Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Anniversary Weekend

After spending two wonderful days of our honeymoon in Ashland last year, Daniel and I agreed that we would try to return to every year. So far, so good. The town is the perfect place to slow down and relax (the town pretty much shuts down at 10pm - except for a few bars). It was wonderful getting to go back to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

We stayed at the lovely Ashland Springs Hotel again. We had a nice view of the mountains and Main Street, and our room was cozy. I especially like the location of the hotel: right on Main Street, close to the shopping, restaurants and the theatres. I highly recommend staying there.

The long weekend was filled with lots of walking - up and down Main Street and some steep hills. We parked our rental car upon arriving Friday afternoon and didn't get back in it until Monday. Next time, I think we'll look into just getting a shuttle from the airport.

We saw 3 amazing shows.

Friday night was "The Winter's Tale" by Shakespeare. Everything about it was amazing. The set. The costumes. The acting. The play is very engaging. Part tragedy, part romance and quite a bit of comedy (in the second act). It had my undivided attention the entire time. I was in theatre heaven.

Saturday afternoon we saw the new play "UP", by Bridget Carpenter. The play is about a man who 16 years prior tied 30 weather balloons to a lawn chair and flew. Since then, he's been searching for a moment like when he was up in the air. He has a wife and son...and a passion for inventing. The characters were a joy to watch. I especially enjoyed being in a different theatre environment and getting to see a new show that I had no predisposition to. Apparently, there was a movie in 2004 about a man who also ties balloons to a lawn chair - I plan on checking it out soon.

We saw "The Importance of Being Earnest", by Oscar Wilde on our anniversary (Sunday night). Again, we were very impressed. The play was done in three acts and each one flew by. The sets (all three of them) were gorgeous - as were the costumes. It's difficult to say which of the three plays were my favorite because they were all so different, but I did enjoy getting to sit back and enjoy a farce. There was no drama or tragedy in "Earnest" - just fun (sometimes ridiculous) comedy.

Besides the walking, shopping and play going, we also had some amazing meals. Since Shannon will be in Ashland soon, I'm going to go ahead and suggest a few places.
  • The Greenleaf - (sit creekside, it's gorgeous & great for people watching). I had the Greek Scramble for breakfast and it was fabulous.
  • Ashland Bakery & Cafe - Great coffee. Yummy pastries. We went there for lunch the first day (Stuffed Portabello Sandwich - SOOO good) . The food was so tasty, we went back for breakfast. Daniel had Polenta Pancakes...I had French Toast stuffed with Lemon Ricotta and covered in fresh berry sauce. Seriously. Divine.
  • Macaroni's Ristorante - We sat outside on the patio and split a warm spinach salad (with shrimp) and a small Margherita pizza while listening to live musicians playing in front of the theatres.
  • Pasta Piatti - Again, we sat outside - Ashland is too gorgeous not to. We got two amazing pasta dishes, a pesto and hummus platter, and a piece of warm chocolate cake served with espresso gelato...oh, and a glass of wine - for under $50. Great food, atmosphere and value.
  • Dragonfly - Go there. Sit outside (duh). Try anything on the menu and I'm sure you'll be pleased. The food is fresh and healthy. The servers are very friendly. I wish this restaurant was in Bakersfield.
If we could, I think Daniel and I would love to spend entire summers in Ashland...who knows, maybe when we've won the lottery. For now, we're happy to get to go back for a few days and pretend we're locals. I'm already trying to figure out when we can go back.

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