Jennifer’s Southern Oregon Trek
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Have no fear…we’ve got another fabulous trip idea lined up for you. Our very own Jennifer (she works in the Tourism Development Dept.) recently headed off to Grants Pass in Southern Oregon for a weekend escape.
Read her travelogue for some excellent ideas on how to spend an adventure filled weekend in Grants Pass. ~ Mo
Our first stop in scenic Grants Pass was Friday night at AJA Restaurant, which serves “eclectic Pacific Rim cuisine.” (AJA is pronounced like Asia.) It’s open for dinner only 5:00 pm to 9:00 p.m. Tues-Thurs, 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fri and Sat. Closed Sun and Mon. It’s in a historic brick building and it’s owned by Tim Mock and Sandra Shizury. He grew up in Grants Pass and she’s Japanese. Together they worked in Hawaii and California. They looked for spots in GP for four years before deciding the time was right to open up their small (approx ten tables) restaurant. Some of the awesome food we ate: Crab Tacos, Paper Chicken (Asian sauce and rice paper around the chicken), Killer Shrimp with Wasabi Cream, Seafood Curry, Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with homemade vanilla ice cream, Raspberry Lemon Curd Cake Roll.
118 NW ‘E’ St, Grants Pass, 541-471-1228
Hellgate Jet Boats cancelled because of low water (they usually close after this weekend anyway) so Rogue River Raft Trips at Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge stepped in with a three-hour raft/float trip including lunch. Before we launched I watched an osprey dive in to the river and catch a fish, right between two fishing boats. Out on the water we saw four bald eagles, lots of great blue herons, an egret, squirrels and tons of ducks and geese. We saw a hawk chase down and kill a songbird in a bush. We also saw fish in the shallow water and one guy who caught a 23″ salmon. We (Lisa was on my raft) even got a little wet despite the low water.
8500 Galice Road in Merlin, 1-800-826-1963
After lunch on the deck overlooking the Rogue River it was off to Wildlife Images, a rehabilitation and education center for native animals, located near Merlin. They have an assortment of bears, cougars, bobcats, eagles, owls, deer and an otter, raccoon and a really cute badger who wanted his belly scratched. They return 80% of the animals they receive back into the wild. Some stay at the center, participating in educational programs, to hopefully teach people to leave wild animals in the wild. You just can’t convince some people cougars and bears don’t make ideal pets.
11845 Lower River Road, 541-476-0222
We drove back to Grants Pass along the river passing the Ride the Rogue bicycle race participants. We visited the local city sports park on the river where they had just finished a new pedestrian bridge and river trails. Also on the banks were huge spec houses. The prices were already reduced as they sat across the street from the sport courts and right next door to the sewage treatment center. For dinner we checked out a local Oregon company: Abby’s Pizza! In Grants Pass it served as birthday party central.
205 NE Beacon Drive, 541-476-2133
Back at the hotel, we went down to the swimming pool, which was situated between the Holiday Inn Express and the Best Western. The pool was super warm and the spa was huge. They have a really nice continental breakfast at the HIEx. And you get your choice of pillows – firm or soft.
105 NE Agness Avenue, 541-471-6144
The next morning after eating at another locally-owned restaurant (Elmer’s), we headed into the Applegate valley to visit Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary. It’s the only licensed wolf refuge in Oregon. They take in wolves that have been kept as illegal pets or injured in some way. They don’t do any breeding, just education. They are looking to move to a larger location so if you know anyone with an extra 100 acres near Grants Pass, give them a call!
555 Davidson Road, Williams, 541-846-8962
175 NE Agness Avenue, 541-474-0740
I recommend Grants Pass and Southern Oregon as a great weekend trip. Rafting in the hot summer sun next year would definitely be a great time. The guide told stories of epic water fights between jet boats and rafts. A road trip to a new spot in Oregon every weekend would be a fabulous way to live.
- Jennifer Archer, Travel Oregon
About the Author: Mo Sherifdeen
Mo is Travel Oregon's content publisher and loves to hike the forests and mountain trails of Oregon with his wife, daughter and dog. He is also known for getting lost inside a maze of books at Powell’s, sipping an IPA (or two) and seeking the best fish 'n chips along the Oregon Coast.
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In this Itinerary
These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.