11:15AM

On the way to Ashland

Somewhere on the way westward from Pittsburgh on the multi-leg flight necessary to keep the price down, I saw a placard declaring this National Ice Cream Month. Actually, it’s always National Ice Cream Month for me. But on first encounter with Ashland, it seemed providential: you can tell immediately that this is one of those perfect, silky-tasting towns just about as good as ice cream.You have to love a place that knows how to treat its dogs

My favorite leg was the last. Getting off the plane in Medford, as I walked past the cluster of fellow travelers waiting for checked luggage, I announced, “Anyone going to Ashland? Ashland? Anyone”

“Hey, Mon, you going to the Shakespeare Festival?” was the reply. And that’s how I got a ride for that final half-hour from Mongezi and Kuku, two South African musicians from Washington, DC on their way to play this week in the festival’s Green Show.

Not that I’ve seen the Green Show yet, the pace of shows and panels and time with ATCA friends has been so intense. But the ice cream hasn’t disappointed me — the best place in town is just across from the hotel. – Chris Rawson