Last minute, we decided to head up to Ashland, OR for a short weekend trip. We found a great deal on a hotel (which I thought odd for Valentine’s weekend, but turns out it was the last week before the Shakespeare Festival started). We got there late Friday night, and woke up Saturday and went wine tasting at both Weisinger’s Winery and Dana Campbell Vineyards. Delicious wine and chocolate pairing in honor of Valentine’s Day at Weisinger’s and great views, a cheese plate and V-Day brownies at Dana Campbell.

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Dana Campbell Vineyard

We walked around downtown and shopped a little for soap and spices. Then we had a late lunch at Standing Stone Brewery, and A did a flight of their beer, which he enjoyed. We hung around for a little bit, and then went to our reservations at Liquid Assets Wine Bar, where we were surprisingly not rushed, or in a crowd at all. They even had their normal menu, which was delicious.

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Bronze replica of a wooden carving gifted from the local Native tribes, downtown Ashland.

Sunday, we woke up and went for a latte (A!) and a raspberry lemon cupcake (me!) after breakfast. We walked around downtown Ashland a bit more, and went to a cute department-like store named after Paddington Bear. It was full of adorable things to look through. We got back into the car and drove to Medford, where we went to Rogue Creamery, where we did cheese tastings. We got some of their gold prize-winning blue cheese, a smoked goat cheese wrapped in a maple leaf (!), a truffle infused cheese, and a sharp salty cheese that was apparently commissioned by King Louis XIV’s royal court. We also had a sample of an all-natural siracha and decided to buy a bottle. So far, I’ve used it to make a molasses/plum/siracha glaze for shrimp, onion, and bell pepper stir-fry. I’m planning on doing a honey siracha chicken and siracha turkey burgers as well. =)

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In the bathroom of Opposition Brewery

We then stopped by Opposition Brewery, which has a tiny production system (1.5 barrels!). This is the first tasting where A liked every single beer, which is a huge accomplishment, because A really only likes dark/heavy beers, and doesn’t like IPAs.

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Afterwards, we went to the Harry & David flagship store in Medford, where we got free food and wine samples–yum!

We’d been itching to get a bike ride in, so we were all set to bike Lithia Park, but once we got to the entrance, we realized bikes weren’t allowed. So we biked up the side of the hill/mountain the park was nestled next to, and then biked down near the park parking lot. We passed a cute pond, a random deer that was weirdly ok with people coming very close to it.

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Zen Garden in Lithia Park

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Don’t know why he was there, but he looked pretty happy munching away.

On the way out of the park, we passed an outdoor ice-skating rink, which was kind of weird, because it was at least 60 degrees out and I was a little warm in the outfit above. We did about 3 laps at a snail’s pace before a 12ish year old girl took pity on us and gave us mini-lessons. She would have been the perfect teacher, and we told her she should be charging. Eventually, we got to the level where we could skate a good 10 feet without fear of falling, but it was hard work to get that far!

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After biking and skating, we decided to reward ourselves with a dip in Jackson Wellsprings, which is the local spring, which provides a steady stream of warm, alkaline water. We went in for a quick dip expecting it to be pretty similar to the springs/baths in Iceland, but it was a paved pool with the spring water pumped in/out, and because it was after 5:30pm, bathing suits were optional! We could definitely feel the healing properties of the water, but the structured pool environment kind of killed it for us, so we packed up and headed out.

DSC_0682We ate dinner at Caldera Brewing, which was absolutely delicious. A got a flight of his choice (they had 40 of their beers on tap), and we shared a Jamaican Jerk Chicken pizza with guacamole and lime wedges on each slice. And then we had a strawberry-kiwi pizza for dessert. Yum!

The entire room was lined with beer bottles from all over the world, which were really fun to look at and pick out the ones we recognized.