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August 29, 2014 / Jim Fenton

Northwest Day 13: Ashland and the Shakespeare Festival

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Odometer: 2078

Having gone through the brochures available at our hotel, we weren’t sure how to spend the day. There were some rafting trips and similar expeditions, but they are relatively far away, and we had tickets to see A Comedy of Errors at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this evening. So we just had breakfast and headed to Ashland to look around.

Lithia Park musician

Musician in Lithia Park, Ashland

We were greeted with all sorts of interesting shops: several bookstores, a kitchen and home gadgets store, clothing, etc. We had a very enjoyable day exploring downtown Ashland and strolling through Lithia Park adjacent to the Shakespeare Festival buildings. We stayed until about 4 pm so that we would have time to return to the hotel, clean up, and have dinner before returning for the show.

Because we expected crowds in Ashland just prior to the evening shows, we had dinner near our hotel in Medford at McGrath’s, a fish restaurant chain reminiscent of The Fish Market restaurants near home.

We then drove back to Ashland, arriving in plenty of time for the performance. The production of A Comedy of Errors was an adaptation set in the Harlem section of New York City in the 1920s, the mistaken identity the result of freed slaves being separated following reconstruction. It was a creative and fun adaptation that also taught us about some of the challenges facing African-Americans at the time. This was far from the stuffy Shakespeare that I have often come to expect.

Overall, Ashland was a delight. We expect that we will be back before long.

Mileage today: 49 miles

This article is part of a series about our recent driving vacation to the Pacific Northwest. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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