By Pati Navalta By Pati Navalta | March 30, 2022 | Lifestyle
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's artistic director shares how to spend 48 hours in Ashland.
Irvine & Roberts Vineyards
To those who fondly remember traveling roughly 350 miles north of San Francisco to experience the magic of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, it’s time to rekindle the passion of this cultural jewel. This month, the festival kicks off its 2022 season, marking Artistic Director Nataki Garrett’s first full season and a long-awaited return to repertory production. The 2022 lineup features eight plays and musicals performing in OSF’s three theaters in Ashland, Ore., and, as an integral part of Garrett’s bold new vision for the 86-year-old company, an ambitious expansion into digital and immersive storytelling forms. The season will reflect a growing commitment to BIPOC stories and artists, more equitable and sustainable theater-making practices and a simplified and accessible ticket-pricing structure— luring even more Bay Area residents back to the beloved theater (an impressive 25% of the theater’s total tickets are sold to Bay Area households).
There are, of course, other things to do in Ashland. And for those who make the trek, why not explore beyond OSF? Garrett offers her favorite local spots to sip, savor and stay before and after the show. April 15-Oct. 30, plays Wed.-Sun., 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland, Ore., 541.482.2111
The lush and inviting exterior of the Winchester Inn
“They have an amazing breakfast,” says Garrett. The 21-room boutique inn features suites, cottages, tiered English gardens, Alchemy Restaurant and Bar and a convenient location for shopping, visiting art galleries and the OSF. 35 S. Second St., 541.488.1113
This is Garrett’s favorite place to relax. The spa has two locations, but the downtown Ashland location is the place to go if plans include staying within OSF’s orbit. The spa menu offers a variety of traditional massage treatments, with a few specialties, such as chocolate full-body massages, facials and “vino therapy” body polishes. 236 E. Main St., 541.488.0325
Breakfast: Morning Glory
Garrett says this spot is known for its great twists on breakfast favorites, such as banana bread French toast, oatmeal pancakes and lemon ricotta French toast. 1149 Siskiyou Blvd., 541.482.2017
The magic of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Lunch: Osteria la Bricolla
The local favorite specializes in North Italian cuisine, including housemade pastas. On sunny days, Garrett recommends taking advantage of its large outdoor deck. 18 Calle Guanajuato Way, 541.708.0775
Peerless Restaurant & Bar is located near OSF in Ashland’s Historic Railroad District. The neighborhood gathering place offers seasonal dishes, cocktails and wines. 265 Fourth St., 541.488.6067
Irvine & Roberts Vineyards features gorgeous spots to taste its pinot noir and chardonnay
If staying for more than a couple of days, Garrett suggests wine tasting at this family-owned vineyard, just 5 miles from downtown Ashland. Visitors can take in views of the estate vineyards and surrounding Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges, while sipping on pinot noir and chardonnay. 1614 Emigrant Creek Road, 541.482.9383
If visitors crave brews and excellent fries, Garrett recommends Ashland’s newest tap house with craft cocktails, craft beer and farm-to-table menus. 21 Winburn Way, 541.482.0119
For drinks after the show, Garrett says Martino’s Upstairs is the place to go—especially for a lively local scene. 58 E. Main St., 541.488.4420
A small-town gem, this 100-acre park offers outstanding vistas and plenty of room to roam for excellent hikes and, when done, excellent spots for picnicking—all at the hub of downtown Ashland. Winburn Way, 541.488.5340
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF IRVINE & ROBERTS VINEYARDS; PHOTO COURTESY OF WINCHESTER INN; PHOTO BY CRAIG STEWART; PHOTO COURTESY OF IRVINE & ROBERTS; PHOTO BY NEUMAN HOTEL GROUP