My friend Claudia and I have attended plays together for thirty-seven years. From the very first we knew the trip to Ashland was going to be an annual for us because she lives in California and I in Oregon and the quaint little village is about mid-way between Portland and San Francisco. When combined with the additional fact that the Oregon Shakespeare Company produces high calibre theatre, the trek makes a ‘perfect’ retreat for us to spend time together sipping cups of tea; reading; walking; listening to one another and offering sage support when we share what may be our newest or long- lived struggles.
The first three years
When attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival we stayed in a motel in Medford because Bed & Breakfast (B & B) inns in the village of Ashland were virtually non-existent.
When we finally decided we wanted to venture closer, the first time we stayed in the village was the year the Mark Anthony Hotel (now the Ashland Springs Hotel) was refurbished and reopened for business. It didn’t take much to quickly convince us that we could NEVER return to staying ‘outside the village’ when attending the festival. It’s just so convenient to arrive by car and then walk to shops, eateries and theatres until ready to return home.
The Lamb’s was one of the first B & B’s to open. Today the B & B is the accommodation cornerstone of Ashland and we have stayed at several over the years.
Finding Our Home
However, we found our ‘home’ when we found ‘enchantment pouring out of every door’ at Anne Hathaway’s B & B. The proprietors are so warm and welcoming, serve fabulous coffee and do NOT limit the number of refills (unlike one B & B in which we stayed), create delicious breakfast faire and set out afternoon snacks with hot tea! It is no wonder Anne Hathaway’s B & B enjoys year after year of returning guests!
Guests of Anne Hathaway’s find the atmosphere encourages mostly informed conversation enthusiastically peppered with approval or disapproval of the season’s play selection, costumes, production and cast performance. Occasionally actors drop by for a visit, which in our youth we found set our hearts aflutter especially since every season we ‘fell in love’ with one or more of the actors.
More Than Hosts
Through the years of staying at Anne’s we have developed a close kinship with the owners, Deedie and David Runkel with whom upon arrival we spend a little time catching up on the details of our lives. So you will understand when I tell you that last year I mentioned to Deedie that I had started my Hide A Heart business and Deedie immediately bought an ‘XOXO‘ heart to hide for David, saying “this makes perfect anniversary gifts that say I love you!”
As it happens, Deedie is a very active member of the community. Before I left last year I gave her an extra gift that says I love you adding hopefully that she, “may come across a local playwright or director who might find the idea of a love pocket token an intriguing bit of business to include in an OSF play production.”
When I made our reservations this year, Deedie mentioned that she had been thinking about how Hide A Heart might be added to the amenities offered, saying, “I love the idea of creating Romantic Scavenger Hunts for guests staying at Anne Hathaway’s.”
I brought with me a box full of hearts so she could select her favorite.
She chose the heart with the 17th Century Irish Claddagh symbol of Affection, Respect, Love and Loyalty with the story:
Anne Hathaway married Shakespeare in 1582. Sonnet 145 and said to be written for her, he began, “Those lips that Love’s own hands did make…” I am very happy to announce to all who travel to Ashland Oregon, as guests of Anne Hathaway’s B & B you will be invited to ‘find your heart‘ hidden somewhere in your room.
Let the Romantic Treasure Hunts begin!
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