Friday, July 31, 2009

Where to Stay: Ashland, Oregon, Winchester Inn


Featuring excellent service and attention to detail, this inn complex consists of the main Victorian house (which was originally a hospital on Main Street and then moved up the hill) and restaurant plus three other buildings. Manicured gardens surround.
The fine-dining restaurant (D daily, SunBr; $$$) uses mostly organic ingredients from local providers—think juniper berry-crusted filet mignon with a red wine reduction, horseradish, and bacon served with mashed potatoes and grilled broccolini, or grilled wild salmon with a blackberry-chipotle sauce, corn-and-blueberry salsa, herb-fried zucchini, and polenta cakes. A six-course Dickens’ Christmas Feast is scheduled annually at Christmas.

The Winchester Inn, Restaurant and Wine Bar 39 S. Second St., 2 blks. from festival, (800) 972-4991, 541-488-1113; http://www.winchesterinn.com/. Afternoon & evening snack; full breakfast.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Things to Do: Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival


In addition to the expected Shakespeare, this festival presents contemporary and classic plays on its one outdoor stage and two indoor stages. And the show almost always goes on. Even with rain showers in progress, though the actors then perform in street clothes so as not to ruin the delicate silks in their elaborate costumes. My family once saw a performance of “Romeo and Juliet” during such a storm—with the thunder roaring and the lightning flashing in the distance--lending a memorable ambiance to the performance. So do remember to pack ponchos, head covers, and raincoats; tickets are refunded if it is raining and you leave the theater before 75 minutes have passed. Some Shakespeare plays are better than others for children. Three that have been particularly successful with my children are “The Comedy of Errors,” “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” and “Romeo and Juliet.” If in doubt, call the Festival office for advice. This season children might enjoy Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and two non-Shakespearean plays--the great American musical “The Music Man” and a hilarious adaptation of “The Servant of Two Masters.”
Oregon Shakespeare Festival (800) 219-8161, (541) 482-4331; http://www.osfashland.org. Spring-Fall.

Brass Rubbing Center In less than an hour you can make a very special souvenir rubbing from a selection of more than 180 brass reliefs. Instruction and materials are provided, and you can even have your finished rubbing matted while you wait. The center claims to have "one of the finest collections of Monumental Brass Replicas outside of the British Isles." The shop also sells individual synopses of the current year's program of Shakespearean plays that are worth reading in advance.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Misc.: Key West, Hemingway Days Festival


Hemingway is reincarnated annually at Sloppy Joe's Annual Papa Look-Alike Contest. Arm-wrestling, a Key Lime pie-eating contest, a marlin fishing contest, a sort of Running of the Bulls, and a Caribbean Street fair are also part of the fun.
Hemingway Days Festival Around July 21--the author’s birthday. http://sloppyjoes.com/lookalikes.htm. Free.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Great Sleeps: Ashland, Oregon, Ashland Springs Hotel


Both charming and conveniently located, this landmark hotel built in 1925 offers large, quiet rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. Rooms are poshly appointed, with high beds. A sort of Audubon theme runs throughout the hotel, including a fascinating display of Victorian stuffed birds and an extensive seashell collection displayed in the old-fashioned two-story lobby. The lobby has several seating areas and large windows looking out to the street; a continental breakfast is served on the mezzanine level that wraps around the perimeter, allowing diners a view below.
Ashland Springs Hotel 212 E. Main St., downtown, 888-795-4545, 541-488-1700; http://www.ashlandspringshotel.com/. Continental breakfast. Adjacent Waterstone Spa. Restaurant. Free parking.


Larks restaurant operates off the lobby. Its cuisine is a celebration of Oregon’s farms, orchards, and vineyards, as well as of its artisan cheese makers and chocolatiers. Dinner includes items such as a classic Caesar salad as well as well as more fussy delights such as a "Maple Balsamic-glazed Double-cut White Marble Farms Pork Chop With Apple Compote & Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes.” Lunch is a relative bargain, and the menu then includes a hamburger and a classic Reuben sandwich.
http://www.larksrestaurant.com/. L-D daily, Sat-SunBr; $$$.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Misc.: Japan, love hotels

I’ve always wondered about Japan’s love hotels.
Now I know the illuminating details!

http://www.worldhum.com/features/how-to/how-to-stay-at-a-love-hotel-in-japan-20090716

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Photo by furibond via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Misc.: NYC, Central Park



The less you know about the movie "The Visitor" (2007), the more enjoyable you'll probably find it, so I'll bite my tongue.

Adding to my general enjoyment is that it was filmed in many of the spots I recently enjoyed together with my extended family and friends on the 4th in NYC: Central Park; the drummers bench (see my video below); Sheeps Meadow; and also the Broadway/Lafayette subway station. Maybe you'll recognize more locations. Coincidentally, I realized that a short video I made on the 4th is of the very bench where these portrayed musicians play in the park!

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Sights to See: UCLA Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, Westwood, California







Art meets nature here. Spanning more than 5 acres, the garden displays more than 70 sculptures by artists that include Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, and Auguste Rodin. Kids can romp among the works--you’ll have some great photo ops--and it's the perfect spot for a memorable picnic.


Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden 310-443-7041; http://hammer.ucla.edu/collections/detail/collection_id/6. Parking available in Lot 3; $9.

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image copyright 2009 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Travel Videos: shame on United--again-part 1


This well-done music video from the Canadian country music group, Sons of Maxwell, almost lightens the problem of luggage damage. Unfortunately, United isn't the only guilty airline. Ever since the TSA cut off my special TSA lock (and the two little pull tabs along with it), I'm always surprised when my suitcase shows up intact and filled with what I packed.


see the video:



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