Today we caught the number 10 bus on Highway 99 outside the campground and five minutes later found ourselves on the main street of downtown Ashland (cost a very reasonable $.50 each). After a quick snifter at Starbucks, and a trip to the box office to pick up our theater tickets, we sauntered through part of Lithia Park to the duck pond and playground. As we left the park later, we discovered that we'd hardly discovered any of it - at 93 acres, it rivals Golden Gate Park and was, in fact, landscaped by the same man, John McLaren. (See, this blog is educational as well as entertaining...!)
We pottered along East Main Street, popping into a couple of art galleries and mystic goods stores. Little Starlet bought more rocks, while Deep Thought bought a pink dragon emerging from an egg. The store keeper of "Tibetan Friends" (Ashland has a fair number of Tibetan-themed stores) showed us how the dragon bowl worked - we had mistaken it for a water dish for his dog, and he wanted to set us right. Dampening the palms of his hands, he rubbed the handles of the bowl till the metal vibrated with weird shrieking sounds, and the water jumped in little jets. The kids declined to have a go.
We walked down to the old railroad district of Ashland, which a guidebook assured us was an artists' area, and could find nothing more exciting than Ace Hardware. But the walk along the side streets allowed us to see many lovely little Victorian houses. It reminded me a bit of Los Gatos, with more services for your chakra. It is a very picturesque town. Cheap too - there were a number of very pretty houses for sale with 4+ beds, some with land, at $800k or less. Hubby's eye was caught by a Tuscan estate (clearly it had taken a wrong turning at the cross roads in Milan) on offer for $3.5 million that would definitely have been $12m or more in Atherton or Woodside.
We ate lunch at the Larks Restaurant next to the Ashland Springs Hotel. That looks like it might be a nice place to stay for an adult only visit to the town. Larks provided us with tasty fish and chips, a steelhead fish salad, and charcuterie plate for lunch. Yum.
The object of the day was to go to see "All's Well That Ends Well" at the New Theater, one of the Shakespeare Festival's productions. We had been facing this with some trepidation, wondering what the kids would make of it. Turned out that they enjoyed the experience. We debriefed the kids at intermission, getting them to tell the story back to us, and they were separately able to explain exactly what was going on and who was who (and why). We were impressed, especially with Little Starlet's ability to judge what was happening when two scenes were essentially playing at the same time (e.g. when Helena is in Rosillion worrying about what is happening to Bertram at the war, while Bertram is talking to his fellow soldiers at their camp in Florence). The production values were high, the performances were good, and the theater was excellent - clear sight lines everywhere. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.