Nestled in a fertile valley between the Cascade Range and the Coast Range in Southern Oregon, the Rogue Valley boasts a myriad of attractions ranging from sport fishing to live Shakespeare performances. The Valley is home to Medford, just 30 miles north of the California border. Surrounding this industrial and medical center is a collection of smaller towns full of unique local flavors. Jacksonville was a major hub during the Gold Rush of the 1840s and 50s. Beautifully maintained, Jacksonville remains a must-see for all history lovers, bringing the Wild West back to life. Ashland, with a quaint Main Street strip and the beautiful Lithia Park, is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which draws viewers from all over the globe. Theater is a major part of the culture of the southern end of the valley, with smaller theater groups such as the Oregon Cabaret in Ashland, and the Randall and Camelot theater companies in Medford and Talent, performing live all year round, as well as various organizations for youth such as the Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts. Music is also an important part of the culture of the Rogue Valley. The Britt Festival in Jacksonville is a large outdoor music festival that brings headliners such as REO Speedwagon and Cyndi Lauper, in addition to a classical music series, to Southern Oregon. Medford hosts the Jazz Jubilee every spring, as well as housing two large adult choirs and four regional youth choirs, as well as both adult and youth symphonies.
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Beyond the towns lie vast reaches of wilderness. Within the reach of an easy drive are many great fishing and hiking destinations. Woodland lakes, both natural and man-made, boast excellent fishing for both bass and trout. Hyatt and Howard Prairie lake are both excellent bass fishing spots, as well as Lake of the Woods and the not so creatively, but tellingly named, Fish Lake. A slightly longer drive brings you to Klamath Lake. Klamath Lake is one of the largest lakes in the world, housing a bird sanctuary and miles of canoe and kayak trails. The Rogue River, which gives the valley its name, is one of the best salmon fishing destinations south of Alaska. Beyond fishing, the Rogue Valley also promises fun outdoor adventures. With Mt. Shasta and Mt. McLaughlin within easy reach, and Mt. Ashland right in the valley itself, the winter abounds with opportunities for skiiers, snowboarders and sledders alike. In the summer, these same mountains offer fun hiking and biking opportunities. The way that the nature of the Rogue Valley interacts with the people and the towns of the Rogue Valley is really what makes it special. No matter where you are in the Valley—at a Shakespeare performance in the outdoor Elizabethan Theater, sitting on the hill at Britt, picnicking in one of the beautiful parks, or barbequing in a friend’s backyard, the beauty of the Valley is inescapable. No matter which direction you turn, the view of rolling hills meeting tall forested mountains is breathtaking, setting a perfect backdrop for the joy of life in the Rogue Valley.
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