Archive | March, 2012

Vesna svyashchennaya-The Rite of Spring

30 Mar

Since moving to the Willamette Valley are of Oregon we’ve encountered a number of passages or rites; upon arrival to the “new (old) house” we had the great flooding of 2012, with broken drain pipes in our basement, equally some flooding, easily abated (would have preferred a welcome basket from the neighbors, but no). Also, we found that over 80 percent of the house was active, functioning knob and tube wiring; you know, the old cloth-covered wiring that lights up if you look at it wrong and is usually the top related story on the 6 o’clock news: “Another craftsman home goes up in flames this afternoon, faulty wiring is being investigated”. Not this baby. We recently had the house wiring cut out and rewired with grounded, new wiring and the electrical panel upgraded from the antiquated 100 amp service to a 200 amp with additional meter move to the front/side of the house..again no welcome basket with teas and biscuits, or hand wrapped loaves of banana bread….it’s okay. we know how to bake.

So, in lieu of all the “bad” that’s been happening since we got here, I wanted to take a moment for all the crazy good we’ve encountered too. Every day, I seem to find something charming, or an added feature for coming to this area-Downtown is a three block walk, as is the post office, the City Hall, the Willamette River, the chiropractor, a huge farmer’s market, the optometrist & family physician, etc. Being that we are across from a historic home & park that features a huge creek that flows within a block of our place helps, it’s like having a heavily wooded front lawn….daily dog walks are met with anticipation by myself and Max the dog. 

New fencing and windows have gone in; in regards to the fencing, we had the 80 year old, mis-managed box hedges torn out, they were overgrown and not cared for in the last 10 or so years. A three foot, iron look aluminum fence with gate was installed this week; we feel that being the smallest looking house on the block needed a more balanced fence, here’s a few pics-

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facing Bush’s Pasture Park, and;

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looking W-SW down Mission Street.

 

Also, with the electrical finished in the house, I’ve had time to compete the Great Room. We removed three windows; only in the sense that at one time they were made of glass. At some point, someone had removed the original double hung sashes and installed single light panes of glass, basically hermetically sealing the room in from dust, noise, and air. Crazy, I know. So, with the help of the good fellas at Pella Windows, we designed the following;

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This takes the place of a two-window opening. The center light opens out in an awning style. Across the room, on either side of the fireplace we did a similar window; 

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The new windows offer privacy, and noise reduction, better insulation, due to the triple pane construction. What I also liked about this project was the City offered a tool-box grant of $1000 for exterior home improvement. It will take a little off the bill, but am just happy that these are done. The Great Room is nearly finished, we are awaiting two chairs to arrive from an order placed in February. Room by room this house is returning to a functional aesthetic. Our neighbors are happy that someone is doing something to the property, at all. Look out for a four-color exterior paint job if we ever get a dry spell around here.

 

On daily dog walks with Max, I’ve noticed that on an island under the Pringle Creek is an ever changing gallery of art…not sure if it’s the device of someone living under the bridge (wouldn’t the Mayor be happy to hear that?), or passersby having a bit of fun with the local media, but check this out-

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This changes whenever the Creek is running lower than usual. The salmon usually make it to the Church Street bridge, where I found this, but may have been a tribute to assist them in their annual spawning.

 

As I was saying, everyday I find something new and charming about this place. Even the pop up of spring flowers, bulbs and buds on everything, even with the record rain and snow falls we’ve had for March-

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Around every corner, you’ll find vignettes like this heralding the arriving spring. Enjoy your day! xo

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Ashland Springs Hotel

26 Mar

A stay at the Ashland Springs Hotel is comfort & service only usually found in better European hotels, anticipated needs are met from the moment you enter the beautifully appointed and dramatic, two-story lobby-smiles abound from genuinely happy staff, only eager to make your stay the absolute best, whether you’re in for a quick overnight stay, a weekend event, or longer.

My journey began with an invitation to cover the recent 8th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, held at the hotel, http://www.ashlandspringshotel.com/12-oregon-chocolate-festival.php . I arrived at the hotel a little early from my drive down from the Willamette Valley are of Oregon, to the north. Check in parking is on the street-

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photo courtesy of Jared Hail

Once you’ve registered, there is a parking area to the right & behind the hotel, with 24-hour security access to rooms.

Check in is a breeze; questions answered regarding continental breakfast location and times, elevators and stairs, event locations within the hotel and concierge information, should you need it.  The Ashland Springs is a pretty easy hotel to navigate; featuring Lark’s Home Kitchen Cuisine restaurant adjacent to the lobby. This is where you’ll find a daily complimentary continental breakfast, in addition to offerings for lunch and dinner throughout the week. I stopped in for lunch of a Caesar Salad and Mac & Cheese. With an iced tea it was a delightful way to pass some time in the company of the “ladies who lunch” who seemed to have dominated the restaurant that day.

The room is well furnished and shows off the mountains this town is nestled into. Large windows face over the main street, offering views in many directions. Drapes with black out curtains assist with darking the room when you’re ready to retire. Speaking of which, I am an advocate for naps. If you have the time, scratch that….make the time to take a half an hour before unpacking and take a nap in the bed. The firm, but overstuffed mattress, coupled with higher threadcount sheets absolutely beckons for a rejuvenation of body and soul. Each room come with a lavender sachet on the bed, to be used in your bath..fragrant enough not to overpower your bed time, it does leave a lingering aroma in the room. Image

With nap time over, unpacking and orienting yourself in the room is so much easier. Ample closet holds robes, iron and board, hairdryer, luggage rack and in-house hangers for your garments. There is a writing desk at the entry, with enough electrical outlets to satisfy any techno junkie. Yes, there is an armoire with TV, but while you’re in Ashland, with so many things to see and do, do you really need it? I kept it off and closed for my stay.

The bathroom is close to a religious experience. Vintage look tiles, sink and tub are lit by more than adequate lighting, but (in most rooms) one or two huge windows that feature pull-down shades in addition to the privacy glass, and a full mirror with shelves for your toiletries. Gilcrest & Soames beautiful soaps, shampoos and conditioners are standard amenities for this hotel.

A bit of history on the Ashland Springs Hotel-Originally built and named the Lithia Springs Hotel, this beauty opened its doors in 1925, and until recently was named the Mark Antony. The Ashland Springs Hotel officially opened its doors in December of 2000, after an extensive restoration of guest rooms, lobby and restaurant. More can be read at http://www.ashlandspringshotel.com/pdf/Spring%2005%20Article.pdf