Day 2- Ashland, Oregon
After spending a lovely, albeit long day driving up the coast from San Francisco, California to Ashland, Oregon it was nice to awake the following day knowing we had a little more time to chill before hitting the road again. As we pulled into Ashland the night before around midnight I was excited to get exploring as it was my boyfriend John’s first time visiting the tiny Shakespearian town. Although I currently call NYC home I have a special place in my heart for Ashland. It’s the place my mother and her husband built the home they plan to retire in when they eventually move back west (they were forced to move east looking for work opportunities after the recession hit.) Over the years they were living there I spent many an enjoyable evening in Ashland, strolling along main street, occasionally popping in and out of the boutiques and specialty stores that line the adorable streets of downtown.
If you have never been to Ashland, or even heard of it for that matter, it is truly a wonderfully magical place. A small oasis in the middle of the hot desert landscape of southern Oregon, Ashland is most renowned for its annual Shakespeare festival where the town hosts thousands of theater enthusiasts eager to see one of the eleven plays it produces on three stages from February to October with approximately half of the plays by William Shakespeare.
Besides the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland also boasts another claim to fame, its natural Lithia spring waters, which are rare in most parts of the world but are plentiful in the tiny Oregon town. Lithia water is a mineral water that contains lithium salts and it is believed that the health benefits of drinking Lithia water are plentiful including having neuroprotective abilities, improving mood and cognitive functions as well as helping people combat heart disease and increase life expectancy just to name a few. Although no independent scientific research had been conducted on Lithia water until the 1980’s, the lack of hard scientific proof of the benefits of Lithia water hasn’t deterred the swarms of believers who flock from all over the world year round to Ashland to drink the mineral water from the many public Lithia fountains found in the town square or to take a dip in the numerous natural hot springs in the area. I personally have drunk Lithia water many times and although I definitely believe there is something undeniably beneficial about drinking the mineral water, it is a little stinky and kind of tastes like eggs.
If you have yet to pass through Ashland I highly recommend you put it on your list of places to visit. Besides the Lithia water and Shakespeare festival, Ashland is home to some of the loveliest people on earth (seriously) and if you cant make it during the Shakespeare festival Christmas time in Ashland is my absolute favorite time to visit as it transforms into a full blown Christmas town for the holidays. I can only describe Ashland at Christmas as the way I imagined Santa’s village in the North Pole to be when I was younger, the building and homes covered lights and sparkling decorations as far as the eye can see, a truly enchanting and unforgettable experience.