Booking a last minute trip meant that we didn't have a ton of hotel options in any of the towns directly on our trip. Ashland was booked solid, many of the coastal hotels had no vacancies, and we ran into a few "two night minimums" that didn't work with our schedule. Though it felt stressful, we ended up discovering some of the best spots I've ever been to. I already shared Tu Tu' Tun lodge in yesterday's post, and today I'm backtracking to our first night on the road in Jacksonville, Oregon. Having been to Ashland and Southern Oregon only once for a visit to see Ben's brother at Southern Oregon University, I am completely unfamiliar with the area. In googling places to stay, I discovered the tiny town of Jacksonville right outside of Medford and about 30 minutes Northwest of Ashland. It turned out to be a gem.
Jacksonville is a historic town that's well preserved. Gold was discovered in Rich Gulch near Jacksonville in 1850, and like any spot with gold, it was quickly settled. It became the biggest city in Oregon (originally called Table Rock City due to a mesa nearby) and was settled by pioneers coming west through the Rogue Valley. In the 1880s, a railroad bypassed the city and stopped, instead, in Medford. The population left over the next 50 years, but Jacksonville remains today as a relic of that era.
Jacksonville is now home to some wonderful Southern Oregon wineries and even has a few tasting rooms in town (which we happily visited). We stayed at the wonderful Elan Guest Suites right downtown that was decorated with local art and we were able to walk around, pick up some wine and salami for a picnic on the suite's porch which overlooked a backyard dotted with fruit trees. The town was extremely friendly and we struck up conversation with just about everyone we met. I'd highly recommend it as a stop for any history buff, B&B lovers, and wine lovers alike.