Ann: How many drinks of alcohol do you consume a week?
Ann: That’s it? One drink?
Ron: One shelf.
Ann: Do you exercise?
Ron: Yes. Lovemaking and woodworking.
Ann: Do you have any history of mental illness in your family?
Ron: I have an uncle who does yoga.
I don’t know how it happened exactly…it’s not like I was in the middle of watching a Parks and Recreation episode when it came to me, but I randomly found myself wondering what Ron Swanson would enjoy if he found himself in Ashland, Oregon. I don’t think it would be much of a stretch considering he’s an outdoorsy man’s man who would definitely appreciate Lithia Park’s rugged beauty, and would probably live somewhere up a long dirt road near Emigrant Lake. Ron Swanson once said, “I’m a simple man. I like pretty dark-haired women, and breakfast food,” and Ashland isn’t short on either.
So, you want to know where Ron Swanson would find himself in Ashland, Oregon? I’ll tell you exactly where:
36 S 2nd St, Ashland, OR 97520
“I call this turf ‘n’ turf. It’s a 16oz T-bone and a 24oz porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar.
I’m going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American.”
Ron Swanson would love Smithfields, no doubt. He’d appreciate the playful sense of humor of their front of house, Dee Vallentyne. He’d love how chef and owner Neil Clooney doesn’t mess around with the meat…it’s lightly seasoned, allowing it’s true flavor to shine exactly how mother nature intended. I mean, I think he’d even have a giggle over the vegetarian jokes that Smithfields proudly displays on their massive chalkboard wall. I imagine when Dee isn’t looking (or is…he doesn’t care), he’d add “Veganism is the sad result of a morally corrupt mind. Reconsider your life,” to the wall. Neil and Dee would opt to keep it there forever. He wouldn’t put his name to it though…it would just be signed “Man.” When the waitress takes his order, he would obviously order his turf ‘n’ turf. When asked if he wants any vegetable sides, he’d decline because he doesn’t eat food that his food eats. “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets,” so he would probably get giddy over their vast selection of whiskey. He’d try several of them, naturally. While sipping on his whiskey, he’d start to notice the paintings that adorn the walls. These paintings by the local artist Sarah Burns are still life oil on linen of meat scenes. They’re rustic, raw, and really damn good. He’d share his admiration with Dee, adding, “In my opinion, not enough people have looked their dinner in the eyes and considered the circle of life.” Dee will agree.
Ashland Fly Shop
399 E Main St, Ashland, OR 97520
“Fishing relaxes me. It’s like yoga except I still get to kill something.”
Upon entering the Ashland Fly Shop, Ron Swanson would without a doubt be in love with their old, creaky wood floor. He would ask owner Will Johnson how old it is, although it’s likely he would already know just based on the feel and sound of the wood. New to Ashland, I see Ron asking Will or one of the other employees for the best local fishing spots. The staff would not be able to deny his stern gaze and rigid mustache, so I imagine they’d easily give away their secret little spots. I initially thought he’d purchase many flies…especially if Aura, Will’s wife, happened to be on the sales floor because he’d find her pretty damn charming, however I know Swanson thinks that “people who buy things are suckers.” He might buy some fly tying materials though…might. He’d walk around, giggling his ass off over fly names like “Dirk Wiggler” and “Green Butt Skunk.” Ron believes that people should “fish for sport only, not for meat. Fish meat is practically a vegetable,” and the wild Steelhead population wishes everyone saw eye-to-eye with Ron on this one. Ron would enjoy everything about the Ashland Fly Shop…except for AFS’s star employee Jon Hazlett’s luscious locks. Jon, everyone knows that “there are three acceptable haircuts: high and tight, crew cut, buzz cut.” Get a damn haircut, son.
744 N Main St, Ashland, OR 97520
“Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait…wait. I worry what you just heard was: Give me a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?”
All business, Ron would enter the Breadboard and ask to be seated outside. To him, breakfast tastes better when consumed outside. Once seated, he’d order all of the bacon and eggs they have. ALL OF THEM. He’d also order a nice, tall glass of milk. He once said, “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water lying about being milk,” so that milk better be whole. Ron would like the fact that they didn’t over think their décor…breakfast speaks for itself and competes with nothing. Ron would sit in silence and savor his meal.
Open Mic Night (Tue Nights)
107 E Main St, Ashland, OR 97520
“On nights like this when the cold winds blow, the air is awash in the swirling eddies of our dream,
come with me and find safe haven in a warm bathtub full of my jazz.”
Ron would, without a doubt, bask in glory of being in a town where nobody will recognize him…allowing him to perfectly moonlight as Duke Silver, the sexy jazz saxophonist. One of the Reed brothers (the dudes that regularly host Open Mic Night) would announce that it’s Duke’s turn to take the stage. Duke would introduce himself: “Welcome heavenly creatures. You’ve found Duke Silver, your tour guide on the voyage to jazz… with stops at bliss, rapture, and wonder. So saddle up, because once you’re on board, this sax train keeps on keepin’ on.” Women would hear his saxy jazz from the street and pour downstairs into the Lounge. Kimmi, the barkeep, flustered by Duke and the sudden swarm of women needing a drink, would absolutely do her best to keep her physical and mental composure. It would wind up being the most entertaining and successful open mic night that the Lounge has ever seen…and will ever see until Duke’s return to Ashland.
Smithfields, the Ashland Fly Shop, The Breadboard, Lounge South…those are all places that good ol’ Ron Swanson would frequent without a doubt due to his love of meat, sport fishing, breakfast, and his desire to secretly jazz everywhere. Now, there are a few other places Ron would check out, but not necessarily to the delight of the business…
Ashland Food Co-op
237 N 1st St Ashland, OR 97520
“The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage,
balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so.
To me, that’s beautiful.
The only thing Ron Swanson would spend in the Co-op is time…people watching. Blonde dreadlocks are a sight to see! To Ron, quinoa is just a word baby’s babble, organic fruits and vegetables are for feeble, body-hairless men, and steak-less buffets should be deemed unconstitutional. BUT, he’d give a nod to the Co-op’s stride towards capitalism by charging a whopping $1.25 for a 2oz side of sour cream, because after all, “Capitalism is God’s way of determining who’s smart and who is poor.”
“After I got home, I drank six more glasses of whiskey and then I finished crafting this small harp,
using a bandsaw, a spokeshave and an oscillating spindle sander.”
Swanson would instinctively walk right on by a juice bar, however he’d stop in at NW Raw for sure: to admire the fine carpentry. That’s it. It’s nothing against NW Raw, it’s just that he doesn’t put things in his body from that part of the color spectrum.
*snaps out of reverie*
So there you have it! Ron Swanson visits Ashland, Oregon and it is glorious. Overall, Ron would walk away from Ashland pleased, but you’d never know it. I think pleased is the wrong word…approve. He’d approve of Ashland, Oregon…as long as we hide the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and hippies from him.
(NOTE: If you read this post not knowing who Ron Swanson is, I’m sorry. Put down the book and turn your TV on! Parks and Recreation on NBC is a show that most people with a decent IQ and a great sense of humor enjoy. Luckily for you, many seasons of the show are available on Netflix. Happy streaming!)