Make a Rogue rafting trip the centerpiece of a week’s vacation. Here’s what I would do if I wuz you.
Drive to Ashland, arriving mid-afternoon. Check in to the elegantly restored Ashland Springs Hotel. The rooms at the Ashland Springs are old fashioned and comfortable and the hotel is within walking distance of downtown. There are some great galleries and shops nearby. Before dinner, walk to Lithia Park and relax along the creek, sit on a bench, listen to the water and then head to the Standing Stone Brewery for dinner and enjoy their tasty brews and terrific entrees and salads. It’s a great place to unwind after a day of driving. On the way back to the hotel, stop and browse in one of the best bookstores anywhere, Bloomsbury Books.
Monday. Get up early, grab a cup of coffee and before breakfast head to Lithia Park for a morning hike or jog. The trail follows beautiful Ashland Creek through woods and you will pass a Japanese Garden, duck ponds, a rose garden and groves of sycamore trees. Today take a short drive to the historic gold rush town of Jacksonville and a visit to nearby Applegate Valley wineries. For breakfast, stop at The Breadboard, on the edge of Ashland as you head north on highway 99. For dinner, head to Omar’s, the oldest restaurant in Ashland. It’s about two miles from the hotel but an enjoyable walk past old homes and along the Southern Oregon University campus. Driving is easier.
On Tuesday, you’ll have time for some last minute shopping. No visit to Ashland is complete without taking in a play. Attend a matinee performance. There are golf courses, tennis courts, good hiking and biking trails nearby so you’ll have plenty to do. Maybe treat yourself to a pre-rafting spa.
After an early breakfast at Morning Glory, get ready for the best part of your vacation – rafting the Rogue. Walk to Indigo Creek Outfitters‘ River Center, located at 130 A Street near downtown Ashland. It’s only about a five minute walk from the Ashland Springs Hotel. Your morning rafting trip meets at 8:15 at their River Center. After a float on the beautiful Rogue River, you’ll be back in Ashland to enjoy more of the town around 12:15 pm. For lunch, check out Standing Stone Brewery, located only a block and a half from the River Center.
Enjoy the rest of your stay in Ashland, Oregon!
This article was originally published by Idaho & Oregon River Journeys in their 2008 Newsletter.