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Pacific Northwest

Day Spas in Ashland, Oregon
Facials and mud wraps, chocolate soaks and coconut massages are among the exotic treatments to revel in at Ashland's day spas.

Ashland, a charming town in the foothills of the Siskiyou mountains, draws thousands of visitors for the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival and outdoor recreation. But another attraction has joined Ashland's appeal: health and beauty spas.

One spa, in the heart of town next to sparkling Ashland Creek, is the Blue Giraffe Day Spa, with salon and treatment rooms spanning two floors. Believing that touch "heals the body, lifts and spirit, and nourishes the soul," the Blue Giraffe offers dozens of massages, from classic Swedish to Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. The latter, they claim, is "the deepest, most luxurious massage on the planet." Read more


Powell's City of Books Offers a Million Titles
The world's biggest used and new bookstore is a top tourist attraction. Some 3,000 people a day browse through Powell's City of Books, and 3,000 more purchase books.

Powell's, occupying an entire city block in downtown Portland, has four floors crammed with books old and new. With more than a million titles it can be confusing, but it's all well-organized. The first place to stop is the Information Desk inside the corner entrance on NW 10th and Burnside streets and pick up a map of the store . . . Read more


Writers Retreat on the Oregon Coast
What writer doesn't dream of a quiet, comfortable retreat at the beach, a perfect place to hone that novel or compose poetry, stories or a memoir?

Colonyhouse, on the scenic northern Oregon coast, is exactly that. This writer's haven is just north of the town of Rockaway Beach and within walking distance of its shops and cafes. The log home, built in 1941, stands on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the west and, on the east, Lake Lytle. Beneath its vinyl siding is a warm, inviting interior of thick logs, wide windows and a huge stone fireplace. Read more


Vancouver National Historic Reserve
At Fort Vancouver, on the north bank of the Columbia River, visitors enter Pacific Northwest history in all its vibrant action and color.

The sprawling stockade was once headquarters for the Hudson's Bay Company Columbia Department, covering what is now British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Fur trappers brought in piles of beaver furs to be shipped to England. Oregon Trail Emigrants trickled in, Native people came to trade, and laborers from many coutries worked at the fort.

Dr. John McLoughlin headed the whole enterprise, keeping the peace and Britsh rule. By 1860, though, the British and the company were gone. Fort Vancouver was on American soil.

Fire and decay soon destroyed the fort and village structures, but a century later, archeologists began excavating the site. Reconstruction started, and today the sights, sounds and smells of history live again. Read more


Elk Rock, Gem of a Portland Garden
Color blooms every season in this private garden in southwest Portland. Open to the public throughout the year, it's a showplace for contemplation and river views.
The garden of the Bishop's Close, known as Elk Rock, was planted with care, to show a collection of rare and native plants, magnificent trees, and views of the Willamette River and Mount Hood's snowy peak. This clifftop haven of winding paths and gorgeous magnolias is a place for quiet strolls and admiring the beauty of the scene. Picnics and games are not allowed, and dogs must be leashed.
Elk Rock was started in the early 20th century by Peter Kerr, a successful businessman and ardent amateur gardener. He and his wife and two daughters lived on 13 acres in a home that resembled the Scottish manor houses Kerr remembered from his early days in Scotland. The Kerrs brought in noted New York landscape architects, the Olmsted brothers, to create six acres of English-style gardens. Read more...