Friday, Jun 23, 2017

Archive for March, 2012

Winchester Inn Restaurant

The Winchester Inn is one of our favorite dining places. The food is innovative, local, seasonal, and prepared with tremendous care. The wine list is superb, full of affordable greats as well as pie in the sky fabulousity, perfect for a range of events. If I were hosting a dinner party, this would be one of my first choices for a venue.

We started by sharing the Mini Wild Mushroom, Bacon, and Filet Mignon Wellingtons – moist chunks of tenderloin spread with mushroom duxelles and encased in a delicate pastry crust. Finished with a port wide reduction, cauliflower and baby pea pods, this is a delicious starter, one of my favorites.


One of Ashland’s fine dining options, Amuse is also one of our favorite places for a special occasion meal. The ambiance is elegantly simple, with clean lines and surprisingly comfortable seating. The menu is, of course, seasonal and local, with a few items persisting through the year.

The White Snake (2012)

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing two of Mary Zimmerman’s productions in the past; both of which blew me away. (If you get a chance to see Metamorphosis or The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, go. Immediately. You’ll be glad you did.) So it was with a great deal of anticipation that I purchased tickets to her newest production, The White Snake.

Billed as a beloved Oriental legend, this is the tale of a 1,700-year-old snake demon who spends a day as a woman and falls in love with a simple pharmacist’s assistant. With the help of her maid, another snake demon, she marries her love and helps him become a great success. But true love must undergo trials, and snake demons more than others.

Let me tell you now that this production joins my top ten plays from the sixteen years I’ve been attending OSF. I urge you to move it to the top of your ‘to see’ list immediately. It’s only playing through early July, and tickets will sell out soon. (I’m strongly considering traveling back in early June just to see it again.)

Director/author Mary Zimmerman excels at taking ancient stories and re-visioning them into modern terms. At the Preface I learned that Ms. Zimmerman casts the production without having a script in hand. The script was developed on the first days of rehearsal, and tailored to the skills and abilities of the actors. A tremendous burden for both the author and actors, but one fraught with tremendous potential. And the actors live up to the potential, beautifully. OSF regulars Emily Sophia Knapp and Christof Jean are particularly wonderful in their varied roles (and Jean’s heartfelt closing words will rip the tears from your eyes, matching the ones in his). Newcomers Amy Kim Waschke and Tanya McBride are truly excellent as the White Snake and Green Snake, respectively. The production is elegantly simple and I must offer loud kudos to Scenic Designer Daniel Ostling for doing such a good job of realizing Ms. Zimmerman’s vision.

Can you fall in love at first sight? Have all true lovers met in previous lifetimes? Can love survive doubt and the machinations of outside forces? With some fairly clear references to current politics, Zimmerman offers up a perspective in which love transcends physical limitations, like being human and being a snake.

Bring a hankie, or two, and go watch one of the best plays OSF has ever produced.

Ashland Springs Hotel

I’ve been visiting Ashland long enough that I remember when this was the Mark Anthony Hotel, as well as when it was closed for several years. It’s long been on my list of places to stay, seeming to be an elegant yet comfortable option. My primary concerns about any hotel are: a comfy bed, quiet at night, a good shower, and clean.

The bed is a bit mixed. The mattress is very comfortable – firm, yet not stiff. The pillows, however, are dreadful. There are a lot of them (six I think) but they are all very soft and flat. We asked the Front desk if they have firm pillows and they sent us a housekeeper with three new pillows, all flat and soft, but made of polyester/foam instead of feathers. SO missing the point. When was it that the hotels decided that a good night’s sleep means great mattresses and flat pillows? The sheets are cotton, the blanket down, and there is a lovely heavy cotton blanket providing the color and extra warmth if needed.