On a beautiful early fall day we left the Central Willamette Valley and headed south on a road trip to Ashland, Oregon, to stay at Lithia Springs Resort. From Eugene, this trip takes only three hours, but we made a lot of fun stops along the way! If you’re coming from Portland, Oregon, or anywhere near that area, Eugene is a great place to stop for a while and break up the trip.
Humongous Cinnamon Rolls
The first stop we made was Heaven On Earth, a rustic American-style diner housed in a huge log cabin-like building just off the highway in Azalea, Oregon. I started using the Roadtrippers app to find sights along the way that I might not know about, and they suggested Heaven On Earth for their humongous cinnamon rolls. I couldn’t believe how big they were when I actually saw them with my own eyes! They come in cake-sized servers because they are almost as big around as a dinner plate and taller than a coffee mug. It was even warm when we bought it.
In addition to cinnamon rolls, they also have piles of packaged candy, like sour ribbons, gummies, chocolates, and lots of other things. So if your kids would prefer to have a pile of candy instead, that’s definitely doable. If you are looking for canned goods like jams and pickles, they’ve got jars and jars of that too.
Wolf Creek, Oregon, Ghost Town
Despite wanting to dig into the still-warm cinnamon roll, we put it into the car and kept going a little longer. Just 11 minutes further down the road is the little town of Wolf Creek. Here you can find the historic Wolf Creek Inn, which has welcomed travelers since 1883. It’s actually the oldest continually operated hotel in the Pacific Northwest. Here, you can sit down at the Inn’s restaurant and tavern, or take a tour every Saturday and Sunday (provided there are no covid restrictions). If you just want to stretch your legs or take your dog on a short walk, there is a little trail with a picnic table and a covered wagon with 4 interpretive signs to give you a glimpse of local pioneer history.
We drove through the campground of Wolf Creek State Park and it looked like a nice place to go back to. Once you’re at Wolf Creek, it’s just 5 minutes (truly!) down the road to reach a pioneer ghost town. Just continue on Coyote Creek Road for 4 miles and you’ll see the remains of the Golden Ghost Town just off the road. The town at one point was home to about 100 people, 2 churches, and 0 saloons! Everyone was kept busy gold mining, until they moved on.
Just a minute further down the road is a short trail that leads from the road to the Coyote Creek Wetlands. This is an area that is being restored to help alleviate some of the damage caused by all the decades of gold mining. As we walked on this early fall day after a dry summer, there were a couple of shallow, mucky ponds in the wetlands. We saw so many frogs! Just watch this video and you’ll see the frogs hopping out of our way. Amazing display!
The Oregon Caveman in Grants Pass
We felt like we had done a lot already, but we were still an hour away from our destination. Time for one more stop! I had heard about the Oregon Caveman in Grants Pass, Oregon, but had not seen it with my own eyes. To be honest, I had forgotten about it. But Roadtrippers came through again and suggested it as a stop. Believe it or not, it’s located right near a gas station, so it’s a great place to stop if you need to fill up. It’s also just across the street from the In-N-Out in Grants Pass, making it easy if you happen to want lunch.
We also recently visited Grants Pass for a longer trip, which you can read about in this article, “Visiting Grants Pass, Oregon.” In that article, you can read about the cool lodge where we stayed right on the river, and the river excursion we took.
Visit to Caldera Brewing
We made one more stop before we went to Lithia Springs Resort! We were thirsty and not quite ready to tuck into the hotel just yet, so we stopped at Caldera Brewing Company in Ashland. I recommend this as a scenic, family-friendly stop any time. The staff was pleasant and they weren’t overly busy, Inside, the brewery has a hip feel with rows of bottles going all the way up to the ceiling. Outside, there’s numerous picnic tables with great views of the surrounding hills. I also liked their colorful purple motif and tile artwork. We had a couple of flights of beer from their lengthy beer list. They had a surprising variety, and we liked them all!
Lithia Springs Resort
As we turned in to the driveway for Lithia Springs Resort, we knew this was going to be the restful getaway we needed. The grounds are gorgeous, filled with a variety of pollinator-attracting plants, fountains, vine-covered gazebos, koi ponds, and just generally beautiful scenery. As you have probably figured out, we didn’t bring the kids along on this road trip to Ashland, but kids would like it here.
While this resort is probably not suited for very active young kids, it would be ideal for a mother-daughter wine weekend getaway. Or if you have a young daughter or granddaughter who enjoys fancy tea parties, they would love it here. It also looks to be a perfect place for a family reunion, wedding, or just about any event.
It does have a seasonal outdoor saline pool and large hot tub. If you happen to be there when the pool is closed for the season, you can soak in your in-room soaking tub. The resort pipes in the mineral water from the springs below the resort’s grounds. It’s minerally and sulfuric, but they treat it so the smell mostly goes away. The soaking tub in our room was a delight. We stayed in the Spa Bungalow Room which was right by the nice koi pond and fountain. We enjoyed watching a group of wild turkeys roaming around as we checked out the place.
When we were hungry, we got a glass of wine and a nice charcuterie platter and sat outside in a garden area with a nice tree canopy. Even though Lithia Springs Resort feels like you’re far away from everything, it’s only minutes down the main road to get to town if you want to go out for food or anything else. But, the resort is so nice and the grounds so beautiful, you won’t want to leave!
Vanessa Salvia is a long-time freelance writer and editor. Read her journalistic work at vanessasalvia.com, and learn more about her editing and content creation services at sagemediaandmarketing.com.