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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Dive Into High Culture in Ashland

With fewer crowds (and lower prices) at its internationally renowned Shakespeare festival and an ever-thriving local arts scene, now’s the ideal time to visit this cultural oasis in woodsy Southern Oregon.

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1. Where to Stay

The Danish-modern "Copenhagen," one of the regionally-themed suites at the Ashland Creek Inn.  

Stroll through the English country gardens at The Palm (from $79), an oasis of eco-friendly calm in the heart of the university district. The property, a renovated 1950s motor court, offers 15 retro-style rooms; ask for the Art Deco-tinged Sunrise Suite, with bubble-patterned curtains, angular lamps, a fireplace, and a deep soaking tub; or, for more of a '50s island-vacation vibe, the Deluxe Suite, where there’s a private breakfast nook and tropical flower-patterned accents. Take a dip in the recently remodeled saltwater pool—the mild saline content has therapeutic properties, and the gorgeous tile work, in the earth-friendly spirit of the inn, is made from recycled glass.

Watch for deer and hawks from your window or private deck at the boutique Ashland Creek Inn (from $150), a renovated 1880s grain mill on the banks of Ashland Creek. Start off each morning with a gourmet breakfast care of the on-site chef, who experiments with dishes like smoked salmon soufflé, herbed morel-stuffed crepes, and berries with chia-caramel sauce. The inn’s blue-shuttered, vine-covered façade looks more Provence than Oregon woods, and the suites transport as well, each with a different regional style. The Copenhagen, with deck and full kitchen, is Danish modern, with light pine and clean lines; the Normandy has the flowered cushions, rose-hued wood, and wrought-iron deck furniture of a Northern French country house; and the Northern-Italian-themed Sienna has a jetted tub for two in the bedroom.

Soak in Victorian elegance at The Peerless on 4th (from $130). Built in 1900, the cozy property (just four guest rooms and two suites) has been impeccably restored using period-appropriate design elements—lace curtains, brass lamps, four-poster beds, and claw-foot tubs—alongside modern touches like Frette linens and Pharmacopia organic bath products. Request Suite 3 for a playful front-parlor feel—floral wallpaper, framed prints, overstuffed furniture—or the more glamorous Suite 7, with potted palms, a two-person Jacuzzi, and a view of the mountains from the private balcony. Grab dinner at the on-site restaurant, where the inventive, regionally focused small-plate specialties range from Snake River Farms Kurobuta Pork Ramen ($16.50) to Maple Leaf Farms Cassoulet, with duck confit and house-made sausage ($18.50).

Published on Feb 20, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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