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I will be visiting Southern Oregon in March. Is this a good time to go mushroom foraging?

Hi Emily,

I gather that you’re after morels, which are this region’s signature springtime mushrooms. The actual season depends largely on elevation. If we get some warm weather in February (50s), which is not uncommon, there can be early flushes of mushrooms in March, particularly in areas burned over by forest fire the previous year. The picking starts to accelerate in April at lower elevations, around 1,000 to 2,000 feet, but the main crop comes in May out of the region’s mountains.

You could get lucky if you have a proven spot in mind. Otherwise, speaking from experience, you can spend a lot of time wandering around in the woods, getting poison oak for your pains and coming home empty-handed. Then you’ll walk past a bark-mulched planter bed in the city and see the mushrooms among the shrubbery!

Just make sure wherever you go, you obtain a permit from whatever agency manages the land you’ll be picking on, which can take a bit of figuring out. It’s usually Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service.

Here’s a story I wrote for the Mail Tribune newspaper about shrooming that has some more tips.

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080508/LIFE/805080301&cid=sitesearch

Sincerely,

Sarah Lemon

www.mailtribune.com/wholedish
www.facebook.com/thewholedish

Answered by Sarah Lemon on December 7th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some fun things to do in the Roseburg area? We like museums, scenic drives and local attractions. -Terry L.

Perhaps the most well-known attraction in the Roseburg area is Wildlife Safari, a few miles away in the smaller town of Winston. Speaking from personal experience, this is fun for kids and adults alike. Here’s a story from the Mail Tribune newspaper’s Joy magazine about it: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070620/JOY/706200302&cid=sitesearch

There’s also the Douglas County Museum of Natural and Cultural History. And you’re very close to the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, which as the name implies is one of the most scenic drives in the region, with numerous waterfalls to see along the route.

The Roseburg area has become a major player in wine grape-growing in Oregon, so there are lots of opportunities for wine tasting if you’re so inclined. Another adult form of recreation is Seven Feathers casino and resort, about 30 minutes away in Canyonville. It’s a main venue for musical acts, comedy shows, rodeos and the like. There’s also a new spa at the resort.

Like other Southern Oregonians, residents of Roseburg spend a lot of time in and around a major river, the Umpqua, which has rafting, fishing and jetboating opportunities.

I would suggest consulting the community calendar published online by the Umpqua-News Review when you get to town: http://www.nrtoday.com/Entertainment/Calendar.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on October 29th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are the most beautiful sites in Southern Oregon? What is the best beach for RVs?

In the Southern Oregon Region, the most beautiful site arguably is Crater Lake, the centerpiece of the state’s only national park and a sacred site to native tribes long before settlers “discovered it.” The summertime and wintertime landscapes each show unique facets of this natural wonder.

In Southern Oregon, there are several sites I recommend at various points along the coast. Starting with the farthest south, Harris Beach State Park has 36 full-hookup sites; http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_79.php About 80 miles north in Bandon, Bullards Beach State Park is larger with 104 full-hookup sites. About 25 miles just outside Charleston, Bastendorff Beach county park has 74 full-hookup sites: http://www.co.coos.or.us/Departments/CoosCountyParks/Bastendorff.aspx.

And although Bastendorff Beach isn’t quite as easy to access on foot as beaches at the previous two sites mentioned, this is my personal favorite beach on the South Coast, and the one I always go to. On the south end of the Coos Bay jetty, the beach is long and flat with finely textured sand. A sandstone cliff borders one end that makes for nice tidepooling and surf fishing at low tide. Water is shallow for a quite a ways in the surf zone. It’s popular with surfers and people flying kites and walking dogs. On a clear day, Cape Arago lighthouse (isolated, closed to the public and hard to spot from almost any other point on the coast) is visible from the beach’s north end.

Enjoy your stay,
Sarah Lemon

 

Answered by Sarah Lemon on October 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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What are some of the best spots to view fall leaves between Crater Lake and Lakeview?

Greetings from Southern Oregon,

West of Crater Lake in northern Jackson County, there are stands of maple that turn orange and crimson this time of year. East of Crater Lake, the fall color show is put on by native aspens. The main concentration is in the Fort Klamath area. But there are numerous groves in the vast Fremont National Forest scattered in the upper reaches of the Sycan, Chewaucan, Sprague and Williamson rivers, between Klamath Falls and Lakeview, according to the Oregonian.

Here’s a story from the Mail Tribune newspaper about some of the best aspen viewing: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071011/LIFE/710110301&cid=sitesearch

Sincerely,
Sarah Lemon

Answered by Sarah Lemon on October 15th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What is there to see and do in Grants Pass? Are the roads easily accessible?

Grants Pass is the gateway to the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River. As such, it is renowned for its whitewater rafting. For those who prefer to see the river from a motorized craft, there is Hellgate Jetboat Excursions.

Grants Pass also is near Oregon Caves National Monument, the state’s oldest and one of the region’s top attractions. The city’s downtown is popular with antique collectors, and there are lots of wine-tasting opportunities in the nearby Applegate Valley, as well as a Saturday farmers market downtown.

Kids love Wildlife Images in Merlin and the Bear Hotel Artworks Museum. Here are recent stories from the Mail Tribune’s Joy magazine about those attractions: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101020/JOY/10200347&cid=sitesearch and http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110921/JOY/109210348&cid=sitesearch

Grants Pass is about 50 miles north of the California border right off Interstate 5. It also can be reached from the Oregon/California coast via state Highway 199, which is the route to Oregon Caves.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on August 30th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some good kid-friendly activities in Roseburg?

Whenever I vacationed as a child in Roseburg, we always went to Wildlife Safari in nearby Winston. This is the ultimate kid-friendly activity around Roseburg. Check out this story from the Mail Tribune newspaper’s Joy magazine about the attraction.

If you still need more to keep the kids busy, there’s also the fish ladder at Winchester Dam on the Umpqua River just north of town for an educational experience that’s also fun.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on August 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

My wife and I will be traveling four days from Bend to the Oregon Caves. What should we do in between?

If Oregon Caves already is on your itinerary and you’re coming from Bend, you shouldn’t miss Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake. Along with the Caves, it’s this region’s premiere attraction, as noted in this recent story for the Mail Tribune newspaper.

If you’re coming from Bend south, the most logical route is through the Cascades right past Crater Lake on part of the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway. After Crater Lake, stop at the natural bridge area and Mill Creek Falls. If you keep taking the byway from Highway 62 to Highway 234, you’ll pass right by locals’ favorite spot for hiking, the Table Rocks. These mesas are among the region’s
most distinctive geographic and geologic features. This route also takes you past several vineyards with tasting rooms.

There also are several opportunities for world-class whitewater rafting on the Rogue River between Shady Cove and Grants Pass. Lodging along this route is available at Diamond Lake Resort,  Prospect HotelEdgewater Inn in Shady Cove, yurts at the region’s best state park, Valley of the Rogue, as well as numerous options in Grants Pass.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on August 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

We live in Northern CA and are looking to go visit a town in Oregon that has nice scenery, shopping, quaint hotels, things to do but not too long of a driving distance since we are looking at a long weekend away – possibly over Thanksgiving. What do you recommend?

It sounds like the town of Ashland is right up your alley. Just off Interstate 5 and just north of the California border, this town is, arguably the region’s main tourist destination. It boasts a wide variety of restaurants and
accommodations, including boutique hotels and many bed-and-breakfasts, plus the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cabaret Theater and a vibrant arts scene in a small, walkable downtown area.

The Railroad District is home to numerous galleries, on the other end of town is the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University. See the Mail Tribune newspaper’s guide to visual arts and the Shakespeare festival for more information.

The beginning of the holiday season brings the festival of lights, craft fairs and ice-skating in Lithia Park, one of locals’ favorite spots for easy,picturesque hiking. Ashland also a cyclists’ town with mountain biking,
the Bear Creek Greenway and numerous bike shops.

Family-friendly activities abound, but there’s Science Works Hands-On Museum, North Mountain Nature Center and programs at Northwest Nature Shop.

Ashland makes a good home base for exploring Jackson County’s other attractions: Crater Lake (the state’s only national park), Jacksonville, a national historic landmark (also a good town for antiquing), as well as lots of artisan foods, particularly Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on July 26th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

Where is there good berry picking in the Bandon area?

The South Coast is one of the best places to U-pick blueberries, with the prime location being Langlois, just south of Bandon and north of Port Orford. There are a couple of family-run farms just off Highway 101 that mark their location with signs. Look for Jensen’s, which is organic. Berrying usually is at its height in August, and with this year’s cold summer, ripening could be even later.

Various species of blackberries grow all over the southern part of the state, particularly near waterways and will be ripe into September. Black and red huckleberries thrive under fir canopies near the coast. There also are salal berries on the coastal headlands and the more elusive orange-crimson salmonberries.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on July 26th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

I’m coming to Ashland to see the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I want to check out some breweries, some wineries, some natural wonders…. I’d LOVE some ‘local’ (that is, somewhat off-the-obvious-path) suggestions of things to check out. -Kristin G.

You’re on the right track with plans to partake of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland’s claim to fame. If you haven’t already, see the Mail Tribune newspaper’s guide to the festival for news and reviews.

If you want to take in the region’s primary natural wonders, plan a day to visit Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park, or Oregon Caves, the state’s first national monument. I always recommend both, but they are several hours’ drive apart. Here’s a recent story from the Mail Tribune to help you decide.

You could spend a couple of days on wineries alone. The Rogue region boasts dozens between Ashland and Medford, known as Bear Creek Boutique Wines. The Applegate Valley has its own “wine trail,” as does the Upper-Rogue region. See the Mail Tribune’s complete guide to wine tasting, as well as local wine coverage by columnist Janet Eastman.

Ashland has a few popular breweries, including Standing Stone and Caldera, but the up-and-comers are in Medford. Check out Southern Oregon Brewing and Walkabout, which is opening its taphouse in July. While you’re in Medford, eat at Downtown Market Co., the town’s No. 1 restaurant on TripAdvisor and one of my personal favorites.

Most of my “locals-only” tips center around food and dining. Ashland is replete with restaurants, particularly around the plaza, but some of the best (and more affordable) dining is removed from the downtown core. I always make a point of eating at Morning Glory for breakfast, Happy Falafel for a fast, inexpensive lunch and a newcomer, called Sauce, for really flavorful, healthy food.

It sounds a little strange, but Ashland Food Co-op in the railroad district does more food-service business than anywhere else in town. It has a salad bar, hot bar and deli that’s fresh, fast and can accommodate any type of diet.

Check out all my Ashland-area dining coverage here.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on July 13th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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