Saturday, March 04, 2006

Don't Drool on the Art

Ah, we need to do that more often! Just two days away, a nice B&B, some good meals, good theater, shopping, historic towns: hand-holding, strolling, daydreaming. Jim took me on a mini-getaway to Ashland, a small town in the hills of Southern Oregon best known for its Shakespeare Festival. It's also a trove of art galleries and gingerbready Victorian architecture spilling down forested hillsides, and the Rogue River nearby is a famed white-water rafting spot. We stayed in a really cool old brick boarding house that used to house railway workers in the late 1800s and has since been fancified for the theater crowds. This was our second "grown-up" vacation. Our first, a trip to Prague a little over a year ago, was a departure from our youthful backpacker ways. You know, we're in our 30s now. We actually brought suitcases on that trip and rented an apartment near the old town square. A car picked us up at the airport, for goodness sake, and held up a sign with our names on it!! It was SO different than our previous travels, the snoozing on trains, the communal bathroom in the hallway of the pensione. This trip, too. Our room at the Peerless had magnolia trees painted on the walls, and there was complimentary port served in cut crystal in the afternoon. Ooh la la!

Other highlights:
- The Importance of Being Ernest -- the festival is primarily Shakespeare but not only. This was a FANTASTIC production and will be running through October. Anyone in this part of the world ought to try to see it some time!
- brainstorming story ideas together on the long drive
- big bowls of cioppino with huge Dungeness crab claws, & Chianti Classico
- seeing Laini's Ladies in several stores!
- coconut-curried yam soup for lunch at a hippie cafe called Pangea.
- the artwalk flyer that specified "don't drool on the art"
- Jacksonville, the fully preserved gold-mining town about 30 minutes away. SO CUTE! Tucked away in the hills, it's home to only 2500 people, its brick main streets is perfect down to the swinging saloon doors. I don't know all the history but this is cool: the town's most famous former resident, Peter Britt, was a photographer during the gold boom of the 1860s, and it was his photos of the area that, when sent back east, sparked the overland migration that became the famous Oregon Trail. Folks saw all the fertile country and came out not for gold, but land. We LOVED Jacksonville. Jim especially loved the 1860s storefront the Good Bean coffeehouse is in, and I think if we'd had the money to buy it on the spot and turn it into live/work space, he might have been tempted to do it! Actually, in the photos above, the little red building with the scallop-topped facade was for sale. It would be nice to have a second home in a quaint little town like this, but we wouldn't want to live there full time.
- the gourmet shop in Jacksonville: cabernet fudge, chocolate stout cheddar, fancy peanut butters (white-chocolate raspberry peanut butter, swoon!), rainbow-colored handmade pastas, peperoncino dark chocolate, and more!

Anyway, it was a delightful trip, and we're back home and back to work rejuvenated. We don't take time out to "live" nearly enough -- we need to do little things like that more often!! So right now I'm pledging to plan 2 more short trips like that this year, and if at all possible, at least one of them should be camping!

Do YOU treat yourself to little getaways now & then? Camping? Trips to the beach? And what are your best memories of family trips from childhood?


Jim Di Bartolo said...

Thanks for being such a perfect travel/life companion :)

Yes, more small excursions should be taken. Coming from a family that didn't take family vacations I appreciate these little (and BIG!) departures from the daily routine. And despite the decadence of some of the treatment we received at our inn, it was a pretty affordable getaway.

Cheers all! :)

melba said...

My husband and I had never been on a vacation together before our honeymoon. We were tired and stressed out because we had just bought a house and we both were General Managers of retail stores that were newly opened. We thought we wanted to just sit on a beach and relax so we chose Aruba. We were tired of sitting around after the first day. Now I know our vacation style is someplace we can sight see. Unfortunately with two toddlers and both our families living in different states we don't vacation anywhere. I would like to pack up an RV and travel around the country; he is not so keen on the idea. We do talk about going cool places when our children are older.
It sounds like you had a wonderful week end, I will live vicariously through you for now!

liz elayne said...

Oh it looks like you had so much fun. That is great. And wonderful to treat yourselves to these getaways. We try to every now and then but should do it more. B&Bs are our favorite ways to get away for the weekend. We have been up to Port Townsend and stayed at a wonderful place up there. Lately though we have done more day trips to explore all over our little neck of the woods that we just love. As a kid, I was lucky enough to get to go on quite a few trips with my parents. My favorite were always the ones to the beach. Walking in the sand, listening to the ocean, looking for shells with my mom and grandma are some of my favorite memories.

Sky said...

We love to travel and go on 1 extended vacation each year...somewhere we want to explore or revisiting a place we love. Twice more during the year we fly to the east coast to see family and friends since my parents are older and are not well. (We are now in the Pacific NW.) Those trips are a combination of joy in seeing friends and my sister and much stress and sadness in seeing my parents whose issues with aging and with life are complicated. Hard to count these trips as a vacation though we do try to work in something for us while we are east.

We love to go to the Oregon coast. I like to take the ferry to one of the islands around here on a quick day or weekend trip, also. Anywhere we go we find lovely landscapes and a restorative break from the routine. The sound of the ocean is what I seem to crave though - listening to it as I fall asleep, hearing it as I awake.

During my childhood we spent a week or two each summer on the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, so I grew up with the ocean as a destination for relaxation and fun. One year we went to DC instead and drove through the mountains of VA and W VA. While it was all quite beautiful, I was disappointed to miss seeing the ocean and did not make the most of the trip.

megg said...

Hi there!! SIGH! What a nice trip! My museum-loving side was DROOLING over your description of Jacksonville. I'm so glad that you are feeling rejuvenated!

Mark and I don't 'vacation' much as all of our travel money - and a good portion of our food budget - goes to trips to Canada. We hope to remedy that soon though. When I was a kid our holidays ALWAYS involved camping. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of spending time with my grandparents (and often all of my aunts, uncles and cousins) camping in Algonquin Park in Ontario.

Yes, you are right, I think Mark and I need to get AWAY too!!

Cate said...

Thank you for sharing your impressions and pictures from your get-away! I so enjoyed the dog pictures (dog on lap, dog with lampshade thing around his head)--no, actually, I so enjoyed ALL of the pictures!

What a thrill it had to have been to see your Ladies in shops! Wow! And the soups sounded scrumptious! I'm so happy you had a wonderful time!

We try to go away once a year--sometimes to NYC and sometimes to The Homestead, a resort in Virginia. Getting there and car/train conversations are often just as much fun as being there (loved reading about you and Jim brainstorming story ideas during the drive!).

I'm glad you're back and grateful that you allowed us all a glimpse into your fun!

Alexandra S said...

I loved all of the details you shared so that your readers can experience the trip vicariously. Chocolate stout cheddar? Did you taste that? I agree, little trips away are so, so vital to our spirits and when there is a whole world out there to explore right in our own backyard of Oregon, two day adventures are perfect. I wish I had known how great Jacksonville was when we were in Ashland last November. I just wrote to Jim on his new blog post that I had planned to go there in May when my parents visit but now they have abandoned their trip here to go to Italy and France instead! I look forward to seeing you later today! And thank you for the wonderful post and all the photos!

Terri /Tinker said...

What a scrumptious mini-getaway you two created!
We used to camp a lot when I was a kid & know we actually visited the Rogue River area a couple of times. I'm sure it's changed a lot in the 30 years since we were there, but I remember my mom loved the area. I wish I could remember more details of those vacations; but I would get terribly carsick, so they would give me Dramamine, that would knock me out & I would wake up fuzzy in a new place - all the campsites seem blurred into one now. As an adult we've enjoyed camping over the years, especially at Fremont State Park here in California - it has an observatory. But as we're getting a little creakier in the joints, B&B's sound better & better!

Shannon (sentimental) said...

Yup I am drooling and so stinking jealous! I wannnaaaaaa go (said in a whining tone). Beautiful!

aithbhreac said...

Sounds like a lovely getaway Laini! One of my favorite Oregon hidden treasures is the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport. If you've not already been, this is an amazing oceanfront bed and breakfast. My husband took me there for Valentine's Day several years ago, knowing my fondness for literature. The inn is named for literary critic Sylvia Beach and each room is cleverly designed in the theme of a famous author or one of their works. Each room also has a journal, where you can read previous guests impressions/stories and add your own. A charming library is housed in the attic, where hot spiced wine is served in the evening, with nooks and window seats enough for every guest to find a spot to relax. Fabulous meals are served in the restaurant onsite, Tables of Content. It was a magical, unique and cozy place to spend a weekend. We were there during the winter and I think it was equally nice to listen to the stormy sea and curl up by the fire with a book as it would be to walk on a sunny beach in summer.

Alexandra S said...

Hi Laini!

I'm testing my new pic feature! I hope it works! :)


chest of drawers said...

Lovely post! Alexandra and you have both inspired me to plan a little getaway for Erich and I to Italy as soon as possible. The boys´father doesn´t show up more than every 3 months or so and I´m going to put some pressure on him to come and stay with the children for a weekend so we can take a break and head off to Triest, or Grado or maybe Venice?!* All between 3-5 hours drive from here.

Laini Taylor said...

Oh Claudia, I can't tell you how envious I am that Italy is 4 hours away from you!!! I LOVE Italy. It is my favorite place in the world! You're talking about a whole other caliber of romantic getaway! Jim proposed to me in Venice, in a gondola! So magical. There are just so many places to go. Verona. Bologna. Parma is great. Ferrara. Ravenna -- there's a great town in the northernish area of Italy. Great mosaics! Oh, can't wait to hear your plans!

kelly rae said...

oh, your trip to ashland sounds so perfect. it's such a great area, though i wish we explored jacksoville when we were down there after hearing your description! we live in an amazing state. there is so much to see and most of it is great for weekend getaways. john and i do a ton of hikiing, camping, outdoorsy stuff and just the day or two outside of the city is always a treat.

Pearl said...

It looks like a great place to go and like you had fun.R&R does the soul and couple good. :-)

I know what you mean about 20s. Hub and I used to rough backpack, then backpack, but with a car, inflatable matttress and cooler. Then we just gave into comfort and went to lovely B&Bs.

Marilyn said...

This was fun to see photos of an area that I love. (My mother was born in Ashland.) I, too, love Jacksonville. I think they've done a fabulous job of keeping it quaint without making it corny. And that red building for sale? To die for! :)

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