By Bonnie Glidewell

Spring is one of my favorite seasons of the year. You can finally start storing your winter coats and scarves, and go on early morning walks without feeling Mr. Winter nipping at your toes. You can clean off your patio for those barbecue gatherings, plant flowers and veggies to enjoy all summer long, and update your “to-enjoy” lists.

Yep, I said it… a "to-enjoy" list.

Spring in the Rogue Valley has so many wonderful events to enjoy. Farmers/Growers markets start to open all over the valley, with some of my favorites located in Ashland, Jacksonville, Medford and Grants Pass. You could nearly fill every day of the week with these markets if you’d like. With fresh flowers, local produce, ready-to-eat meals and samples galore…why would you want to pass this up? Make time to get out and about, try something you keep hearing about, and even seek out a new adventure that you have heard nothing about!  Need some help planning? Here are some suggestions.

Let’s plan April!

You could take a couple weeks off, hit the gym (to clear your guilty foodie conscience and burn some of those calories indulged), and preserve your pallet for some April gatherings! You could even sign up to run in the annual Pear Blossom Parade located in downtown Medford, the first weekend in April. Now featuring the Pear-a-Fare culinary competition, it might be a good idea to upgrade from the 5K (which is the one I do) to the 10 mile. If your legs are too tired after your long run, I suggest supporting our local Ashland Independent Film Festival, from April 9th-14th. There is a plethora of films for all groups to enjoy, even some amazing animated films for the little ones. Every year I attend a least a handful of these films, as well as the opening night gala and the awards ceremony. If you are more of a wine, art and food kind of guy/gal then I urge you to clear your schedule for either April 25th or 26th, as the annual Taste of Ashland event is booking up fast! Foodies and wine connoisseurs from all along the west coast follow a map to 17 galleries, to discover Ashland’s best restaurants and the region’s best wines. I have only been once, but I can honestly say that this was one of the most fun days I have ever had.

High Tea, anyone?

Been there done that? Want something a little lower key? Roundtable Tea Company, located in downtown Medford, offers high tea by reservation as well as other special events. They are hosting a Spring Tea on April 18 and a Mother’s Day Tea is planned on May 9.


Staying the night? 

Coming from out of town? Stay the night in Jacksonville. You will not regret it! There are a handful of lovely Bed & Breakfast nooks all over the quaint and historic town, but I do suggest a stay at the McCully House Inn. The innkeeper is ever-so-helpful and they have a few packaged deals to entice the lovers (romance package), the wine lovers (wine country package), and the music lovers (Britt package). It is not only the oldest home in Oregon operating as an inn (with full updates, plush beds and jetted tubs) conveniently located in the heart of downtown; it is also the home of the Déjà Vu Bistro & Wine Bar. Rather than wasting your time on TripAdvisor (which is something I am guilty of, do not get me wrong) reviewing others reviews on restaurants, take full advantage of the “Jacksonville experience” and eat where you stay. You can relish in the elegant yet contemporary interpretations of regional cuisine with an ever changing menu. Surrounded by the Applegate Valley wine region, the Upper Rogue and the Bear Creek Boutique wineries they offer a wine list comprised of many local wines as well as a selection of wines of the Pacific Northwest, California and countries around the world. I can tell you from experience that this chef can make your mouth water, even when full. In fact, it is quite dangerous for me to write this as my lunch break is soon approaching.

Well, that pretty much sums up my schedule for April. Stay tuned for some fun ideas to get out and about in May and June! If you cannot wait until then, visit our home page for sample tours and itineraries through the Southern Oregon region, and feel free to reach out to our local Visitor’s Centers who are always extraordinarily attentive.