Ashland boasts dining, shopping, Shakespeare


by Eileen Wilson

It started more than a decade ago when my then 11-year-old daughter, Bethany, said, “Hey, I hear there’s a place called Ashland and they have a big Shakespeare festival.”

Well, the daughter is grown and gone, but that doesn’t stop me from escaping to Ashland, Oregon, with friends and family as often as possible, sometimes up to four times a year. That’s because Ashland is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and it doesn’t matter what time of year you go. And here’s a little secret — you don’t even have to like Shakespeare.

Summer is surely one of the best times to visit Ashland, as the festival is in full swing. The venue has three theaters with 11 plays in repertoire. The out door venue, the Elizabethan, is a replica of the Globe Theatre in London.

This year’s lineup of plays is outstanding, and Shakespeare makes up less than one-third of the schedule. Ashland is one of the only places in the world where you will find worldclass acting in a small, eclectic town. Look through the playbill and you’ll see star power from Broadway and Hollywood, and credentials from Julliard and other world-renowned performing-arts colleges.

Ashland Creek Inn proprietor, Graham Sheldon, describes the festival’s sheer number of plays as the town’s biggest draw — there are up to five each day.