Southern Oregon Is Glorious
By Yvonne Mason

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Southern Oregon is always beautiful, but in mid October it is glorious, the green forests are punctuated with the reds, yellows oranges and a pink/orange I have never seen before. All of this beauty is further enhanced by fluffy white clouds floating in a blue sky. The rivers, the ocean, forests are complemented with the most charming places to stay, boutique wineries, wholesome delicious food and to top it all off the best artisan chocolate.

Here are a few of my favorite things.

Small owner run B & B's have always been my favorites. They make one feel part of the family, part of the history.

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C.H. Bailey is the perfect Victorian farmhouse, lovingly restored by Jay Couron, owner/innkeeper with his wife Sherry, young son and two happy dogs.. C. H. Bailey house is as peaceful as a meadow, yet one may indulge in adventures such as hiking to a nearby waterfall, white river rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing and running cross county.

We awaken to roosters crowing and bulls making strenuous sounds. Coffee and biscotti are already awaiting us on the hall credenza next to our elegantly appointed guestroom.

Aromas waft up the stairs from the unique gourmet selections made by Sherry. We start with an amazing melon compote spiced with fresh ginger and cumin, next eggs, from the hens in the yard, baked in ramekins with local sausage and tomatoes and every kids (no matter what age) favorite chocolate filled French bread toast. One does not have to eat again for a long time.

In the evening guests are offered local wines to sip next to the fireplace or on the spacious porch or while dressing to go out to dinner. The Courons will also prepare dinner at the C.H. Bailey House. Just give them advance notice.

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The Courons are in the process of making their property a wedding site.

A fifty acre Christmas tree farm complete with antique fire engine is the neighbor. What more could one possibly want?

The Loft by the Lighthouse is a bit of paradise, located on , Charleston, Coos Bay with private steps to the beach and a splendid, almost touchable, view of the Cape Arago Lighthouse. Owner Jill Kearnes is a perfect hostess, inviting guests into her charming art filled salon for conversation and wine. Fishing, surfing, kayaking, and beach combing beckon. Sleeping with the sound of the surf is better than a lullaby. The fridge is stocked with healthy items for breakfast.

Loft by the Lighthouse is located at 541-888-8386 www.loftbythelighthouse.com

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Spinners Seafood, Steak & Chophouse overlooks Gold Beach. We dine on the Chefís Oregon Bounty Menu, the quintessential Oregon menu. wild mushroom mille flour of Agness chanterelles and lobster mushrooms with Oregon farmed shitake and oyster mushrooms in puff pastry; Bartlett pear salad of ripe Oregon pears, gorgonzola, and hazelnuts over greens with honey-lavender vinaigrette; duck breast Maple Leaf Farm with naturally raised duck/Hunter Creek huckleberry sauce, crisp potato fries; fresh Oregon ling cod (the first time I try this delicious mild white fish), locally line caught filet wrapped with bacon and served with artichoke hearts/fresh herb sauce. Fortunately, we save room for dessert - Hunter Creek Huckleberry Supreme, local wild berries on lemon glazed pound cake topped with Umqua vanilla bean ice cream.

Spinner's Seafood, Steak & Chophouse is located at:
Gold Beach, Oregon, 541-247-5160

It is easy to find a beverage to accompany the splendid food.

Hillcrest Vineyard is Oregon's oldest estate vineyard and winery. Established in 1961 the winery is owned and solely operated by the Dyson DeMara family. DeMara studied wine making all over the U.S. and Europe. Small lot wines are handcrafted from grapes grown on dry farmed hillside vineyard sites. Grapes are crushed and fermented in concrete tanks. Frommer's called this wine the best wine in southern Oregon. Varieties include cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, zinfandel "Cuvee 1888", viognier, ice wine, Riesling, valdiguie and syrah.

Hillside Vineyard in Roseburg, 541- 673-3709, www.hillcrestvineyard.com

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Bridgeview Vineyards & Winery are owned and operated by Lelo and Bob Kerivan

The property is as pretty as a resort. and one of the largest wineries in Oregon. Bridgeview produces moderately priced wines in the varietals of syrah, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, gewurztraminer, chardonnay, early muscat, pinot gris, pinot noir, and reisling. Bridgeview is most famous for their line of "Blue Moon" reisling, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir.

The Kerivan's original focus on having fun while making wine is affirmed by Lelo who says "If I saw this as work, I wouldn'tít do it!"

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Bridgeview Vineyards and Winery is located at:
4210 Holland Loop Road, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523. 877-273-4843, www.bridgeviewwine.com

Brandy Peak Distillery was founded by R.L. Nowlin and now owned and operated by his son David Nowlin. The older Nowlin collected large old bottles and made many of the wood fired pot stills, some look like kinetic sculpture, to produce a drink that captures all of the natural flavors and aromas. The delicious brandies have been winning medals from the beginning. Pear brandies from 100% pure spirits from ripe Bartlett pears' aged pear brandy; Marc brandies distilled from the pomace of varietal grapes: aged pinot noir; muscat; aged muscat; Riesling; sauvignon blanc; and grappa; traditional grape brandy aged in French Limousine oak and the lusciously sweet blackberry liqueur from wild sun ripened blackberries picked on a warm summerís day.

Now everyone likes a little sweets at the end of the meal. Devine chocolate is lovingly made in southern Oregon by artisan chocolatiers.

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Carys of Oregon is famous for his unique soft crunch recipe English Toffee. Milk chocolate/almond, dark chocolate/almond, dark chocolate espresso, dark chocolate/hazelnut, dark chocolate mango, toffee fingers and trail toffee. are the yummiest toffees and are soft on your teeth.

Cary's of Oregon 1-888-822-9300 www.carysoforegon.com

Rock n' Roll Chocolatier Jeff Shepard makes goodies for the stars, Bob Dylan included.

His Lillie Belle Farms handmade chocolate was named Best of the West: by Sunset Magazine. Berries grown at Shepardís USDA Certified Oregon Farm, in combination with the "worlds finest chocolate" are transformed into one of a kind chocolate creations that look like jewels in the display cases. There are over 30 different flavors of caramels, truffles and bon bons. Bet I can eat them all.

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Lillie Belle Farms is located at:
541-664-2815 www.lilliebellefarms.com

The only problem with southern Oregon is running out of time to enjoy the beauty and the bounty.

Save the Date

Fifth Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival hosted by the Ashland Springs Hotel, March 6-8, 2009. www.AshlandSprings Hotel.com

Americaís Wild Rivers Coast, Art, Seafood & Wine Festival, Gold Beach, Oregon May 16 & 17, 2009

Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce 541-247-0923


Ashland is Glorious
By Richard Mason

The audience was in rapt attention to the play "View from the Bridge", as we sat in the Angus Bowmer theatre. Arthur Millers forboding drama was in direct contrast to the sense of joy we found with the locals in the theatres home town.. After the play, we left the beautiful venue and strolled among fall colored leaves dusting the sidewalks.

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The street was lined with art galleries, shops, inviting restaurants and even a few pubs, the evening was comfortably nippy, sweater weather, this was to be a perfect vacation destination.

Ashland Oregon, southern Oregon's cultural center, home to the internationally known Oregon Shakespeare Festival was our home for two nights before we toured southern Oregon.

Home to Southern Oregon University and 23,000 residents, the small city has more art galleries than a place ten times its size, seventy restaurants and many quality hotels, motels and B and Bs.

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Chanticleer Inn offered us an ideal choice for our first night in Ashland, steps from the main shopping street and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival theatres. The lovingly restored craftsman home is like a home youíd love to own, a great place to relax and enjoy Ashland. Howie Wilcox and Ellen Campbell, Innkeepers and hosts have extensive knowledge of the area and can advise you. The rooms are well furnished. Evening offerings in the parlor include homemade chocolate chip cookies, sherry and port and conversation with the other guests. Breakfast is prepared and served by Ellen. Stroll the grounds for relaxing after a day of touring and one can always sit and watch the Koi and the uninterrupted view of the Ashland peak.

Chanticleer Inn www.ashlandbnb.com

We dined at the Dragonfly, a latin asian fusion restaurant, just steps from theaters. Chef Donnely, offered lettuce wraps for appetizer and salmon for the main course with some great Oregon wine and splendid desert

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Dragonfly www.dragonflyashland.com

The Ashland Plaza was our dwelling for another night. A large locally owned hotel on Ashland creek, the Plaza offers all the comfort of a major hotel and includes a buffet breakfast for guests as well as an evening cookie feast. The rooms are large and well furnished. The staff is helpful and every day a list of local events is posted by the front desk. It was there we learned of a wine tasting benefit for African relief

Plaza Inn www.plazainnashland.com,

The wine tasting benefit, complete with acoustical celtic music, was held at Liquid Assets (a wine bar around the corner from the Ashland Plaza hotel) in a northwest setting, with wine and light food available.

Liquid Assets, 96 N main, Ashland, wine@liquidassetswinebar.com

After tasting a couple of glasses of Southern Oregon red wine, our thoughts turned to food. Steps away we found an authentic Italian restaurant, Il Giardino, full of pasta redolent of the true taste of southern Italy. Inspired by the music and food of Italy, our art director purchased a mixed media painting of Venezia from the display on the restaurant walls. After a stroll and window shopping we returned to our hotel to have delightful dreams of the days journey.

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Il Giardino 5 Granite St, Ashland, Oregon

Everywhere we visited in Ashland, we found joyful locals. From the attendant who pumped our gas, (state law requires your gas be pumped by attendant), to those who served us where we stayed or shopped or ate, all had sincere smiles on their faces. Maybe itís the water, sweet from the tap, maybe the clear air, everyone seems to be happy to live in Southern Oregon. Oh, and did I fail to add, there is no sales tax in Oregon; still another reason to visit this great destination.

Last update Mon February 18, 2013 2:10 PM