Ashland, Oregon

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Thinking about moving to Ashland

April 2008

Greetings, We're reaching a crossroads - it's time for a smaller town, better public schools (than Oakland High), a more manageable pace - but there are so many things we love about Berkeley/Oakland: friends, culture, food, aesthetics. So we're searching around and thinking about Ashland, a town we've always loved, that seems to be about the right size, that we intuit has a great public school system, certainly has great culture. But having said all that, we'd deeply appreciate hearing from folks with first hand experience about life in Ashland, especially the school system and culture of the area. Is it liberal, is it too boutique, is it too touristy because of Shakespeare? We have two kids, one finishing elementary school and one in eighth grade, who need great schools just as we need a change. Do you have friends we might contact there to ask a few questions of? If not Ashland, can you think of something comparable that is not as big/far as Portland? The archives discuss Ashland as a place to visit but not as a place to live. Many thanks. Heading north

hi there: we were considering OR for an investment property as well as to move, specifically portland and ashland. we were fortunate to meet a local, bob ulery, who is a real estate agent BUT he won't try to sell you a house unless you are a good fit. bob is a treasure- from a local's perspective, he will tell you the nitty gritty- things you really want to know but not everyone will tell you. his background is in math, he worked in the high tech industry,and is now retired and doing real estate, but he has boundless energy. bob will drive to the interested sites/areas and give you a full report of the area, ambience, karma, and take pics! he is also a grandfather so he is a real pro family guy. try giving him a call to get a general sense of the town- you won't be sorry. good luck! e mail: uleryb [at]
ps: in the interest of full disclosure, i am not related nor have any financial incentives with bob, just blown away by what a nice, honest, down to earth person he is... judy, a we love bob fan!

Ashland, and Oregon in general, sounds wonderful to me too, but for many reasons I am staying put here in the Bay Area. Good luck to you--I can't help feeling a little envious. Shakespeare Festival, beautiful land, progressive community, and no sales tax--what's not to like? However, I have friends who raised a family there and their comment was: it's a fantastic place for kids until seventh grade or so. After then, though, they found the influence of the drug culture among Ashland teens to be too much to handle, and after sticking it out through their older kids' rough teen years, they ended up moving away from the place they loved mainly for the sake of the younger one. They're pretty open-minded people, by the way. I guess it was just hard for them to break the cycle. If you know this going in, and make sure your kids are engaged and active into their teen years (instead of naively thinking that they will be protected from drugs just because they're not in a big city) you will be better prepared. HM

Here is a response from my partner's aunt who has lived in Ashland, moved from Berkeley, for over 30 yrs, raising three children there:

I'd be happy to respond though remember it's been years since my kids were in the public schools but that said I know people with kids in school. So I still believe Ashland is a wonderful town and especially a beautiful place to rear kids. It is expensive but not like Berkelye is. The schools are very good. There are lots of tourists in summer especially but the Shakespeare Festival runs February through October so it's busy here. I think the Festival is a marvelous asset and the actors often help direct the high school plays which have been consistently fabulous and sold out. We have wonderful plays outside of Shakespeare as well and the Britt Music Festival in another attraction which is held in the summer months ( check out their website). Lots of terrific outdoor activities from hiking ( five minutes from our house) to rafting, skiing, biking, walking.....the list goes on. Easy access to the ocean, about a three hour drive. Ashland has a great university with a large population of international students especially from Japan. However, Ashland is not very diverse, very different from Berkeley. Fantastic restaurants and wonderful medical care, allopathic and homeopathic, naturopaths, lots and lots of massage therapists, and a bevy of woo woo practices as well. Ashland is liberal . We have a strong Buddhist community, lots of liberal open churches, lots of art and artists, a fantastic book store ( Bloomsbury Books), a wonderful science museum. I have a friend who has taught French in the public schools for years who would be a good resource for additional information about the public scvhools if needed. Hope this helps. SM

Oregon road trip and Ashland too

Oct 2007

I want to take a road trip with the family next summer to Oregon. Any places to recommend with beautiful scenery and not too long a drive? Also, I would like to spend a couple of days seeing plays in Ashland. Can anyone recommend a nice place to stay that is quiet and within walking distance of the plays? Also, how can you pick plays that everyone will enjoy ( our kids will be 11 and 14)?

I was just in Ashland, OR about a month ago and it was fantastic. We stayed at the Columbia Hotel ( which was very close to the theaters, had tons of charm and the staff were really nice. The only downside is that the bathrooms are shared, but really turned out to be no problem as I only had to wait in line for a shower once even though they were completely booked that weekend. Be sure to visit Lithia park. It's beautiful and has some great hiking trails, and it's within walking distance from the hotel and theaters. Brenda

We were in Ashland last summer, and stayed at the Palms-it was about 6 blocks from downtown. Probably not the cheapest place, but it was very charming, has a pool. We had a small cottage with a kitchen, which saved a lot of money. they also have a sister property in downtown Ashland which is less expensive, a hotel without kitchens. Oregon is a beautiful state-great things to do are to go white water rafting on the Rogue River (you can go for the day with a guide-look on the web-we used Momentum rafting); silver falls state park is great-has seven waterfalls, a great hike for kids. It's further up, a few hours from Ashland I think. the coast is also beautiful, Bandon is a nice little town.

Where to Stay in Ashland

May 2006

Does anyone know any good places to stay in Crescent City, CA, and in Ashland, OR? My husband, son, small dog (Basenji) and I are going to be camping near Fort Bragg for a few days in June, then traveling up along the coast to Crescent City where we hope to spend one night. Then on to Ashland to see a show at the Shakespeare Festival. We have a very well-behaved small dog (16-pounds) who will stay happily in her crate for several hours, and we'd like to stay somewhere besides Motel 6 if possible, although we are fine with Motel 6 also. Has anyone been in those parts traveling/lodging with pet? Also, any suggestions for ''don't-miss'' things to do along the way? Thanks. Elaine

We drive from S.F. to Seattle a few times a year and Ashland is our favorite place to stay. We typically stay in the Best Western. It is nothing fancy, but a step up from Motel 6. They allow dogs, which we know from experience. They are located right in town. They also have a pool, which is great with kids after a day in the car and nice because it can get pretty hot there. You can also save money, by going a few miles north to Medford. It is not as nice of a town, but they have all the big chain motels Mary

Re: Driving to Portland - where to stay along the way (Nov 2005)
Ashland is a great family/kid friendly town with parks, activities, nice-friendly folks. We have done the drive from here to Portland a couple of times and Ashland was a good half- way point. It has lots of B n B's, but also just outside of town are decent enough hotel/motels with pools i.e. Days Inn or the like. Have fun!
Driven to Portland too


My family of 4 (2 kids ages 5 and 2) is meeting another family with a 2 year old in Ashland, OR to see some Shakespeare plays. I am interested in getting recommendations of family-friendly accomodations (hotels, motels, or B's) in Ashland, preferably within walking distance of the theater.

My parents always stay at the Winchester Country Inn and have seen families there with children, although not as young as 5 and 2. They have 18 rooms at the inn and some of them are away from the main house so it's quite possible that they can accommodate them. We'd recommend that a call be placed to the Winchester at 1-800-972-4991 to inquire. If they don't, they can probably recommend another inn that does. Also, the inn is about 5 blocks from the theater and right in the heart of the main part of Ashland. Have fun! Jill