On Tuesday, June 4th, we cleared out, wiped, and vacuumed the final inch of the rental apartment. We swung by Goodwill for one last donation dropoff. We hit Interstate 5 due south for a new kind of road trip. First stop: Ashland, Oregon.

AirBnB delivers

In our first AirBnB experience we rented a guest room with a private entrance at the back of a retired English teacher’s house, south of downtown Ashland. It felt like visiting someone’s home, albeit in the room repurposed for commercial accommodations. Hospitality in the form of treats and conversation balanced it out.

AirBnB delivered on its promise to help “Rent from people in over 34,000 cities and 192 countries.” Based on the initial experience, the online utility may be for you if you prefer a more personal touch than hotels provide, if you find staying around a lot of people difficult, or the slight intrusiveness of hosts at classic B’n’B establishments bothers you (long story).

We will be using the website to find places to stay over the next 12 months, when home will be where our toothbrushes reside, so the review list will grow. Based on the initial AirBnB experience, visiting locals in their homes gives us a lot to look forward to.

Ashland Oregon - AirBnB

Our first AirBnB experience unfolded here. What a breakfast spot!

Shakespeare under southern Oregon sky

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a nonprofit, calls itself “a major theatre arts organization.” From February to November, OSF “offers a diversity of plays as well as events and activities” in and around three downtown theaters, making Shakespearean theater Ashland’s major summer attraction. We had tickets to see one of the Bard’s later, lesser-known plays, Cymbeline in the outdoor Elizabethan Stage.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production satisfies a diverse crowd. We saw semi-retired and retired Baby Boomers, many with patron tickets, converging on the town for a few days (Lindsay saw a couple of her high-school teachers); elderly folk with various age impairments; seniors with their grandchildren; teenagers on a school trip. All had one thing in common: the love of theater and its manifestation here.

For both Lindsay and I theater associates with high school when the entire class would take time off regular instruction and attend an educational artistic performance (if the excitement of so many teenagers about the theatrical production can be any indication, small-town, niche theater has a bright future). Though theater is an art form we rarely seek out and though we were exhausted from the move and drive, we loved seeing the play.

For three hours, we watched the complex tale unfold in a quality production while the dusk turned to night and the stars came out. I heartily recommend seeing a play at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; it’s worth springing $70 for a good ticket for a premier high-culture experience. We will definitely be back.

Ashland Oregon - Cymbeline

Photo courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The city of firsts

Ashland has supplanted Grants Pass as a halfway point on the drive to or from California to visit Lindsay’s family in Sonoma and El Dorado Counties (we go once or twice a year). The last time we stopped, after Christmas last year, we stayed an extra night just to enjoy the town’s winter weather and small-town holiday atmosphere. We have now seen the city’s summer face, and we love it.

Ashland not only offsets its functionality for us as a convenient location to break up an otherwise tedious drive, it offers an entertaining destination. It continues to be the city of firsts for us. Though we still feel like tourists there, with each stay Ashland is becoming a temporary home in between homes.

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