of jewelry making materials. 266 E.Main. 541-488-3037

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Ashland is home to Dagoba Organic Chocolate which has a retail outlet at 1105 Benson Way.  Open M-F from 10-4. This gourmet chocolate company specializes in high quality organic chocolate which is in their words, “edible gold”.  www.dagobachocolate.com

Everything old is new again; this is certainly the wave with music and the resurgence of Vinyl.  For the best selection in Southern Oregon check out Music Coop which also boasts a stock of over 20,000 CD’s  268 E.Main. www.musiccooponline.com 


When you work up an appetite there are a plethora of cafes lining the streets. For breakfast Greenleaf offers a large selection which includes many vegetarian options. An Ashland staple for the past 27 years it’s also great for lunch or dinner. Located on the plaza at 49 N.Main.  www.greenleafrestaurant.com

If pizza is your favorite head to Martollis also on the Plaza for pizza by the slice or a whole pie. The pizza is delish! Enjoy eating in or getting it to go and heading to the neighboring Lithia Park.  38 East Main Street.  www.martollis.com

Since you are in Oregon you know there has to be some tasty home grown beer, fear not Standing Stone Brewery is not only a local brewery specializing in organic beer but a great place to stop by for lunch or dinner. The menu offers typical brew pub fare including sandwiches, pizza, salads, etc. Try the fresh cut garlic fries if you dare! If you stop by on a warm sunny day make sure to get a table on their deck which offers views of the surrounding mountains. 101 Oak St.  www.standingstonebrewing.com




Originally built in 1925 The Ashland Springs Hotel www.ashlandspringshotel.com was for many years the tallest building between San Francisco and Portland. Now it is a charming hotel in the heart of Ashland. Having been completely restored to its current state it is a sophisticated boutique hotel with all the amenities you would expect at any luxury inn. Enjoy the adjoining restaurant Larks  www.larksrestaurant.com/ or the Waterstone Spa during your stay.212 E. Main Street.  Rates from $150.

If you prefer to be closer to the natural offerings of the Ashland area check out Callahan’s Lodge. At the base of Mt Ashland in the Siskiyou Mountains this rebuilt lodge and restaurant have a rustic charm and are convenient to both the ski resort and the Pacific Crest Trail which passes by only ¼ mile away. Located just six miles north of the California boarder and 10 miles south of Ashland off of I5 at exit 6.   7100 Old Highway 99 South Rates from $125-$250.  www.callahanslodge.com

This is only a small sampling of what Ashland has to offer. This unique quaint town is a great place to spend at least part of your spring vacation. Check back for part 2 and see what else Southern Oregon has to offer.

Dec 15

Grants Pass Meets Mars this Christmas


Celebrate Christmas on Mars at the Bear Hotel in Grants Pass. Once again local artists have collaborated with Evergreen Federal Bank to produce a one of a kind holiday experience. This free event features Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, a Martian Museum, an ice cave and a 21ft tall rocket ship! This all takes place at the Bear Hotel at 2101 Spalding Ave., in GrantsPass.December 17, 19, 20,21, 22 and 23rd.  Call 541-479-3351 for more information.

Did I mention that Bigfoot is making an appearance this year? See you there!



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