Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites:A Journey to Southern Oregon

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mr chips
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2009/03/17 11:20:41 (permalink)

Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites:A Journey to Southern Oregon

 In October, the Chips family visited southern Oregon to see roadfood buddy Bill Voss, see the outdoor season ending Shakespeare play "The Comedy of Errors" and visit Oregon Caves National Monument. We had some trouble posting photos and did not have photos of some of the best parts of the trip but I have waited to see what we do have to post an account. Since it is now 6 months past, I figure I better get this info out now.
  Day one began with an afterwork and mostly after dark drive to Roseburg, Oregon. Along the way we stopped at the roadfood wonder, Novack's, in Albany, Oregon. Novack's is located in a  strip shopping center along with a Safeway, a Target and and Joe's. It's location is not auspicious but the food is otherworldly. The bakery features Eastern -European pasreies that are to die for, the restaurant Hungarian fare including, sausages, goulash, paprika chicken. The founder is 80 and is at the place all the time but cooking is now supervised by his daughter and grand daughter. The quality is high and this place is a must stop on the I-5 trail. I also love the breakfast here. Trudy and I met Ed Sails at this place when he visited oregon last year.
post edited by mr chips - 2009/04/13 10:05:06
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/17 11:23:34 (permalink)
    Good start mr chips.  Looking forward to the rest!  I really love Hungarian restaurants and Eastern European bakeries.  Is there a large Hungarian community in Roseburg?
    #2
    mr chips
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/18 01:34:49 (permalink)
    There is not much of a Hungarian community in Oregon. Mr. Novack left after the 1956 rebellion and found his way to Albany, Oregon after that. The place is an anomaly but Trudy, Sam and i try to stop there on all visits to southern oregon or Eugene. The breakfasts are sensational as well. I've not had too many of the bakery goods as I have always been so stuffed I don't eat dessert. I think this is one of the great finds I have ever made and I hope roadfooders driving the I-5 corridor will make the stop .
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    mr chips
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/19 12:16:42 (permalink)
    Day 2 of our journey began with a drive from Roseburg to Oregon Caves National Monument near Cave Junction,  Oregon. The last ten miles of the drive are a series of sweeping curves around a mountain with stunning views of the Siskiyou Range.
      The caves themselves are a spectacular series of caverns with stalactites, stalagmites and columns galore. There are 550 steps, the passageways are very narrow and very wet, and it can feel somewhat constrictive. Trudy had not been very eager to go anyway and when the opportunity to bail-out was offered, she eagerly took it and retired to the on-site resort coffee shop to await Sam's and my return. Unfortunately, she took the camera with her so there are no photos of the most spectacular sights. Sam and I thoroughly enjoyed the views though the 500 foot incline at the end of the tour caused me to slow down considerably. The National Park service now gives the tour so it is long on historical and geologic info and short on the cheesy lighting effects. It was my first visit in over 30 years and it was as beautiful as I remembered.
     Trudy was refreshed and drove the next part of our journey. Eagle eye Sam spotted a Sonic in Grants Pass and because it was after 2 p.m.,we knew it was half-price drink time. We got our slushies and flavored ice teas and made a lucky wrong turn. We drove the back highway to Medford past wineries, llama farms and other sights, much more enjoyable than the freeway drive. Bill had been advising us to do this for a while and I am glad we got the opportunity to do so.
    #4
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/19 13:10:27 (permalink)
    Do you have winery/llama farm pictures? 
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/19 13:12:42 (permalink)
    Mr Chips

    I look forward to the day when I get to meet you and the family.

    This trip sounds like it was a great family getaway. 

    In my younger days I loved spelunking and the limestone of Indiana/KY makes great caves.

    Now I would probably join Trudy in the coffee shop. 

    Thanks for sharing your adventure
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/19 14:03:50 (permalink)
    mr chips-
    I sure hope Bill Voss appreciates the fact that he is getting a higher billing on the thread title than Shakespeare!!!

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    mr chips
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/19 18:04:37 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    Do you have winery/llama farm pictures? 


    Unfortunately, no. But we will be in Ashland again and we will take pictures this time.
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    mr chips
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/25 11:17:10 (permalink)
    After spending the early part of the day at Oregon Caves, the Chips family spent late afternoon at a couple roadfood stops.
          The Rogue Valley Creamery in Central Point, Oregon is one of the first places in southern Oregon to produce designer  and its smokey bleu cheeses is one of the best I have ever tasted. It was a featured stop in Rachel Ray's trip to the Rogue Valley. The best thing about it is the free samples of the various cheeses and curds. The bleu cheeses are exceptional. The staff are whimsical, helpful and very knowledgeable. We bought some bleu cheese and snacked on it for the weekend. For a foodie, this is heaven.
           Next door to the creamery is the Lily Belle Chocolate shop, a wonderful place whose chocolatier is charismatic, funny and skilled. The product presentation is excellent and the quality high. We bought a mini-box of 6 mini-treats with my favorite being a chocolate pear.
           We met Bill and his s.o. that evening at Carpenter's Hall near the Shakespeare festival. The cold weather moved the musical show indoors and featured an ensemble of musicians playing jazz tunes based on the Indian rhythms of the festival play "The Clay Cart". It sounded a lot to me like the music played during NPR pledge week and I half-expected to hear a plea for money at every song break. Sam thought the music boring and it was more bland than I like but it was fun too see Bill and friend Janey. We adjourned to the Winchester Inn, a classy place that usually serves a locavore plate fixe. It did not have one that night so we ate pasta, salads that were well prepared and presented.

    post edited by mr chips - 2009/04/09 11:09:46
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/25 15:03:20 (permalink)
    That sounds absolutely lovely.
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    mar52
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/25 15:18:58 (permalink)
    Isn't Oregon beautiful?

    I had the best Marion Berry Scones I've ever had in Roseburg.

    There was a hotel/bakery with a windmill and that's where I had them.  Every time I passed through over a few years time I'd have to make that stop.
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    mr chips
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/28 11:43:59 (permalink)
    Day 3 of our journey began with breakfast at the Black Bear Diner across from our hotel in Medord. This is a chain of about 40 places in Oregon,Washington, northern California,Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. The breakfasts are American standards, plentiful and filling. The chain saw wood  sculptures of bears are a little much. It's not a place I would go out of my way for but it was a hearty breakfast and a good way to start the day.
         Bill was plying his wares at a show at the Medford National Guard Armory where we visited with him briefly and Sam fell in love with some of the Wild West stuff available for sale. We left Bill to his work and drove to the nearby town of Jacksonville for a visit. Jacksonville was where the first gold strikes in southern Oregon occurred and it was the original county seat. Miscalculations by the town elite in their negotiations with the railroad led the rail guys to build the city of Medford and bypass Jacksonville entirely. The town never completely died and the downtown was not redeveloped so most of the old buildings remain They are now antique stores and upscale restaurants instead of general stores and saloons. Sam walked with me while I pontificated on western history and he only made fun of me a little.
          We drove to our hotel in Ashland and stopped at a Bill Voss recommended taco truck in South Medford called Tacos de Michel. the tacos were good but the highlight for me was a seafood stew of shrimp, crab and various fish, spiced with green peppers, served with small bits of tortilla and crackers. A hearty flavor and a great experience. Before meeting Bill for dinner, we had a marvelous wildlife experience at our downtown motel. While walking to our car, we watched a herd of deer cross a vacant lot and settle into the front yard and driveway of an adjacent house. They chowed down on grass and shrubs as  my family watched in wonder. 
        Dinner with Bill was at La Tapatia, a Mexican grocery , butcher shop and restaurant in nearby Phoenix.My relleno was battered and fried to perfection, Bill's stew could have fed a family of four for a week. It is a great spot and worth a visit.
     The evening was spent at the outdoor theater of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where we saw the season ending production of "The Comedy of Errors" it was unspeakably cold(low 30's) so blanket rental was essential. The play itself is one of Shakespeare's lesser work, featuring a plot of mistaken identities with less sophistication than most "I Love Lucy" episodes. Directors feel free to play with the format and settings and I have seen versions set in New Orleans, Nantucket, and upstate New York. This version was set in the American West and presented with musical numbers written by one of the acting company. Dialogue was also altered. It was fun but not my cup of tea.
         At the end of each outdoor season, there is a closing ceremony. The entire company encircles the theater and hold  lighted candles. An actor recites the "Our Revels now are ended "speech and the candles are blown out in unison and the outdoor season is over. It is simple and moving and I had always wanted to see it. My thanks to Trudy and Sam for coming with me
    post edited by mr chips - 2009/03/28 19:38:41
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    mr chips
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/28 23:18:06 (permalink)
    The conclusion to our trip on day 4 began with breakfast with Bill at the Wild Goose in Ashland. I had what I usually have, fried oysters and marionberry muffins, a sybaritic combination of Oregon delights that I find irresistible. The artist whose work hangs in the cafe was our waitress  and Trudy was so wowed by a portrait of an African child that she bought it. It was a pleasure meeting the artist whose work brought us so much pleasure.
          We said our good-byes to Bill and made the leisurely drive home. We lunched at Los Cabos Mexican cafe in Creswell and ate rather good tacos and burritos. 
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    Greymo
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/03/28 23:33:21 (permalink)
    This has been fun to read.  I enjoy your posts very much.  You write about an area that I have just been through twice so it is great learning more about what is offered here.
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    mr chips
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/04/09 11:15:59 (permalink)
    I've said this before but it bears repeating: my family's visits to southern oregon have been much more enjoyable since roadfood introduced me to Bill Voss. Bill got us out of the downtown Ashland isolation and introduced us to the varied splendors of the surrounding Rogue Valley as well as giving us tips on marvelous places to eat. Anyone visiting the area should contact Bill who will improve any visit. Thanks again , Bill.
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    1bbqboy
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    Re:Bill Voss, Shakespeare and Stalagmites 2009/04/10 20:49:57 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    mr chips-
    I sure hope Bill Voss appreciates the fact that he is getting a higher billing on the thread title than Shakespeare!!!



    At least I'm still alive. I think. Besides, I don't think Mr. Shakespeare liked mexican food. 
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