Ashland marked the end of my Great American Western Road Trip, which began on July 28th. Hard to believe it has been over 2 months already! In any case, Ashland was a wonderful end to an amazing trip. This town of 20,000 people has lots of character, culture, and beauty. Excerpts from an email are below:
I can’t believe I have never stopped through Ashland before since I have passed by it (on I-5) a number of times already. I guess driving down I-5 revealed nothing special back then, just some brown hills to the east. However! Ashland (which is west of I-5) is really nice! Ashland esp.; you really MUST stop on through! Esp. stop through Lithia Park, which abuts downtown. I walked through it for 30 minutes this morning and it is really gorgeous, one of the nicest parks I have seen (even nicer than Drake Park in Bend). Downtown is also really nice, with Shakespeare signs everywhere, lots of restaurants and shops, and was very lively even on Sunday morning.
Real estate in Ashland is on the same level or even more expensive than Bend. It is a wonderful town though, and Southern Oregon University is there so there were plenty of young people out and about. In contrast I think Medford is more a family town like you said.
I also went to check out Mt. Ashland (since that is where one would go skiing), and it is really close!! Like <15 miles away to the lifts!
Mt. Shasta is also only like 70 miles away? Another great place for x-country skiing, so I hear. (And of course, moutaineering.)
Ashland has 20,000 people, Medford about 65,000. However, they are only 13 miles apart so one could almost consider that one big area (as findyourspot.com does).
The weather is good too—only 19″ of rain/year, unlike Portland’s 42″ or whatever.
A friend in Boulder mentioned how Ashland reminded her of Boulder. I could see what she meant, as the downtown and all of the trees and flowers around kind of reminded me of Boulder too.