Abundantly sunny and hot, highs will be in the 80s to near 100 in the valleys, light winds, slight chance of precipitation.
YES! It’s Summer in Southern Oregon! Very few places, on any continent, have the biological diversity, natural wonders, wild and scenic rivers and mountain vistas that we do in the Rogue Valley, not to mention the mild climate, long growing season and rich valley soils for farmers and gardening enthusiasts.
For Rogue Valley residents and visitors, there are so many festivals, fairs, classes and recreational opportunities it can be a little overwhelming. Depending on what you like to do, there is something for everyone, such as hiking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, fine dining, theater-going, music/dance concerts and more.
Maybe you and your loved ones have a favorite neighborhood park where you gather with the kids, grandkids or family pets. Or you eagerly anticipate the annual drive to a beloved destination like Crater Lake National Park. Perhaps you look forward to smelling the pine trees and sitting around a cozy campfire at a favorite spot in the Cascade-Siskiyou Mountains? What about potluck picnics and summer birthday gatherings? Don’t worry, there’s zip-lining, rock climbing and Class III or IV white-water river rafting for the more adventurous.
Any way you look at it, summer is a wonderful time of year for maximizing daylight, fine weather and quality time with family and friends. What are you looking forward to doing this summer?
Here’s what I’ve got on my current wishlist a.k.a. “staycation” ideas:
1. Pick local berries, all kinds. I love berries; they feed my brain and fill me with joie de vivre. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, marionberries, salmonberries, huckleberries – homegrown and wild – sweet and tart – raw and baked into a cobbler, they’re magnificent. Lucky for me, I have strawberries coming out of my ears (if I keep up with the weeding that is) thanks to my backyard berry patch. For blueberries and raspberries, I used to go to B&R Berries/The Berry Patch in Gold Hill every year; however, they have recently closed down, so now I am scouting out a new place for those.
My own raspberry garden is slowly coming along, including a golden raspberry bush. For a wild berry feast, just hike on the Union Creek Trail across from Becky’s Café on the road to Crater Lake. The best time to go is late August or early September. You will eat your fill and have enough to fill a jar for later. There are so many jewel-toned berries ripening along the creekside path; if you bring the kids, it is a treasure hunt they will remember for years to come.
2. Check out what local artists have been doing via the Ashland Gallery Association and First Fridays in Ashland, or the parallel art walk in Medford called Third Fridays. Most events include sweet and savory finger foods and bubbly drinks to enjoy while perusing local art and enjoying our southern Oregon climate. (https://www.facebook.com/MedfordThirdFriday/ and https://www.facebook.com/ashlandgalleries/)
3. Volunteer at the Children’s Festival at the lovely Britt Gardens in Jacksonville, July 13 to 15, 2019. Children of all ages come in droves to this affordable weekend festival; tickets are only $3.00 general admission price. The booths run the gamut, from science activities to face painting and lots more. Maybe I will see you at the rock art station this year? (http://www.storytellingguild.org/childrens-festival.html)
4. Attend a local theatrical performance. There are many theaters to choose from; there is my favorite, the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Craterian Theater, the Oregon Cabaret, Camelot Theater Company, the Southern Oregon University Theater, various high school performances and more. The OSF Green Show is popular and always free and open to the public: https://www.osfashland.org/productions/activities-and-events/green-show.aspx
5. Shop for herbs, vegetables, fruit and artisanal treats at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market. This happens on Thursdays in Medford and Tuesdays + Saturdays in Ashland. (https://rvgrowersmarket.com/) The Lithia Artisans Market is also a fun place to shop on weekends in Ashland. It is located at the entrance to beautiful Lithia Park, and is adjacent to many high-quality restaurants along Ashland Creek; for details visithttps://lithiaartisansmarket.com/
6. Ride a Rogue River jet boat tour; on a warm day, this is one of best adventures close to home. Hellgate Jetboat Excursions (https://hellgate.com/) has several tour options depending on how much time you have, plus a great gift shop to purchase souvenirs. The tour guides ensure that each boat ride is exciting and full of laughs for everyone. You may see wildlife like bald eagles soaring above or river otters swimming along the riverbank.
Now, what’s on your list? It’s never too early to start planning your next adventure.