july into august

Crater Lake – Photo by Charles Noble

This past week I’ve been on a badly-needed vacation to southern Oregon. My fiancé and I went to the Ashland area, and had a wonderful time visiting Crater Lake, wine tasting, walking around the town, and enjoying our time away from everyday life. The fact that our lodging was in the middle of the forest without television also didn’t hurt. Here are a few places that we loved, that you might want to try on your next visit:

  • Green Springs Inn and Cabins – About a half hour east of Ashland (and up a winding, twisty, and sometimes exposed Hwy 66), but it’s in the forest and there are chickens, a good restaurant, and plenty of peace and quiet (until the roosters fire up). The lodge rooms are simple and spacious, the cabins are the size of small houses, several with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Wooldridge Creek Winery – If you like wine tasting that features delicious wines, great views, and wonderful patio, and house made cheeses and cured meats to go with, this is another place you cannot miss. It’s about 30 minutes past Jacksonville in the Applegate Valley, on the way to Grants Pass from the south.
  • Noble Coffee – Yes, I like the name, but even more I like the quality of the coffee that they put out here at their roastery and cafe. Nice ambiance inside, off the main drag and away from the OSF crowds, it’s an oasis.

This week is going to be spent getting reacquainted with the viola (despite my guilty conscience, I refused to bring the viola with me – that is the way one ruins a vacation!) and getting some final preparation done for my concerts at the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival. Last year was pretty intense – I had three works with piano – two piano quartets, and one piano quintet – all of which were major works. This year, it’s a bit less so (although I usually regret making such predictions, especially on the side favoring ease). I’m playing a relatively rare work for piano quartet by Franz Schubert, his Adagio and Rondo Concertante, D. 487; the wonderful Mozart Horn Quintet, K. 407; and Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4.

I’m hoping to have time to do a wrap-up after Methow, then it’s just a very quick turnaround to head out to Sunriver for the Sunriver Music Festival.

news dear to a violist’s heart…

Just saw this over at the Exploration of Portland Food and Drink blog, then read the story at WWeek – the South Park Block #5 will have a new restaurant built over part of it – called – VIOLA (!)  Wonder if they’ll have special prices for all the violists in town…

Here’s a brief excerpt from the WW article, and Beliakoff is owner of the well-regarded restaurant Roux.

Beliakoff, in a Willamette Week exclusive, says in April of 2009 he will open a cafe, called Viola (named for the stringed instrument, not the plant), in a jewel-box sized space in the upper southwest corner of the new park.

right coast softening?

We’ve been out in New York City the past few days (now we’re very briefly upstate) and I’ve been pretty surprised by what a nice city it’s become in the ten years since I really spent any time there. Some of this may be accounted for by the fact that I’m less of a scaredy-cat traveller than I used to be, but I think the psyche of the City has fundamentally changed since then, too. Some of my New York friends think it has to do largely with the shock of 9/11, and that makes sense to me. Whatever the cause, I actually think that New York is a warmer, friendlier place to visit than Portland. Continue reading “right coast softening?”