Monday, July 5, 2010

There's No Place Like (a Second) Home

One of our favorite wedding gifts we received (we didn't mean to play favorites, but get a load o' this) was a weekend getaway at our close family friends' - The Lovgrens - second home in Ashland, Oregon.

The Lovgren Home

The house is actually located about 20 minutes outside of Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), in a town called Talent. Oregon is simply breathtaking this time of year and we couldn't have picked a better weekend to stage our cottage takeover. This year's 4th of July weekend marked the 75th Anniversary of OSF and we even attended the Saturday evening performance of Twelfth Night - the first play to be presented during the festival's inaugural weekend 75 years prior. The weather stayed in the mid 70's and dipped to the high 50's in the evenings giving us a perfect excuse to have that second (oh, who am I kidding, third and fourth...) glass of wine.

The back porch - where we spent most of our time.

The Lovgren's home is picturesque - it's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath wooden masterpiece overflowing with charm and character. I loved every detail of the house. The theme of the home, if I had to assign one, would probably be Enchanted Autumn Forest - filled with acorns, squirrel figurines, leaf and pine cone accented mirrors and art. From the handwritten labels on the baking ingredient filled mason jars to the upstair guest suite furnished with a desk/reading nook, movie watching den and magazine-cover-shoot-ready bathroom; I was in heaven.

The reading nook.

Under the sink guest goodies!

We invited our dear friends Alice and Dave to join us for the weekend - a decision that proved to be the best of the weekend! Dave and Brian had actually frequented OSF during the summers between '98-'02 and, Dave later admitted, had promised to one day take their future wives back to the place that had meant so much to them and had been such a special part of their friendship.

We all arrived late Friday evening - Alice from San Francisco, Brian and I from Santa Monica, and Dave from China. (He was there on business, but we thanked him tirelessly for his commitment to keeping the dream alive and making it back in time for the weekend they had set in motion a decade prior.) We rented a car and drove from Medford to Ashland (about 30 minutes) where we were greeted by the magic of the Lovgren home as well as some mood-setting music playing on an antique record player when we entered.

Brian in front of our Comfortably Greener, Q400 Horizon prop plane.

Saturday morning, we were early to rise as Dave had organized for us to attend the backstage tour of all three of the OSF stages. After learning about the history of the festival and seeing a set change, the wig shop and Green Room, we were off to lunch! Morning Glory was everything it promised - a local cafe specializing in all things breakfast and coffee. After stuffing ourselves with shrimp cakes, lemon poppyseed and ricotta french toast, biscuits and gravy, and southwestern hash, we decided a little window shopping was in order. Afterwards, we went back to the house to relax, swing, play horse shoes, nap (my personal favorite), and freshen up for the evening.

The Santa Monica Luskeys in Ashland, OR. the Elizabethan Theatre in Ashland, OR.

Saturday evening, we dined at Tabu - a tapas bar that was neither tapas, nor bar. The nachos, crab quesadilla, coconut shrimp and empanada tapas all came on enormous plates with portions large enough to feed a small family. We knew we were in for an adventure when our waitress gave us the hairy eyeball when we ordered more than 3 tapas and suggested we all make our drinks "doubles." We opted out of their lame-o dessert in order to indulge at MIX; a sweetshop specializing in salted caramel gelato. YUM. After an impressive rendition of Twelfth Night performed in the open-air Elizabethan Theatre, we headed back to the Lovgren cottage to hit the hay.

The team in front of MIX in downtown Ashland, OR.

Sunday morning we all slept until a record 10:30am. (This was a huge victory for the Santa Monica Luskeys, who, in our old age, have difficulty sleeping past 7:55am.) Being the 4th of July, we made coffee and enjoyed some of our freedoms on the back porch; freedom to assemble, freedom of speech and other various civil liberties we were sure to appreciate. After a quick run into Walmart (so American of us, I know) we caught the final performance of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. A-MA-ZING: maybe the best performance(s) I have ever seen. Post-show it was time to get back to the house and get cookin'. And by cookin' I mean heat up the Velveta and RO*TEL tomatoes and get that queso a'flowin'! Dave christened the Lovgren's brand new grill with some delicious chicken and shrimp kabobs which we proceeded to dunk into the queso. Oops! :)


Sunday night was the best. We sat and talked for hours about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Dave and Alice were so wonderful to be with - I hope they were as serious as we were when we promised to make this an annual tradition. It's so nice to find another couple who you really enjoy the company of both members of the couple. How lucky we are that Dave and Brian have maintained such a special and close bond after all these years and that Alice and I seem to be long lost sisters.

Brian opening a wine bottle... :)

Playing Bananagrams - so much fun!

This weekend was a getaway I didn't realize I needed. A welcomed break from my ever planning brain and a time to relax and listen to the birds - literally. I knew I would enjoy my time in Ashland because of how special it was for Brian, but I had no idea the place it would quickly occupy in my heart and how returning would immediately be on my mind upon pulling out of the driveway.

So, as they say every year, "Next year in Ashland!"

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