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I attached a photograph, stolen, with Mr Lewis' permission, from his Facebook Wall.
Mr Graham Lewis took this photograph. Where he stood, you can smell Puck's Donuts most of the day, as the bakery is just down the street to the right. Sometimes the Standing Stone Brewery's hamburgers, fries, pizzas and other treats add other notes to Puck's offerings.
Mr Lewis is on Pioneer Street in Ashland, at the corner of Lithia Way, by the Pioneer Street public parking lot. We're looking south toward Main Street and the mountains, Ashland's shopping and entertainment district, also known as the downtown. On the mountain's other side, about fifteen miles away, is California.
The snow is melting. It's an early snow, as some trees still have their leaves, now brown as the season sets. Thin sunshine baths the mountains in the background. Right there by where a sign says "Market" is a wonderful used book store.
Highway 99, which was once the valley and southern Oregon's main artery comes into town as Siskiyou Boulevard. Siskiyou Boulevard becomes Main Street and Lithia Way; as the two main streets, they run almost parallel to one another and are one way, connecting on either end again. Siskiyou ends and North Main takes over as Highway 99. When the highway leaves town, it becomes known as Rogue Valley Highway. Highway 99 is still used but it's less important, as Interstate 5 was built in the early sixties and runs through the valley a few miles away. Ashland is Exit 11, 14 and 19 as you drive north from California on I5.
The building to the right at the intersection in the photograph was once a bank. Now it's the Tudor Guild where costumes are made and props are stored. If you're ever in Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, try to include the guild tour.
Behind the building is the Angus Bowmer Theater, where some plays are performed. I toured the back stage last June as part of a group. A loud crack had been heard during the performance the previous night. An inspection was being conducted and the results had them herd us out for safety. The crack was from a large support beam and they were worried about the building collapsing. (http://www.oregonlive.com/performance/index.ssf/2011/06/safety_issue_closes_oregon_sha.html)
Across a bricked plaza from the back of the Tudor Guild, beside the Bowmer, is the Elizabethan, an open air theater where Shakespeare and other offerings, like "The Pirates of Penzance", are performed. The bricked plaza is used for The Green Show during the season. (http://www.osfashland.org/browse/production.aspx?prod=157)
Where those two people are walking up on the hill, is the New Theater, across from the brick plaza. The New Theater's stage is more informal and its plays, like "The Language Archive", are more modern and unusual.
Turn right at the intersection and walk 'down' the street and you reach the Plaza, and Lithia Park, named for its springs. You can eat at our English pub, The Black Sheep, on the Plaza, along with places like Alex's (a good place to hear music), Louie's, and Munchies. The park is in Ashland's hub, 93 preserved acres rich with conifers, sycamores and deer. The creek flows through it. John McLaren, designer of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, was the mastermind behind Lithia Park's layout. The park offers tennis courts, duck ponds, swing sets, benches, a reservoir, and a Japanese Garden, along with the old bottling plant.
Turn left at the intersection by the Tudor Guild and you're on Main Street, and in Ashland's heart. Up ahead on the left is Zoey's Cafe. Stop by for ice cream. On the right is the Ashland Springs Hotel, our tall yellow 'sky scraper'. Keep going and you'll reach Pangea, an excellent place for a quick bite, beside another excellent book store, Bloomsbury Books. Along the way are a number of art galleries worth a visit, and a few other restaurants, in buildings that used to house JC Penney's and other businesses that have departed the town.
I live further away, three miles east on Siskiyou, part way up a mountain on Clay Street. I 'go downtown' a few times a month, to see movies, parades and plays, eat at restaurants, walk in the park, and visit bookstores. I love walking around downtown all year, though. No matter the season, it's always as pretty as this picture, although in different ways, and a wonderful place to be. I'm fortunate to have found such a great town.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com