Ashland Wine Tasting: Shakespeare and chardonnay, a fine pairing in Southern Oregon

written by Kevin Max vines • wine • tapas There is no better place in America to combine bold wines and the boisterous Bard than in Ashland. So far south in Oregon, Ashland feels as much northern California as it does Southern Oregon. Climate doesn’t strictly respect state borders, but the climate for wine growing in Southern Oregon does have its boundaries. There are warmer Spanish tempranillos and cooler pinots, with syrahs and chardonnays in between. The stages of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival bud and bloom with wit, sarcasm, churl and charm. Spring and summer in the Southern Oregon tasting rooms and vineyards bring a full-bodied intensity with a note of drama and an air of openness. For visitors who have never been to Ashland, the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful hills and rolling terrain surrounding it to the west, south and east. It’s on the faces of…

Cellist Daniel Sperry interprets Ashland’s Lithia Park for music and emotion

written by Kevin Max TTHE VOICES OF YOUNG KIDS bounce along the turning leaves of Lithia Park. A man submerges a cylindrical wire frame into a bucket and pulls it out, wet and dripping. He makes a slow arc with the wet frame, and an oblong bubble fills and trails behind it, growing to a size equal to the child waiting to chase it into the sky. The bubble separates from the implement and floats out of reach of the small saboteur. The smooth tenor of a cello follows the bubble’s plight as it rises slowly, soon to burst on an oak branch above. The notes subtly gain pitch as the bubble rises like Icarus to its certain demise. The cellist sees all of this and is, at once, sympathizing with the plight of the Icarus bubble while taking in the kid commotion and reading the emotion on the faces…

New Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Nataki Garrett seeks to broaden marketing and season

What I’m Workin On interview by Sheila G. Miller The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced earlier this year that its new artistic director will be Nataki Garrett, a veteran stage director and the festival’s first African-American leader. She will be responsible for the artistic vision of the festival, which was founded in 1935 and has grown over the decades to become one of the biggest nonprofit theaters in the country. Garrett isn’t starting out slowly. While she takes over as the artistic director in August, she has been on site since April and will also direct a play, “How to Catch Creation,” at OSF in July. What exactly goes into being the artistic director?  I am the figurehead for artistic leadership, but I am also responsible for basically two-thirds of everything that happens in our organization. I’m responsible for all things in production such as choosing plays, hiring artists for plays…

Aerial Courses — adventurers zip, sway and swoop on carefully designed courses

written by Jennifer Burns Bright Monkeys aren’t the only ones who can swing from trees. Increasingly popular at resorts and outdoor destinations, “American Ninja”-style aerial courses challenge visitors to sway on zigzaggy wooden bridges set between high platforms, climb rope webs and zip through the sky. Some even dare the fearless to leap to the ground or into water. We’ve selected three of Oregon’s coolest courses—all surrounded by nature in breathtaking areas—to explore on your summer vacation. Klamath Falls Crater Lake Zipline If hiking through the forests or fishing near Crater Lake seems too leisurely, how about zipping through the canopy of pine and fir trees? Just thirty-five minutes from Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake Zipline affords magnificent 360-degree views of Upper Klamath Lake and Mount McLoughlin as riders sail over the treetops. Kids can now climb over their own spider webs and bridge challenges on the new Sasquatch…

Wild and Romantic Outdoor Getaways

Getting outside can be an aphrodisiac— turn up the heat this summer with an outdoor adventure written by Kevin Max We know you like to make travel plans around new and exciting experiences in the outdoors, so we happily brought together some of our top picks for outdoor getaways in every region of Oregon. These range from remote hike-in cabins in Eastern Oregon to hot springs resorts in Central Oregon, a fabulous Mid-century makeover in Southern Oregon, a fire lookout in the Willamette Valley and more. Here is the fruit of this exploration. Eastern Oregon » Halfway In a southwest breach of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and 10 miles west of the Snake River lies tiny Halfway. It’s the remoteness of Halfway and the cuteness of Pine Valley Lodge that makes this a romantic outdoorsy getaway. The bed & breakfast has twelve rooms with two stand-alone cottages, one that…

A guide’s list of Oregon’s best climbing destinations

written by Peter Madsen Ancient seismic upheaval and and the erosive work of bygone lakes and rivers have carved many of Oregon’s striking landscapes. As a result, pockets of great climbing opportunities abound, according to Cliff Agocs, a rock guide certified by the American Mountain Guides Association. Also the co-owner of Timberline Mountain Guides, Agocs, a Bend resident, has traveled Oregon extensively in search of new climbing opportunities. And he’s yet to climb everything. Here, Agocs provides readers with some of Oregon’s best climbing destinations, including route varieties, rock type and other considerations. Most of Oregon’s climbing destinations are home to local climbing communities that set and maintain interesting routes. Respecting the local climbing ethics is one of the keys to enjoying an area without “blowing it up,” Agocs said. A great place to begin research is www.mountainproject.com, an REI-funded online climbing guide. As a general rule, Oregon’s wealth of…

Oregon’s Best Places to Retire

written by Lee Lewis Husk Retiring with visions of sitting on a beach sipping Mai Tais? Well, maybe not in Oregon, where you’re more likely to be pulling on a wetsuit to wade into the surf or rubber boots to walk the dog. Oregon isn’t Florida or Arizona, but it does have considerable appeal to those no longer tethered to a paycheck. Whether you’re a 45-year-old techie escaping Silicon Valley, an urbanite fleeing traffic or a rural boomer seeking great health care facilities, you’ll need a place to retire and call home.  We’ve found six towns that may tickle your retirement dreams. In selecting this list, we considered the availability and cost of housing, weather, proximity to airports, health care, cultural and recreational amenities, and the history and vibe of the place. Brookings Sun Worshippers, Camels & Cacti Not Found Here With 50 inches of rain falling between November and…