Walking around downtown Ashland is the perfect way to see our quaint little town. A short walk from the Bayberry Inn, the downtown area is filled with many wonderful small locally-owned shops, restaurants & pubs; you won’t find huge big-name chain stores anywhere near downtown. It’s lovely, it’s quaint and has a variety of interesting shops where you can find anything from hand-made goods to unique little treasures you won’t find anyplace else.
The Plaza & Main Street
The center of the downtown corridor is the Historic Plaza which leads into Lithia Park, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival & manycreekside restaurants and bars along Lithia Creek. The vast variety of what’s on offer makes Ashland so unique. The Black Sheep, a traditional English Pub, serves wonderful cheap & cheerful traditional pub food and takes you on a journey to the English Countryside. Check out their fun events too. From local Silk Aerial Dance performances, to Spotted Dick Day, it’s a fun place to visit & should you get caught out in cold weather, it’s the perfect spot to warm yourself by their fireplace and enjoy a hot toddy. Then there are the wonderful restaurants along Lithia Creek behind the Plaza where you can find anything from Green Leaf Restaurant with a menu of delicious organic & locally grown selection, to The Loft, where delicious French cuisine is served and if you’re lucky, you can get a table on the back balcony overlooking Ashland Creek. Friday nights, the Brickroom is where you can dine and listen to live music by a variety of bands from all over the NorthWest.
For home-made pastries or a simple Parisian sandwich and a great cup of coffee or tea, stop by Mix Coffee Shop which is at the entrance of the Plaza. They have a boulangerie in the basement where they make the most fantastic French baguette in town and you have to try one of their amazing Tarts. Prize Shoppe is another great store on Main Street a few blocks down from the Plaza. Filled with a large selection of ‘Fancy Goods & Fine Furnishings,’ many of their products are from France. It feels like you’re in Paris when you’re inside with a wonderful aroma of French perfumes and room sprays. One of my guests favorite stores is Sew Creative, a small fabric and quilt store with a large selection of fabrics & patterns. It’s another small locally owned little gem that makes Ashland so unique.
When my guests have a day off from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and are looking to get some exercise and relax for an afternoon, I often recommend they pick up a sandwich from MIx and walk through Lithia Park up to the beach at Lithia Reservoir where you can sit in the grassy shade. Take your bathing suit and towel in case you want to swim for although the water is chilly. It’s a beautiful place to spend a few hour a with a good book & a picnic.
There are also some great shops along the Plaza that offer everything from locally made candles and incense to fabulous costumes. If you’re looking for the perfect Halloween Costume check out Renaissance Rose. For some wonderful gifts, decorations or cook books then you won’t want to miss Paddington Station which is a few blocks down Main Street. On Saturdays, the Ashland Artisan Market, which is called the Ashland Growers Market, can be found on Oak Street, across Main Street every Tuesday throughout the summer. Lithia Artisan Market is along Lithia Creek on weekends and is a wonderful place to see all the creative artists works and wears. You won’t want to miss taking a gorgeous stroll through Lithia Park where you can walk on well groomed paths on the two mile trail and visit the formal Rose Garden or sit by the one of the two duck ponds or the Japanese Garden. Don’t be surprised if you see many deer walking through the park; they’re all around town and love to graze in the park. Ashland’s a walking town so bring your favorite comfortable walking shoes!