Where The Sky Is Blue – Southern Oregon: Part 2

and the vacation continued…..

Day 3

The day started with smoky conditions from the Trail-Cleveland Ridge wildfire burning nearby. The smell of faint burning timber could be smelled throughout the day. The fire was burning in remote public timber and privet timber land up along the west fork of Trail Creek road. Fortunately no homes were destroyed in the surrounding area, and the whole community is grateful for it. It did make for some smoky conditions throughout the day, but not enough to hamper being outside.

barely see the mountain
Image result for cleveland fire oregon
Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

After a small culinary trip in Medford Oregon on day two, we decided to continue on our culinary adventure by picking some apples early in the morning for the local food bank who desperately needed some for apple sauce and healthy lunches for kids going back to school. A total of 20lbs of apples were donated along with plastic bags (Ashland has a plastic bag ban) to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.

mmm…apples

After unloading our apples, we all headed for the Ashland Weekday Farmer’s Market for fresh produce. There was endless stands of fresh produces, fruits, baked goods, and dairy products to sample. Reasonable prices compare to some farmer’s markets I have been to, and all farms local to the area. All four of us hauled home peaches (49ers and Princess), more cheese curds, flowers, and fresh baked rustic bread for later.

Once filled on lunch, us girls went into Ashland to do some shopping. Our favorite store in Ashland is Paddington Station on main street. Here you can find anything fun, cute, chic, and unique. The best part is of this store now is it has two other stores on the same street each with different things. In the store Made in Oregon I bought a shirt to display my “Oregon state of mind”while walking down the street in Washington. Let’s see how funny this will get once I start wearing the tee. In Paddington Jewelry Box there was all these cute 50s dresses I would see myself wear, but I could not justify the purchase of one.

I did find myself in a local shoe store with this cat….

One friendly kitty I met

He just climbed into my lap while I was waiting for Mom as she tried on some shoes. This ginger boy is the same breed as Maddie-a Maine Coon. He was such a happy camper on my lap!

Day 4

Since Dad and I could not go fishing as planned because of all the wildfires burning around the area, and not wanting to be caught in remote place during a wildfire, we all decided to play it safe and go to Lithia Park. This park is vast, and has lots of nature trails to explore. Both of us made it all the way to the reservoir and back before noon. Along the way there were sightings of city deer (aka: Bambi Monster), wild turkeys, and ducks hanging out in the ponds.

Bridge across Lithia Spring

For lunch Caldera Brewery and Restaurant was calling my name. I loves this brewery, and every time I am down here I stop by for a craft brew. Everything on the menu and tap is a great choice, you cannot go wrong. I ordered the Tap House Burger with Lemon Caesar Salad and an Ashland Amber beer. OMG!! Best burger in a long time! Better than In-N-Out Burger! As for the Ashland Amber is one of my favorites by this brewery. Caldera is one of the few breweries I favor in Oregon. I seem to prefer the Oregon brews over Washington ones. I think it has to do with the flavor of the hops.

Later that night I found myself sitting out on the back porch listening to crickets chirping in the background under starry night sky. I have been missing this slice of heaven for quite some time, and some how wish I could take it with me when I go back to Seattle.

Day 5

On our last day we all headed up to Valley View Orchards to pick peaches. Driving up the country roads towards the orchard brought back memories of running through fields full of cows. Once we had our picking buckets, we split into two groups and started filling our buckets. After 30 minutes of picking we had 44lbs (20lbs of each) of two types of peaches (Elberta and Sweet Sue). Now what in the world am I going to do with 44lbs of peaches? Haul them back to Washington to make peach jam, diced peaches freeze for homemade yogurt cups, fruit cups and whatever I need peaches for. Truth is I only hauled ~20lbs.

10 + 10 = 20lbs of Peaches

Later in the evening we attended a play put on by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The play in question was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and boy was it a long play! Three hours long of old Victorian era speak, and about 80% in I started to want it to end soon. Just seemed towards the end to drag on just as the book did, but overall the play was great. The way it was staged was interesting with the narrators on the stage like old Victorian carolers as part of the scene and made it easier to follow what was happening on stage.

Great Expectations
(C) Oregon Shakespeare Festival

More Info:
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Valley View Orchards

Caldera Brewery
Paddington Station
Lithia Park

….blue forever.- MØ

 

 

 

 

 

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Where The Sky Is Blue -Southern Oregon: Part 1

After a jam-packed summer this year, I wanted to end the summer with a trip down to Southern Oregon. On the last week of August I head down with family to have one last vacation before college started up again, and a much needed break after working hard all summer. On a Saturday morning I headed straight down I-5 towards the California-Oregon border and didn’t look back at the heat wave coming towards Seattle.

{On the trip down to Rogue Valley Oregon I went from 90°F (~70% humidity) sweating buckets in Seattle to stepping into an oven of 104°F of dry heat within eight hours. And this heat lasted all week with upper 90s and lower 100°! If the people of Seattle thought they were dying, I was shriveling up every-time I walked out the door from the moisture being sucked out of every pour on my body!}

Day 1

Since the weather called for 101°F sunny day, I headed out as early as possible to beat the heat. First stop was to the Eagle Point National Cemetery to visit both my Grandad and Grandpa who are buried there. While there I was treated to beautiful bells playing out the hour over the cemetery. In the last two years since I have been here, the place has been filling up quite fast.

On my way to Trail, I stopped by where the old Butte Creek Mill was in Eagle Point. Last Christmas the mill burned down in early hours of Christmas morning, and now all that remains of this historical landmark is a burned out shell of a historical structure. The signs say the mill will be rebuilt again, but who knows when this will happen. Sad for this small town since this was their only tourist attraction and no more pancake mix.

After a quick stop at the Mill, I headed up to Trail to the old pioneer cemetery with the family where my grandma and a few of my family are buried. The “town” is really a ghost town with a post office (strange!) outside of Shady Cove. The cemetery is down a dirt road up in the pine brush. Dad wanted to leave an old fishing pole at my grandma’s grave site since she loved fishing. As we were all leaving, I noticed how very dry it was up in these parts. Seemed there was so much dry kindling to start a fire. Well this happened a day later when a wildfire broke out in the remote part of the forest around Trail and Shady Cove. I was glad we all did this adventure before, or we would not be able to later.

Day 2

The morning was spent picking blackberries up on the irrigation ditch. Blackberries are one of those crops that is never easy to pick! I think at one point I ended up in the irrigation ditch just trying to get to the really good branches of berries. After two hours of picking, and having scratches all over myself, I decide to call it a day to have lunch.

In-N-Out Burger…..does it need anymore explanation? Apparently it does. I didn’t have to go all the way to California to have an In-N-Out burger because there is one in Medford Oregon and I was stoked to finally try it after hearing how wonderful the burgers are. So I tried it out, and was……a complete disappointed. Yep you read that correctly. The burger (regular hamburger) was good just like Dick’s in Seattle, but the fries were stale, under cooked, too starchy, and wimpy as heck. Mc. Donald’s has better fries than In-N-Out fries we had. I just hope this was just a one off, because if not, the fries are not worth it.

When in the area I always want to stop at the Harry and David Country store to stock up on all the yummy goodies. In the past I have taken the tour around the facility that makes all the mail order stuff you see in their catalog. A major must have is Moose Munch in any form. Another favorite is the BBQ sauce, the truffles in many flavors, pears from the orchard, and just about anything chocolate.

Just down the street is the Rogue Creamery where the famous Caveman Blue and Echo Mountain Blue cheese is made. When it is cheese making day you can watch how they make their cheese through a viewing window in the store. The one cheese I was not particularly fond of was the Lavender cheese (LaDiDa Lavender). I just cannot wrap my brain around the flavor in anything dairy, especially in ice cream. My favorite cheese by them is the Mt. Mazama Cheddar, and it is one of the best cheddar I have eaten. I did pick up some cheese curds while there along with a homemade grilled cheese sandwich that is very much like the ones at Beecher’s in Seattle.

What is great with cheese? Chocolate! Just a few feet from Rogue Creamery is the  Lillie Bell Farms Chocolates. Here I found chocolate covered fortune cookies and those fancy chocolate covered roasted almonds. Bought one of each for those moments when….aw heck I had them before I left Oregon. I could not save them for a rainy day…OH WELL.

After a culinary tour, we all headed back to Ashland to sit in the backyard and digest all this yummy-ness. Later in the evening I “waddled” back up the hill to the irrigation ditch to pick more blackberries.

Part 2 ( Day 3-5) in the next few days!

More Info:
Rogue CreameryLillie Bell Farms Chocolates
Harry and David Country Store
Butte Creek Mill (*NOTE: Does not sell product at this time)
Shady Cove & Trail

Where the sky is…..

Sweaty Hike Through Saint Edwards State Park

Seminary Building

Boy was it hot on the day I decided to go take an urban hike through Saint Edwards State Park! This solo adventure started off with me asking myself is this worth getting sweaty? Yes!

I started out towards the beach (Lake Washington) for a glimpse of the lake from a different angle. I started off on the Perimeter trail, but somehow found myself on the Seminary trail which lead to the beach. The beach was peaceful with the water lapping at the shore, and a few people where swimming in the lake as Kenmore Air float planes came flying overhead.

Peek of Lake Washington

After taking in the view of the lake I headed towards the Orchard Loop. The trail that connects to Orchard Loop trail ended up being the part of the hike that felt like it was going to kill me! South Canyon trail ended up being one of those challenging trails because I had to hike it all uphill!! Here I was huffing, puffing, and sweating all the way to the connection for the loop trail. I now know for future hikes to go down this trail instead of up it. Once on the Orchard Loop trail, it was all easy, and I regained my breath. Unfortunately the “orchard” was nowhere to be found, or I miss something along the trail.  I must have because there was not an orchard to be found as I made the whole loop again. Very disappointed after huffing and puffing my way to it.

After finding my way back to where the seminary buildings are, I decided to find the famous Grotto seen in wedding pictures. Ha! I ended up reading the map wrong! I thought the Grotto trail lead to the Grotto, but nope. Apparently it by passes it from the bottom of the hill instead (palm to face). I hiked all the way back down to the lake, and then had to take Seminary trail back up!

Stone Steps On Trail

Eventually I found a map with the “you are here” circle to finally be steered in the correct direction for the Grotto. Dear reader, I made it harder than it should have been. The Perimeter trail going towards the playground in a corner of the field is where the entrance to the trail leading to the Grotto starts.

Behind Look of The Grotto

Once there I really found it peaceful and secluded. A little slice of magic in the middle of the woods. I joked on Instagram I had found the place where I was getting married….when the time comes….when I find someone first…..ok then.

Selfie with The Grotto

The structure is a small stone altar with stone steps and a path leading up to it. Stone walls border around the area to make it look like small outdoor church/sanctuary. A very beautiful spot for a small intimate wedding.

The Grotto
Leading Up To The Grotto

After hiking lost all around the area, I decided it was time to head back home and get out of the heat. While walking back to the car, I decided to check out around the Seminary building.

Seminary Building From The Lawn
Entrance To The Seminary Building

There is something about old church buildings and how they speak volumes without making a sound. Lots of stories being told in these hollow halls of this building, and judging by the land action notice sign, it seems the place will have a few more to share in the coming years.

Overall I hiked a total of 5.5 miles. Not bad for an urban hike.

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