Heading south from Medford, Oregon, stands a fairly quiet and quaint little town. Founded in the 1800’s, the city of Ashland began unofficially with just a water-powered sawmill and also a flour mill that stood along Ashland Creek, giving credibility to those who wanted to call this paradise their new home.
Ashland is known for its Shakespeare Festivals, the Ashland Hotel, wineries, outdoor recreational attractions and more, not to mention Southern Oregon University. But the greatest treasure I have found in Ashland is a not-so-small park, tucked away just off of the main road. And I mean, right off the main road.
Lithia Park boasts 93 acres of pristine and lush blades of soft, green grass, picnic area, blooming flowering cherry and magnoliia trees in the spring and colorful autumn-hued trees in the fall. In the summer, the playground equipment is in full use and the creek cools off tired hiking tootsies.
In the early 1800’s, people from Ohio and Kentucky made their way to western Oregon, settling in this small area and since these settlers hailed from Ashland, Ohio and Ashland, Kentucky, they most likely agreed the best choice for a name was that of the hometowns from which they came. With the opening of their post office, the city of Ashland became official.
In 1892, Lithia Park was started as an 8-acre project for a city of then almost 3,000. Ashland was the largest town in the county at that time and was growing faster than any town south of Portland, six hours north. People began coming from all over to visit and camp in what would become Lithia Park and drink the fresh, bubbling, lithium rich fountain water, now known as Lithia-water, right from the porcelain fountains at the entrance to the park.
Parts of the park have been restored and in 2014, Lithia Park was named one of the top ten Great Spaces by the APA. Parts of the park are stil undeveloped, which gives you the feeling of being out in naature, but also knowing you can stop for a slice of great pizza at Martolli’s Hand Tossed Pizza on the way back to the car. (Yum!)
I have lived in Medford for almost eight years now and have driven by Lithia Park a few times, strolled it briefly less times, but this week I have visited twice and plan to revisit it tomorrow as it’s nothing short of breathtaking. Especially now, with Spring’s buds and blooms opening wide to the fragrance of a new and bright season.
As the cherry trees drop their petals in the soft afternoon breeze and gently land on the pond water like freshly fallen snow, the wood ducks that have stopped over on their migration north show off their colorful, feathered coats for all to see. A flutist sits on a bench inside the bandstand, playing classical tunes that echo out and through the wooded areas that are filled with cedars and firs, rhodededrons, azaleas and more. A trail guide is available and one day I will pick one up to see all the places there are to behold, but for now I don’t want to miss what’s right in front of me.
It seems crazy that Thanksgiving was little more than a few days ago. Just days since we tried stuffing Josie full of turkey and potatoes in a cooperative effort to squeeze the happy-where-he was out of mommy’s tummy and into this world of bright lights and loud, scary noises, and cold breezes that blow. However, though he had a mind of his own and refused to concede to our desires, to appease his followers, he did make his debut on Saturday morning, November 29th, as a healthy 6 pound 14 ounce little man and was given the handsome name of Finn McKenzie Woodbridge. And yes, he is perfect.
Thank you, God.
Moon at Midday
Mallard Ducks in Flight
Golden Sunset – untouched “Amber Gold”
I love this picture!
Enjoy this next week!