A friend recently sold her home in tiny Jacksonville, Oregon. She and her husband are downsizing and moving north to be closer to her daughter. When she expressed concern about figuring out what to get rid of and how to pack it all up, I offered to help. She gladly accepted and we coordinated dates for me to fly up for a week of sorting, purging, packing and playing. (After all, all work and no play just isn’t an option).
She picked me up at the tiny airport in Medford … six gates and ONE luggage turnstile … and gave me a bit of a driving tour as we headed to her beautiful home overlooking the entire Rogue Valley.
I was gobsmacked! We drove through Jacksonville and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everything was positively idyllic. I even joked that it was a bit like Stepford (a reference to the movie, Stepford Wives). We laughed about how true my comment was.
For the next five days we enjoyed coffee and fresh pastries her husband picked up each morning from a local bakery. Each day we tackled a different room. We dug into cabinets, closets and every possible hiding place in her kitchen, dining room and bedroom, making tough decisions about what goes and what stays. We made a run to Goodwill, donated boxes of dishes to a niece and piled more items for another Goodwill run.
Her husband spent his days in his office, making his own tough decisions about books and memories. When he wasn’t packing his own boxes, he was bringing up piles of items from downstairs … more decisions.
But it wasn’t all work. By mid-day each day we threw on a light jacket and headed to a favorite restaurant or nearby destination. That’s when the true flavor of this charming location came through. The shops in Jacksonville are packed with fun, unique items that called to me. I picked out an adorable Lazy Susan to take home as a souvenir … and promptly realized it was too big for my small suitcase. Thank goodness The Carefree Buffalo offered shipping!
We called home and had her husband come meet us for drinks and dinner one night at their favorite restaurant, The Bella Union. A table out back offered shade under the thick canopy of vines supported by steel I-beams. Fountains softly gurgled as the waiter delivered icy cold cocktails. My pear martini is a local favorite since this is pear orchard country.
Over the weekend, we had a reservation at a local winery, Dancin Vineyards. A solid menu offered lunch choices including a delicious stone-fired pizza. We sipped and chatted and I marveled at the view under blue skies as the waitress described where the grapes from my wine grew.
“From the red barn to the road, right over there.” She pointed across the property to an adorable red barn just beyond rows and rows of perfectly laid out grape vines. It was all I could do not to swoon.
We found it impossible to choose a single dessert from the menu, so we just got one of each … it was indulgent and ridiculous and FUN!
The next morning we were back to the task at hand, but with our afternoons packed with a little more local sightseeing I left feeling rested and accomplished and filled with memories.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Having a local show you the secrets is a great way to explore it.
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