Road trip: Oregon Shakespeare Festival

June 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you're looking for a fun family road trip this summer, Karen D'Souza, theatre critic and blogger for the San Jose Mercury News, has just the ticket.

Road Trip Ashland: As You Like It
Written by Karen D'Souza

The play's the thing in Ashland, the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland but there are tons of cool things to do there besides go to plays. This is the perfect family getaway and I'll break it down for you in these 5 handy tips.

1) FAST FACTS on the fest. It has 11 plays running in repertory from Feb to Nov so there's always something to tickle your fancy. Ashland is just 350 miles or 6 hours away from SF and there's scads to see along the way and loads of adorable little B&Bs to set up camp in during your stay.

2) AWESOME PITSTOPS: Hit the road but don't be afraid to stop and smell the fun. Kids with a sweet tooth will adore the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield; adventurous children won't want to miss the Shasta Caverns and the whole family will enjoy a picnic at Lake Shasta or a hike around the awesome Crastle Crags. Also keep your eyes peeled for amazing views of snow-capped Mount Shasta just before you cross the border into Oregon's ultra-picturesque Rogue River Valley.

3) MUCH ADO IN TOWN: Take the kids white water rafting if you want a rush. Or if relaxation fits the bill, have a picnic in gorgeous Lithia Park. Soak up local culture wine-tasting; go antique shopping; browse in great bookstores of just dine about town in one of Ashland's many memorable restaurants. Plus, if you're children are too small for a full-fledged play why not take them to the free out-door green show, a nifty backstage tour of the three-theater complex or let them try on costumes in the Tudor Guild gift shop.

4) DAYTRIPS: If you have extra time to spend in Oregon, be sure to mosey on over to the nearby Old West town of Jacksonville or make the drive to the impossibly blue Crater Lake, a volcanic wonder that stands as the deepest lake in the U.S.

5) BONUS TIP: If you can't catch everything this time around, never fear. If you come back during the winter season, you can see whatever you've missed (with fewer crowds to compete with for a great table at a hot restaurant) plus there's skiing and snowboarding on nearby Mount Ashland.

Here are some links to reviews of the Oregon Shakespeare festival and a link to the theater's "plan your visit site."

Plan your visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland here.

Ashland: 2008 season at a glance or go to www.osfashland.org

Theater Critic Karen D'Souza reviews "Othello" and "Coriolanus" here (Dark souls and dirty wars: Ashland openers cut to unnrving core of two classics)

Ashland director takes a new course: Now in his first year, says Oregon festival won't play it safe


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