May 31, 2013
A Taste of Ashland: 17 Galleries, 17 Wineries, 17 Restaurants, One Delicious Art Experience!
Each year, the Ashland Gallery Association holds a 2-day fundraiser featuring a number of the best regional wineries and local restaurants paired together while having a “host home” of an art gallery in the downtown vicinity of beautiful Ashland, Oregon. This year, the event was held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 27th & 28th. The big time foodies, such as me, will go all day both days to ensure double sampling and double the experience. This self-guided walking tour is known as Ashland’s “most delicious art experience” and I can attest to that. I am baffled how I have missed this signature event throughout the years I have lived here.
The Ashland Gallery Association’s goal is to promote Ashland as an art destination through group activities including professional and student art exhibits, First Friday gallery walks, and educational opportunities to promote the sale of art in the belief that art is essential to the welfare and character of our community. Now in the twenty-fourth year, I believe they have accomplished exactly that. Bravo to this outstanding non-profit, we love you!
What was best about the event, you ask? First, I can say that I was both honored and embarrassed with the name tag I received upon arrival. “Awesome Blogger”, Jeff Jones noted. Thank you, Jeff. I really do appreciate the recognition. Aside from the art viewing between food and wine (which was absolutely to die for), I loved the option of a (free) trolley for people to take between galleries. I asked others what their “game plan” was and I had a variety of answers. Some people wanted to start at one end of the plaza and work their way to the other end, some were planning on taking the trolley to almost ever gallery while others were not taking it at all, some were strategically being sporadic and unorganized, while others were switching it up and going both days, and some had no plan at all.
Either way, the trolley was a great option to have! Although most galleries are within walking distance from each other, it makes for a long and fast paced day unless one is in tip top shape. I did not partake in this the first day as I was literally hustling through the map and hit sixteen of the seventeen galleries, but by the second day I was not going to let my tired tootsies get me down! I strolled along much slower and took the trolley from the historic Ashland Railroad District to the Hilltop Gallery where I was greeted by the lovely Heather of Belle Fiore Winery and the owner of Blue Greek on Granite. I have to say, the worst decision I made was to start from bottom up. I missed out on my favorite Greek dish of dolmas paired with Baklava. Mmmm I can taste it now, like I am back on Oia, Santorini, gazing at that famous sunset we all live to see that one time in our life. Okay, now back to reality… which is surprisingly is just as great as the memory. Another thing I love about this event is the ability to vote for the Taster’s Choice award for the best restaurant, wine and gallery. This part keeps me on my toes as I jot down my favorite pairings along the way. The delicacies that were offered were abosuletly scrumptious!
And the winners of the Taster’s Awards for 2013 were:
(Drum roll inserted here)
• Gallery: Davis and Cline
• Restaurant: Callahan’s Mountain Lodge
• Winery: Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars (for the second year in a row)
Lastly, I want to give many thanks to the people who made this happen. Despite the obvious people (although not taken for granted) such as the galleries, wineries, and restaurants… there were a few more helping hands. A huge shout out goes to Jeff Jones, Event Coordinator, and his volunteers (including his adorable wife Melody to name one in particular). In addition, this year’s sponsors included: Southern Oregon Public Television (SOPTV), Southern Oregon Media Group, Mountain Meadows, Jefferson Public Radio (JPR), Ashland Chamber of Commerce, Sneak Preview, and RAM Offset Lithographers. Without all of you, this event could have never been pulled off as well as it was. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Make sure to go to our album on Facebook to view the rest of the photos dedicated to this awesome event, and look at their website to schedule it in for next year.