Like naughty children running away from home, my Hubby and I arrived in Southern Oregon on a recent Saturday afternoon. We had spent the morning poking along I-5 in an effort to escape the dreaded household chores. (see Weekend Chore Revolt)
We ended up near Medford in the town of Jacksonville, which is a historic landmark.
Yes, the whole town is a national landmark – more than 100 buildings! A history lover’s haven to be exact. This is where gold was first discovered in Oregon in 1851.
Tickled to explore this big piece of Oregon history, we found a place to park right downtown and set out on foot with the idea of finding a place to eat. After all, we had been left famished by our earlier explorations.
True statement: I did not know it was there. (I’m not sure if my Hubby quite believes me, but it’s true!). After all, this was my first trip to Jacksonville.
Now, what do you suppose the odds are of finding a quilt store less than 100 yards from where we parked!? Lunch would just have to wait, right?
Oh joy! This was a real quilt store, selling already made quilts, quilting-themed gifts and a little fabric – versus a quilt shop that sells mostly fabric. In addition to consigning quilts, the owner makes them to order. And like many stores today, the Internet plays a big role in supporting her business. I wish I had taken a picture of the consignment room.
It was a pleasure to chat with her as she used her long arm quilting machine. I got some tips that could come in handy if we ever want to invest in one of those big toys!
Confession: I did know about this next tidbit and even mentioned it to Hubby the night before. You know, in case we had time.
Figuring, that as a quilter, I would want to know this, the woman also filled us in on the town’s annual quilt show that just happened to be in progress at a nearby historic home. Hubby said yes to the quilt show, but we had to find lunch first. So with a recommendation in hand, we headed to an authentic Jewish deli, where Hubby pronounced the Reuben sandwich with the house-made corned beef to be “really, really good”. In food critic terms, that would be at least four stars – I think.
Fueled for more walking, we headed to the quilt show at the Beekman House, a prominent home that is only open to the public a couple of times each year. The home’s original owner was one of the town’s founders and banker with some other business interests as well.
The “quilts” hanging on the fence and high on the house are really banners made by attaching large quilt blocks to them. In previous years, the banners have been hung around town to advertise the quilt show.
The banners were fun to view, but there were also some beautiful quilts displayed both outside and in one of the buildings behind the house, too.
I thought this two sided quilt was a clever reminder not to touch the quilts without gloves. No chain gang for me!
The quilt store owner did this beautiful quilt which was being raffled off by the local guild.
Sadly, I have not received the call saying I won it. Someone else, though, is very happy.
Because it was getting late and we still had a whole town to explore, we did not take the guided tour of the house itself. I kicked myself the next day for not doing so because we learned that the house is a “locked down museum” and they are rare. I have never been in one.
In this case,”locked down” means everything in the house is original to the Beekman family and is placed exactly as they used them. Built in the early 1870′s, the Beekmans and their three children were the only family to live in the house. The last descendant died there in the 1950′s. According to the will, the house was to become a museum so it was “locked down” the day after he died. The Beekman bank in town closed in the early 1900′s under circumstances that created a “locked down” landmark as well. We did see that downtown, but glass partitions made it hard to get a good photograph.
This downtown building near the bank has continuously housed a barbershop since it was built in the 1850′s.
Going to Jacksonville on the spur of the moment for an overnight stay in the summer isn’t easy, but we lucked out and there were no Britt Music Festival concerts scheduled for the weekend. The room we managed to book on Friday night was a “nicely appointed”, but standard room so I did something I’ve never done before. When we checked in, I asked if it was possible to be upgraded. It was, and we were – to one of the historic homes in the heart of downtown!
The McCully House was built in 1860 and has been completely restored with a few modern amenities added, like air conditioning and private bathrooms. The room was beautiful! Too bad it was almost 100 degrees outside or we could have used the fireplace.
We ate dinner at the bistro next door. It’s actually the kitchen and parlor part of the house, with the old patio enclosed. We ate on the new patio.
The next morning we went to the Jacksonville Farmers Market on the lawn of the old courthouse. We tried a quirky, but yummy cafe for breakfast and then caught the trolley for a guided tour of the town.
We knew we had probably walked most of the trolley route, but it would be fun to learn more than what was on the posted signs. The tour was how we learned about the locked down museums and we also learned more about the old churches in the area.
Mr. Beekman apparently was not a church-goer but the love of his life was, so he built this Presbyterian church as a wedding promise to his future father-in-law. Kind of a church-for-bride thing!
The Catholic church and the rectory-turned-school were built in the 1860′s. Mass is still held in the small church every Sunday.
This early 1850′s Methodist church was not only the first church in Jacksonville, it is one of the very first churches built on the west coast. As you can see, it’s still standing and is still being used by the Methodists today. Not bad for an original $500 investment!
After leaving Jacksonville for home, we decided to toddle north along the back roads following the Applegate River towards Grants Pass. Back roads always have unexpected surprises, you know.
The annual Lavender Festival was underway at Oregon’s various farms and since we were driving right by one, we decided to stop and pick some. Nothing like filling the Hubby’s manly truck with the scent of fresh lavender!
What a great date weekend with my best friend! Busy, but in a relaxing way. Just what we needed.
The only problem? When we got home we discovered the laundry, yard and gardening fairies forgot to come while we were gone!! Oh well.
Until next time,