Celebrate! It’s our ONE YEAR blog anniversary!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! It’s our ONE YEAR blog anniversary!

“So what’s the big deal?” This is our 247th blog posting! Please take some time to take a trip back through our past posts and visit our year 2013 in review blog.

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland, OR w/Joshwilltravel:  www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

TRAVEL ALERT! Who ya gonna call?

The Polar Vortex that has caused such tremendous trouble for travelers this week is a great reminder to always book your trip with a professional Travel Agent!

Bad weather? Missed Flight? Travel Emergency? Who ya gonna to call?

Bad weather? Missed Flight? Travel Emergency? Who ya gonna to call?

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel
TWEET ME: www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel
READ MY BLOG: www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com
NEW FB PAGE: www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

“TRAVEL ASSIGNMENTS” in 2018!

“TRAVEL ASSIGNMENTS” in 2018!

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Contact us for all your travel planning!

NOTE: We are no longer a “Travel Agent” and we do not sell travel at this time.

We are currently available for “Travel Assignments” in 2018
and can be contacted here:

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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**Goodbye 2013! Hello 2014!** – My Year in Review.

Happy Holidays!  Season’s Greetings!  Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!

Mr C. Hotel - Beverly Hills (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Happy New Year!  The Champagne is Chilling! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Another year in the history books, and since it’s my blog, here’s my past year in review.     (RIGHT CLICK the links and OPEN A NEW WINDOW to read my blog stories and see more pictures from each event!)

In December 2012, we got a new Cavachon puppy, so all year long it was the Year of the “Little Fuzz Ball”, as she grew up, was loved, learned to be good dog, caused (mostly minor) trouble, and was just plain adorable everyday!

My new puppy - 10 weeks old

My new puppy the “Little Fuzz Ball” – She’s 10 weeks old here and just too cute for words! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

January – New Year’s Eve 2013: I kicked the new year off with a champagne toast at the annual New Years Eve Party with a few old friends in Burbank, California!

Champagne Toast - New Years Eve 2012-2013

Champagne Toast – New Years Eve 2012-2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

January 11th – I saw a shooting star! I was outside and looked up at the clear night sky and thought “Gee, it would really be cool to see a shooting star”. And as if on cue, the most amazing shooting star I have ever seen came blazing from the heavens exactly where I was looking.  It was awesome and it kind of freaked me out too.

January Trip to Ashland, Oregon https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/my-january-trip-to-ashland-oregon/

Leaving on a (prop) jet plane!  Since this is a travel blog, I’m going to share my travel experiences from the past year.  Horizon Air – Alaska Air (codeshare) LAX to Medford, Oregon for a winter visit.  There was a little snow in the morning the first day I was there.

Horizon Air - Alaska Airlines at LAX (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Horizon Air – Alaska Airlines at LAX (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland, Oregon Visitor's Map

Ashland, Oregon Visitor’s Map – https://www.facebook.com/theatreinashland 

Lithia Park - Ashland Creek - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland Creek – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland is incredibly beautiful in the winter.  The Oregon Shakespeare Festival runs February to November, so in December and January it’s relatively “tourist free”.

To kick off the New Year in 2014, I’m officially launching my new facebook page Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel: Visit https://www.facebook.com/theatreinashland for more info!

FebruaryBIG NEWS! NEW JOB. 

Travel Advisor, Independent Travel Consultant & Travel Agent

I spent most of this year learning the travel business, working, meeting new people, making new contacts, traveling, and enjoying my new career and all the wonderful perks!

Launched the JoshWillTravel brand and started this BLOG in February 2012!

email: joshwilltravel@yahoo.com http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel – http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

From February until July, I posted a regular “Pic of the Day” featured photo on my blog daily, please look back and see them in my older posts!

Trade Day at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/trade-day-at-the-la-times-travel-show-2013/

Los Angeles Times Travel Show 2013 at the L.A. Convention Center

Los Angeles Times Travel Show in February 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Badges?  We don't need no....oh, yes you do!

Badges? We don’t need no….oh, yes you do!

Mom’s 70th Birthday Party at the house in Bel Air

Skyline - Century City and Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Skyline view from Bel Air – Century City and Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California
(copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I baked a cheesecake! Grandma's Cherry Cheesecake (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I baked a cheesecake! Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A private performance by Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A private musical performance by Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys in the living room (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

March – A month of education that continued throughout the year: The Willett Travel Academy winter class of 2013 three nights a week, continuous online learning and webinar training, a lot of reading, and events and seminars to increase my industry and product knowledge.  I studied hard and earned special Travel Specialist designations with many of our suppliers, vendors, and other travel partners this year. RIGHT CLICK to see my new credentials: https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/about/im-a-travel-agent-luxury-travel-advisor-independent-travel-consultant/

AprilOpening night of “Assisted Living” at the Odyssey Theater and dinner at Nan Ban Kan in West Los Angeles  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/dinner-show-nan-ban-kan-assisted-living-opening-night-odyssey-theater/

"Assisted Living" starring Paul Dooley & Winnie Holzman

“Assisted Living” starring Paul Dooley & Winnie Holzman

The Hollywood Expo (Hollywood Chamber of Commerce) at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/tuesday-night-at-the-hollywood-expo-in-hollywood/

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel - Hollywood, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Hollywood, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Blvd  Darth Vader, an Imperial Stormtrooper and Bumblebee the Transformer on The Walk of Fame in front of the Chinese Theater and the Disney El Capitan Marquee (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Blvd – Darth Vader, an Imperial Stormtrooper, & Bumblebee the Transformer on The Walk of Fame in front of the Chinese Theater and the Disney El Capitan Marquee (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I also attended great Hollywood Chamber of Commerce events at Fabiolus Restaurant in Hollywood, Spoonful Restaurant in Universal City, and the Infusion Lounge at Universal Citywalk in 2013.

Fabiolus, Cucina Italiana Verona - Hollywood, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Fabiolus, Cucina Italiana Verona – Hollywood, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Infusion Lounge at Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Return to the Paramount Ranch in Agoura, California https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/return-to-paramount-ranch-01-apr-13-part-1-western-town/

Paramount Ranch Park - Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch Park – Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch - Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch – Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A trip to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, California to see old friends.

Old Friends at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Old Friends at the Renaissance Faire in Irwindale (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and The Brewery Art Walk in Downtown Los Angeles  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/pic-of-the-day-29-apr-13-brewery-art-walk-downtown-los-angeles/

The Brewery Art Walk in Downtown Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Brewery Art Walk in Downtown Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“A Comfortable Skin” Multimedia Art by Kristine Schomaker: www.kristineschomaker.net

Brewery Art Walk - Downtown Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Brewery Art Walk – Downtown Los Angeles  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MayWillett Travel Academy Graduation Celebration at The Six in Studio City  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/celebration-at-the-six-restaurant-in-studio-city/  Six of us graduated, and at the end of the year only two remain (myself and Lena).

Celebration at THE SIX - Studio City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Graduation Celebration at THE SIX – Studio City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to San Jose – Ann’s Birthday and UC Santa Cruz Friends Reunion https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/do-you-know-the-way-to-san-jose-reunion-roadtrip/

(copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Do you know the way to San Jose?  Road Trip! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Annie's Birthday Cake! Santa Cruz Gang Reunion Party!

Annie’s Birthday Cake! Santa Cruz Gang Reunion Party!

Santa Cruz Gang Reunion 2013

Santa Cruz Gang Reunion 2013

My 30th High School Reunion at the Oakwood School in North Hollywood.

The Oakwood School 30th High School Reunion

The Oakwood School Reunion in North Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

the Southern California Hotel and Lodging Conference in the City of Industry at the Palm Pacific Hotel Resort  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/trade-show-time-socal-hotel-and-lodging-conference-at-the-palm-pacific-hotel-resort/

Pacific Palm Hotel Resort (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Palm Hotel Resort (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and Memorial Day Weekend  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/pic-of-the-day-27-may-13-san-fernando-valley-sunset-memorial-day-2013/

Memorial Day 2013 - Sunset in the San Fernando Valley (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Memorial Day 2013 – San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

JuneThe L.A. WineFest at Raleigh Studios https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/la-winefest-2013-in-hollywood/

Wearing the Hawaiian Shirt & Panama Hat! Working our table at the LA WineFest in Hollywood 2013. (Thanks Debrah!)

Wearing the Hawaiian Shirt & Panama Hat!
Working our table at the LA WineFest in Hollywood 2013. (Thanks Debrah!)

A Good Week in June!

Lunch at the Four Seasons Westlake Village https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/pic-of-the-day-13-jun-13-four-seasons-westlake-village/

Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Limo trip and Private Gulfstream 4 Jet at Santa Monica Municipal Airport https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/who-else-needs-a-limo-and-a-private-gulfstream-g-4-jet/

(copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Black Limosine and a Gulfstream 4 Private Jet at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

the Art Party in Beverly Hills  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/saturday-evening-at-the-art-party-in-beverly-hills/

The Art Party In Beverly Hills (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Art Party In Beverly Hills (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

T.H.O.R. Reception at the Mr. C Hotel in West Los Angeles  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/pic-of-the-day-20-jun-13-mr-cs-hotel/

Mr. C's Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Mr. C Hotel in West Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and Opening night of “Absolutely Filthy” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/pic-of-the-day-21-jun-3-friday-night-at-the-formosa-cafe/

Friday Night at the Formosa Cafe

Friday Night at the Formosa Cafe in Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Best Play I Saw This Year: “Absolutely Filthy” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Other notable Theater Perfomances this year: “Dreamgirls”, “Our Class”, “Assisted Living” at small theaters in L.A. and “The Liquid Plain” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

JulyRoad Trip to San Jose, Santa Cruz, Pacifica, San Francisco and Ashland 

This Old House, Santa Cruz, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

This Old House, Santa Cruz, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon

Rogue Valley, Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

August – GBTA 2013 (Global Business Travel Association) convention in San Diego

Global Business Travel Association Convention 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Global Business Travel Association Convention 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Petco Park from above - San Diego, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Petco Park from Altitude Lounge – San Diego, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

GBTA 2013 - The Gaslamp District in San Diego (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

GBTA 2013 – The Gaslamp District in San Diego (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

GBTA 2013 – Monday’s Keynote Speaker: Jewel performs “Who Will Save Your Soul” live at the San Diego Convention Center https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=703198789706690&set=vb.337421319696080&type=2&theater (facebook video)

Eagle and Badge Foundation “Summerfest” at the Los Angeles Police Academy

Los Angeles Police Academy - Elysian Park, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Police Academy – Elysian Park, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

SoCal ASTA (American Society if Travel Agents) Premium Luxury Symposium and Showcase at the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel

ASTA-Logo

ASTA - Luxury at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California - Owner's Panel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

ASTA Luxury Symposium at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA – Owner’s Panel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

My Birthday Dinner at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica (the best and most expensive meal of the year) https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/dinner-at-melisse/

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!  Dinner at Melisse! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Other notable meals: Dinner at Mozza Osteria in Hollywood, Dinner at Beazy’s on the Creek in Ashland, Birthday Dinner at Arnie Morton’s, Sushi at Sushi Ichiban Kan and Okumura Sushi in the San Fernando Valley, Lunch at the Four Season’s Westlake Village and On Sunset at the LUXE on Sunset, Brunch at Bistro Gardens, and many great buffets and food presentations at the wonderful hotel events I attended this year (read about them and see the pictures in my previous blogs).  The “worst meal of the year” loser award goes to the dinner at the MGM Grand Buffet in Las Vegas, everything was overcooked and underseasoned.

I also attended a couple of great Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl this summer.

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl - Hollywood, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – Hollywood, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Here are video samples (but you might have to be my friend on facebook to see them):

Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot at the Hollywood Bowl 20-August-2013 with members of the L.A. Philharmonic and the Klezmer Conservatory Band perform A Yiddishe Mama (A Jewish Mother) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=712946625398573&set=vb.100000497266600&type=3&theater

Overture! Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart performed live at the Hollywood Bowl by the L.A. Philharmonic 03-September-2013 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=721038357922733&set=vb.100000497266600&type=3&theater

Hollywood Bowl 20-AUG-13 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl 20-AUG-13 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

SeptemberI sold my car and got a brand new motor vehicle! Then I drove it to LTX (the Luxury Travel Exchange) at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/luxury-travel-exchange-ltx-trade-show-in-las-vegas/

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

October The ARTA 50th Anniversay Gala Dinner at the Radisson LAX  https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/arta-50th-anniversary-gala-dinner/

ARTA 50th Anniversary Party (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

ARTA 50th Anniversary Party (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The 90th Anniversary Party at the Millenium Biltmore in Downtown Los Angeles!   https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/the-90th-party-at-the-millennium-biltmore-hotel-in-downtown-los-angeles/

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The best hotel party event of the year!  Dress in Black or White or Roaring 20’s.

and LWH Hotels presents “The Art of Hospitality” at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/the-art-of-hospitality-lwh-hotels-event-at-the-luxe-hotel-on-sunset/

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“The Art of Hospitality” at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

November – Dinner at El Torito Grill in Torrance courtesy of AeroMexico, CostaBaja Resort, and La Paz, Mexico. I won a trip to the Sea of Cortez! https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/thank-you-aeromexico-costabaja-and-la-paz/

AeroMexico and La Paz dinner: I won a trip to Mexico at the CostaBaja Resort!

AeroMexico and La Paz dinner: I won a trip to Mexico at the CostaBaja Resort!

I also won hotel stays in Tempe, Arizona and Lake Tahoe, California this past year, so look for new blogs about the upcoming trips here next year.

Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/signature-sales-meeting-and-trade-show-at-the-mgm-grand-in-las-vegas/

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and One Night at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

The view from the 36th floor at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshwillTravel)

The view from my room onthe 36th floor at the Rio All-Suites Hotel in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshwillTravel)

and a Party at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/party-at-the-intercontinental-hotel-20-nov-13/

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Family Thanksgiving! (and Hannukah 2013)  Family, friends, football and a feast!

Thanksgiving 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Finally got an iPhone!  Please note the improved picture quality.

December

GO BRONCOS!  It was a great year to be a Denver Broncos fan because it was a great year for the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning!

GO BRONCOS!

GO BRONCOS!  www.denverbroncos.com

The Broncos clinched the AFC West Division with 13 wins, 3 losses and broke a new record every week including the record for the NFL’s highest scoring team during the regular season.  Peyton Manning has thrown a touchdown pass in 39 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL.  https://www.facebook.com/DenverBroncos

Frank & Diane’s Annual Christmas Cocktail Party in Hawthorne

Christmas Cocktail Party in Hawthorne, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Christmas Cocktail Party in Hawthorne, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Christmas Cocktail Party Video (but you probably have to be my friend on facebook):  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=788317794528122&set=vb.100000497266600&type=3&theater

The Holiday Party at Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Secret Santa at the office holiday party! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Secret Santa at the office holiday party! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Holiday Mansion Party in the hills of Los Angeles!

The Scene of the Crime!  Holiday Mansion Party in the hill of Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Scene of the Crime! Holiday Mansion Party!  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Holiday Mansion Party - Los Angeles, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Holiday Mansion Party – Los Angeles, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and a wonderful Christmas Dinner with a few old friends to celebrate the holiday.

Christmas Dinner: egg nog and bourbon, cheese and crackers, NY Steak roast, carved duck with cranberry sauce, potato and carrots, rice, green beans and red onions, biscuits, homemade apple pie, champagne and Martinelli's carbonated apple-cranberry juice

Christmas Dinner: egg nog, cheese & crackers, NY Steak roast, carved duck with cranberry sauce, potato & carrots, rice, green beans & red onions, biscuits, homemade apple pie, champagne, and Martinelli’s carbonated apple-cranberry juice

It was a good year!  A toast to all my friends and readers!  Wishing you and yours safe travel and a happy, healthy, and wonderful new year in 2014!

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“Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents.” ― William Shakespeare

p.s. She had a good year too!

My puppy the "Little Fuzz Ball" - 15 months old and still too cute for words!

My puppy the “Little Fuzz Ball” – Now 15 months old and still too cute for words!

 http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel – http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

“Your Travel is My Business!”

Joshua Weisel (aka JoshWillTravel)

Luxury Travel Advisor 

Travel & Lifestyle Writer

joshwilltravel@yahoo.com

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

twitter: http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

SNG CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL ADVOCATE

SNG CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL ADVOCATE

My January Trip to Ashland, Oregon

Ashland, Oregon Visitor's Map

Ashland, Oregon Visitor’s Map

Ashland, Oregon is the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (osfashland.org) and the theater season runs February to November.  I’ve visited Ashland regularly over the years during the OSF season and have seen many great theatrical productions (I’ll blog about those experiences in the future).  Without the tourists, the town is very quiet in December and January,  The purpose of my trip this time was to visit my father and stepmother.  He has health problems, I haven’t seen them in a long time, and my presence would enable her to take a little break from some daily “caregiver” duties.  So given the circumstances and the time of year, it was a very different type of trip this time.

RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW TO SEE AN ENLARGED PICTURE!

LAX  - Alaska Airlines/ Horizon Air - Los Angeles to Medford

LAX – Alaska Airlines/ Horizon Air – Los Angeles to Medford

I flew roundtrip Los Angeles, CA to Medford, OR.  The NON-STOP two-hour Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air commuter flight flies out of LAX and arrives in Medford, Oregon.  It’s the best way to get to Ashland from Los Angeles short of a private flight.  I’ve done the thirteen hour drive and it’s a LONG haul even stopping overnight along the way (and then there’s still the return trip) or you can fly and stop over in San Francisco, but that’s definitely NO FUN (and you never know about the weather in SF).  Depart 8:15pm on Saturday night, so there’s no line at Check-in, paid the CHECKED BAG FEE and got through Security relatively fast for LAX. I got stuck behind an Asian couple with too much stuff and had to laugh out loud as they tried to maneuver at least 10 plastic bins along with their carry-on bags and coats while trying to remove their shoes, belts, and personal electronics.  I had my bag and 3 bins (one for my personal electronics, one for my laptop and one for my shoes and coat) ready and quickly cleared through x-ray.  After passing the oppressive full body scan, I secured a seat and an electrical outlet at the “computer counter” in the waiting area at the gate until the flight boarded on-time.

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Alaska-Horizon Airlines LAX-MFR (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

 

The Theme from "Jaws" is playing in my head as I take my seat.

The Theme from “Jaws” is playing in my head as I take my seat.

Alaska/Horizon Air flies a small prop-jet plane and the flight is usually full.  There are two seats on each side of the aisle and they don’t recline.  There’s not a lot of space and there’s a lot of engine noise, so it’s a good idea to bring noise reducing headphones.  Definitely “no frills”, but there is snack and beverage service with complimentary Oregon wine and microbrew beer on the menu.  Just watch your elbows if you have an aisle seat!  My flight was full and as I took my seat I saw the two small children flying with their mother in the two seats in front of me.  The little girl was standing on the seat giving me the “eye” and the theme from “Jaws” started playing in my head.  I met and joked with the mother as I took these pictures.  Luckily, both children were quiet and slept the entire flight until we landed. The little boy didn’t want to wake up and threw a screaming tantrum as the plane taxied to the gate.  I’ll just say they got the door opened just in time…. .

A little angel?  Or an airplane nightmare waiting to happen?

A little angel? Or an airplane nightmare waiting to happen?

Medford Airport, Medford, Oregon

Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport (MFR) – Medford, Oregon

Arrived on-time at about 10:30pm at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR), a small and very modern airport twenty minutes north of Ashland on the 5 freeway.  No problems at baggage claim and was picked up at the curb.  We drove to The Ranch with a side trip through the Burger King drive-thru on the way home.  The dogs were so glad to see me.  After eating, talking and getting settled in at the house it was time for bed.

RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW TO SEE AN ENLARGED PICTURE!

Rogue Valley Winter Sunrise 1 - Ashland, Oregon

Rogue Valley Winter Sunrise 1 – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Rogue Valley is a beautiful farming and timber-producing region in southwestern Oregon. Located along the Rogue River and its tributaries in Josephine and Jackson counties, the valley forms the cultural and economic heart of Southern Oregon near the California border along the 5 freeway. The largest communities in the Rogue Valley are Medford, Ashland and Grants Pass.

Rogue Valley Winter Sunrise 2 - Ashland, Oregon

Rogue Valley Winter Sunrise 2 – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley Winter Sunrise 3 - Ashland, Oregon

Rogue Valley Winter Sunrise 3 – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Woke up early and watched a beautiful Rogue Valley sunrise while getting a light dusting of snow.  The view from house is spectacular and the fog was nestled in the valley as the sun broke through the clouds.

Rogue Valley - Ashland, Oregon

Rogue Valley – view from the house – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Spent most of the time during the week with my father, driving him around, chilling at The Ranch and eating out.  When he had an appointment, I would find somewhere to go and something to enjoy.   We went for nice Sunday brunch at the Jacksonville Inn (www.jacksonvilleinn.com) and then a great steak dinner at Amuse Restaurant in downtown Ashland, with fresh beignets and a banana cream pie tart for desert.

Banana cream pie!

Delicious banana cream pie tart!  Amuse Restaurant – Ashland, Oregon

Lots of other good eating during the trip!  I would recommend any of these restaurants. Lunch: Tacos at La Tapatia Market in Phoenix (REAL Mexican food), Pizza and pasta at Pasta Piatti in downtown Ashland, and you definitely must try the $20 Cheeseburger at New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro in Talent (reservations recommended and pre-order the burger because sometimes they run out).  Dinner: In addition to Amuse (excellent every time I’ve eaten there), BonsaiTeriyaki sushi in Ashland (good, but it can’t compare to fresh L.A. sushi), and an amazing dinner of chowder, steak, chicken, prawns with incredible bread pudding for dessert at Beasy’s in downtown Ashland.  They stayed open late to take our party of four and the food and wine was five star!

Sushi dinner at BonsaiTeriyaki - Ashland. Oregon

Sushi dinner at BonsaiTeriyaki – Ashland. Oregon

Dad and I saw “Parker” at the local cinema.  We went “antiquing” in Ashland, Jacksonville, Talent, Phoenix and Medford.  Lots of fun stuff for sale, but being mindful of both money and suitcase space, I was mostly browsing.  I did find a great deal on a nice cut crystal vase and bought it as a gift for my mother. I also found a great “out of print” cookbook for my stepmother.

Cut Crystal Vase - "Such a Deal!" - Ashland, Oregon

Cut Crystal Vase – “Such a Deal!” – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

We took a drive north to Center Point and visited Lillebelle’s Chocolates (located near the Rogue Valley Creamery and Rogue Valley Winery tasting room).  Definitely worth the trip if you appreciate amazing handmade chocolate ($$$).

Lillebelle's Chocolates

Lillebelle’s Chocolates – Center Point, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lillebelle's Chocolates

Lillebelle’s Chocolates –  Center Point, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I walked around downtown Ashland and the railroad district in the afternoons, window shopping and browsing at the boutiques, bookstores, outdoor gear stores and gift shops.  The town was empty, everything was on sale and it seemed that I was the only tourist in Ashland,  One thing about shopping in Ashland is that each shop has it’s own “laid back character”, and sometimes that also describes the owner or the person providing the customer service.

Downtown Ashland - Ashland, Oregon

Downtown Ashland – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Library - Ashland, Oregon

Ashland Library – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2103 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Springs Hotel - Ashland, Oregon

The Historic Ashland Springs Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland is a pretty little town, with lots of historic buildings, lots of shops, great restaurants, the OSF and Lithia Park all in the heart of downtown.  There are lots of housing options for travellers: the historic Ashland Springs Hotel, the Lithia Springs Resort, and many hotels, motels and B&Bs that cater to the tourists.*

Lithia Park is beautiful anytime of the year, but winter is exceptionally beautiful in Oregon.  The weather was pretty good for January.  It snowed a little the first day.  Then it drizzled a little and it was cold and grey most of the time, but the sun did come out a couple of times during the week.

RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW TO SEE AN ENLARGED PICTURE!

Lithia Park - Ashland Creek - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland Creek – Ashland, Oregon

I went for a solo walk in Lithia Park and took some pretty pictures.  Ashland Creek was flowing fast because of the melting snow and for almost the entire time I was alone on the walking path. And it was wonderful!  Here’s a picture tour, CLICK TO ENLARGE!

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Elizabethan Theater - Ashland, Oregon

Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Elizabethan Theater – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park is the largest and most central park in Ashland, Oregon. It consists of 93 acres of forested canyonland around Ashland Creek, stretching from the downtown plaza up toward its headwaters near Mount Ashland. Its name originates from the lithium oxide found in the stream water.  The park has two large green area, a bandshell for public musical performances, two duck ponds, a large playground, tennis courts, community buildings and, in winter, an ice skating rink. It also offers picnic areas and miles of hiking trails.  The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Lithia Park - Ashland Creek - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland Creek – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park - Ashland Creek - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland Creek – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park - Duck Pond - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Duck Pond – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park - Ashland Creek - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland Creek – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park - Ashland Creek - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland Creek – Ashland, Oregon

Had to get up very early to catch the return flight to LAX.  Cruised through Check-In, paid the CHECKED BAG FEE again and breezed through Security (no body scan or bad attitude in Medford) and waited for departure.

Medford Airport - Early AM

Wait, what?  TWINS?

Wait, what? TWINS?

Imagine my suprise when I was seated behind a nice lesbian couple with infant TWINS!  Again, a travel nightmare waiting to happen at 06:30 in the morning, but they both slept through the entire flight and didn’t cry at all!

Dawn out the airplane window

Sunrise, dawn breaks from the airplane window

The flight was only about half full and the seat next to me was empty, so I had extra room to try to stretch out a little bit.  I watched the sunrise out the window of the plane and landed on-time in Los Angeles at about 08:30am.

It’s a long hike from the plane to baggage claim at LAX, but I didn’t have to wait very long for my checked bag once I got there.  (TRAVEL TIP: get to baggage claim before your bag comes down the ramp at LAX!)  Didn’t have anyone pick me up because of the time of day and construction traffic on the 405 freeway.  Instead I had to wait 35 minutes for a “red shuttle van” in the carbon monoxide tank LAX calls passenger pickup.  Then I spent $40 and another 20 minutes circling the airport in the “red shuttle van” before heading out, and then another long 45 minutes on the freeway getting home.  I only tipped the driver $5 because of the time and because he was texting while driving.

I have mixed feelings about the trip.  It was great to see my father, stepmother and the dogs.  Ashland in January was beautiful!  Even good pictures don’t do it justice.  I had a great time and ate a lot fantastic food!  The difficult part was dealing with my father’s health.  I was glad to be home again and my dogs were so glad to see me!

Okay, if you’ve read all the way through, please let me know what you think!  I welcome you feedback and comments.  If you liked it, please LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW.

The Big Boy keeping watch

The Big Boy keeping watch at The Ranch (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

(All photos copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel – taken with my Blackberry camera)