Have you ever had that itch where you’ve just had to get away? The feeling that you need a moment to breathe and some new place to explore? Ryan and I felt that a few weekends ago… so we picked Ashland, Oregon to explore! Did you know that the southern end of Oregon is a mere 3 1/4 hours from Chico? AND because it’s north, not south like the Bay Area, there’s basically NO traffic (what a win!). We packed up our car with our stuff and our pup (Frankie the red Queensland Heeler) and journeyed north.
Ashland is known for it’s funky, hipster feels and Shakespearian atmosphere… they have Shakespeare plays continuing for 8 months out of the year. Many people travel here to see these famous plays. And while that’s cool and all…. Ryan and I spent our time sipping wine and lattes, eating the local cuisine, and roaming the great outdoors. We left Chico about noon and we didn’t get into Ashland until about 4:00 and where did we head straight to? Weisinger’s, a fantastic local winery. We were half the people there (which isn’t a bad thing when you visit somewhere in their “off season”) so we had the outdoor deck all to ourselves which overlooked the rolling hills beyond the highway. We ended up with a bottle of their Syrah to share with my parents.
We stayed at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites which definitely fit the funky feel of Ashland and they allowed dogs, yay! After we settled into our hotel room, we ventured to the small downtown of Ashland. I’m from a small town, so I have grown to love other small town downtown areas. They have so much culture and you can get a feel for the locals with all the different stores. We ate at a restaurant called Harvey’s Place the first night where we dined on tater tots and mac and cheese (I know, I know, we eat like 12 year olds) but we highly recommend this place for fellow Ashland adventurers.
On Sunday, we headed to a coffee spot called Noble Coffee Roasting that at least 5 people told us we HAD to go while we were here and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I have a confession… I’ll drink any kind of coffee as long as it has sugar in it (I’m partial to Dutch Bros… keep your comments to yourself) so the vanilla latte I had was superb as I can’t tell the difference between amazing coffee and average coffee. I count heavily on Ryan to tell me if a coffee shop is good or not as he normally drinks straight espresso. I just love the vibes in a coffee shop and I love to people watch.
We ate lunch in a very hip restaurant called the Brick Room that my sister and brother in law recommended to us. Ryan and I are definitely foodies (which is why I have to run otherwise I would weigh 500 pounds) and we LOVED the food here. Check out their menu here if you ever visit Ashland. After eating, we meandered through the shops in the downtown area (which is super dog friendly, fyi) and made our way to Rogue Valley Runners which is my second favorite running store (second to Fleet Feet, obvi!). Rogue Valley Runners is owned by a phenomenal ultra marathoner by the name of Hal Koerner and his store is a runner’s paradise!
Our last stop was at Emigrant Lake to get some energy out of our crazy dog before we headed back to Chico. It was foggy, windy, rainy and gorgeous. We just walked the levee but I wish we could have stayed longer. Check this place out in the summertime, I hope to go back!
The next weekend: Table Mountain in Oroville.
I have been here a lot… basically every spring since my freshmen year in college. It’s definitely up there on my favorite places in the world. You haven’t been there and you live in the Chico area… SHAME ON YOU. Get your butt to table mountain, right now.
Directions: Take 99 south and exit on the Butte College ramp, turn left onto Durham/Dayton Rd and follow it past Butte College. You’ll come to a four way stop, continue straight through that and at the second stop sign, you’ll turn right (which is Pentz Rd). Once on Pentz, it’ll dead end into Highway 70- take a left here. Once you take the left onto HWY 70, look for the first right you can make onto Cherokee Rd (there aren’t any signs for Table Mountain). Follow Cherokee rd until you see a small parking lot with port-o-potties and you’ve reached the beginning point of Table Mountain Ecological Reserve.
Pictured below: Phantom Falls
It’s privately owned property that they open to the public (and cows) year round, but the only time it’s worth visiting is from the middle of March to the end of April. This flat “table” area explodes with wildflowers and it’s a sight to behold! There are several water falls in the area, the most common to hike to is called Phantom Falls and I’ve never hiked to it before until this past weekend. It’s not very far, it was only about a 3.5 mile hike round trip and people of all ages and stages of life can definitely make it to at least the first water fall (Phantom Fall is the furthest water fall from the parking area). Take your time on this hike and enjoy the scenery. All I can say is that God’s creation is glorious.
Fun thing that happened at the end of our hike — we saw someone trying to back their car out of spot and realized it was our neighbor… so Ryan helped her back out of the spot and we thought that was it. Once we got home, she came over and gave us a book to say thank you. Guys, she’s a botanist and she WROTE THE BOOK and it’s all about the wildflowers on Table Mountain. How random and cool is that? The book is called the Wildflowers of Table Mountain and it’s pretty nifty.
Gaze upon the beauty that is Table Mountain… and keep in mind… these pictures don’t do it justice.