Playtime!

What to do next ?!

Playtime

If you’ve clicked on the “Playtime” link because you want to read about the amazing plays performed during the 9-month-long Oregon Shakespeare Festival you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that there is so much more to do beyond seeing the (amazing) plays!  The Playtime we’re talking about is all about the fun and adventurous outdoor activities available in and around Ashland.


(For the plays…click the “Stage” link!)


For starters, Ashland is a walking-biking kind of town. We’ve often said that we don’t even need a car when we’re here.  And for us, a daily walk to one of our favorite markets, or a bike ride through the neighborhoods is playtime in itself. 


With kids in Ashland, it’s easy to find lots of places for playtime…including 15 different city parks.  One of our favorites is Garfield Park, just a few blocks walk from our house.  Not only does it have a huge grassy field and basket ball courts, but it also has some pretty impressive play structures.  And the best part…in the summer there is a water play area with fountains for the kids to splash around in and cool off after running around like maniacs.


One of the discoveries we’ve just made after visiting as tourists for 4 years is that Lithia Park is not just a lovely place for a stroll, but it is also a great place for a hike!  For the first few years we’d go to Lithia Park to stroll around right near the plaza.  We’d get just as far as the kid’s playground (and the very clean bathrooms) and turn back to find yet another place to eat.  But this year has been different.


We’ve discovered that Lithia Park goes on and on and on along the beautiful Lithia Spring.  There are fantastic manicured paths, tons of hidden picnic tables and grills throughout, and even bunches of trails that go off the beaten path into the hills.  There are not doggies allowed in the park, but other than that it’s a perfect family walking spot because the trails are so nice and the slope up hill is very subtle.  We’ve even seen some (more active than I) parents pushing strollers on those trails.


Every once in a while, though, we need something more exciting than a stroll in the park.  More exhilarating than a bike ride.  More exotic than a hanging with a book the front porch.  For those occasions we hop in the car and drive north, about 45 minutes, to Shady Cove.  A tiny little blip of a town on the Rogue River.  We rent a raft, get dropped off at the fish hatchery and off we go!  Rafting down the Rogue!  The most exciting moments are in the class 2 rapids (baby rapids in the rafting world)…when we get around anything that resembles white-water we go crazy trying to bounce the raft up and down and spin cookies trying to get even a splash of water onto the other members of the rafting adventure.


I’ll wait ‘til the weather drops below 75 to tell you more about the great skiing and snowboarding and sledding on Mt. Ashland.  And I’ll add more about the plentiful biking trails after James explores them on his new bike.  (It’s unlikely you’ll find much about golf here on I Love Ashland dot com, we don’t do much of that, but I’m sure it’s great too.)  But I’ll add just a quick note about the fact that there are tennis courts all over town.  And did I mention that there is a lovely, sparkly clean community pool at Hunter Park – just a couple of blocks from our house?


So much to play…so little playtime…