Chocolate Extravaganza Details
Southern Oregon is home to world-class fishing and rafting rivers, mountains for skiing, biking and hiking, and green valleys that produce award-winning wines. It’s also home to North America’s deepest lake and Oregon’s only National Park, Crater Lake, which graces the back of Oregon’s state quarter.
From the valleys to the high desert, wildlife and nightlife share space. Southern Oregon is home to a pair of well-known attractions – the Britt Music Festival and Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival – and to dozens of museums, art galleries, theaters and antique malls and abundant tax-free shopping.
A ribbon of National Scenic Byways await, just a short drive from the California border. Follow the Redwood Highway to Grants Pass and the legendary Rogue and Umpqua rivers, where you’ll find river adventures, jetboating, rafting, fishing and much more.
Your adventure begins in Ashland where you will enjoy a 3-day long chocolate frenzy. Your first indulgence will be the Chocolate & Art Walk organized by the Ashland Gallery Association (www.ashlandgalleries.com). Enjoy amazing art, local wines and chocolates. This is a great prelude to a weekend long chocolate extravaganza.
As your evening draws to a close, relax and unwind with a Chocolate Makers’ Dinner at Larks Restaurant (www.ashlandspringshotel.com). The restaurant was designed as a celebration of Oregon, its farms, orchards, vineyards, artisan cheese makers, and chocolatiers. Larks’ executive chef will present you with a four-course dinner utilizing chocolate in each dish. Your dinner also will be accompanied by presentations from Oregon chocolatiers.
Start the next morning by spending time with Oregon Chocolate Festival vendors at the Ashland Springs Hotel (www.ashlandspringshotel.com). Vendors will showcase chocolate-scented body products, soaps, candles, truffles, pottery and more. Try unique combinations, pairings, flavor profiles and decadent infusions of truffles, sauces, bars, toffee and fudge. Oregon Chocolate Festival vendors will be at the hotel to tickle your palate.
In addition to the tastings and treats offered throughout the weekend, festival goers can attend a number of educational seminars and demonstrations in the hotel. Learn from experts about the history and mystery of chocolate, along with skin treatments and other amazing health benefits we can glean from the bean.
Experience the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (www.osfashland.org), among the oldest and largest professional non-profit theaters in the nation. Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the United States, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival reveals its collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.
The following day, explore the region’s chocolate possibilities. First, tour the kitchens of Harry and David (www.harryanddavid.com). See how they make America’s favorite treats, and taste a few of them yourself! Next, visit Lillie Belle Farms (www.lilliebellefarms.com), voted one of the top ten chocolatiers in America. The shop’s award-winning artisan chocolates are completely hand-made using time-honored European techniques, but with a true American twist.
Spend an afternoon enjoying Southern Oregon’s diverse collection of wineries. Enjoy EdenVale Winery (www.edenvalleyorchards.com). Geographically positioned as the gateway to Southern Oregon Wine Country, Eden Valley is a destination facility rich in history, grace and that authentic Oregon feel. Next, visit RoxyAnn Winery (www.roxyann.com)and experience its tasting room in the historic Hillcrest barn. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful gardens overlooking the vineyard and orchard. As you travel through the beautiful valleys with stunning vistas, make sure to look for the family member or winemaker pouring wine in the tasting room, or who may be nearby to share stories and special wines with you.
Step into the historic town of Jacksonville (www.jacksonvilleoregon.org) and discover another world. The quaint brick and wooden buildings now house an eclectic mix of shops, plentiful restaurants, spas and unique lodging. All aboard! The clanging of the trolley bell on the Historic Jacksonville Trolley tour announces another trip through time. Climb on board, relax, and watch the sites go by as a period-dressed guide brings back to life a bygone era. As your day comes to an end, enjoy a savory meal in one of Jacksonville’s restaurants housed in historic structures.
Accommodations, Restaurants, and Attractions:
A Plaza Inn & Suites at Ashland Creek
BRogue Regency Inn & Suites
C Springhill Suites by Marriott
D La Quinta Inn & Suites Ashland
E Pasta Piatti
F Caldera Tap House
G Porters Restaurant and Bar
H Jacksonville Inn
I Oregon Cabaret Theater
J Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater
K Rogue Creamery
L Oregon Caves National Monument
This itinerary made possible by a Travel Oregon grant.