The last stop on our vacation before hitting the Cascade Writers Workshop in Vancouver, Washington, was Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is reknowned for its Shakespeare Festival and, for reasons I am not entirely clear on, I have long held a strong antipathy towards it, despite never having been.
So it was that I agreed to let Tom take me, as it's one of his favorite places, and I had subjected him to caves and sand dunes. We had tickets for the evening performance of Henry the Fifth, which I knew approximately nothing about, but there was plenty of day to fill beforehand, under a very hot sun.
Ashland provides a smorgasbord of humanity. A number of retirees, folks like us, and what appeared to be an entire village worth of neo-hippy types. Peoplewatching could easily be a favorite passtime there. You'd never be bored.
The first place we stopped was Lithia Park (due to free, head-in parking, and a public restroom). It's a beautiful park with wide open grassy areas, large trees providing copious shade, duck ponds, and a river running down its length where kids and grown-ups went wading. This was easily my favorite place in Ashland, and I returned there later in the day with a notepad to sit by one of the duck ponds and do some writing in the shade.
Many shops and art studios line the main street and we hit several of them. My favorite was the music store. I managed to escape without purchasing any new instruments, but I did pick up some fabulous sheet music, including "The Fellowship of the Ring" for voice and piano. SO MUCH FUN!
Dinner was in a nice Italian restaurant, then off to the theater for the show. I was wearing a sundress, with a little short-sleeved jacket, but even then, despite the show running until nearly eleven o'clock, I was easily warm enough. (Did I mention it was hot in Ashland?)
I enjoyed the play, which was presented in an outdoor theater, but would probably have been well-served to have studied up a bit on the show beforehand. On the other hand, at least I spoke enough French to follow the two sections of the show which were almost entirely in French. Poor Tom was utterly lost.
Back to the hotel for bed. It was going to be a long drive up to Vancouver the next day. Thank goodness for air conditioning!