Medford, Oregon

In 1883, a railroad group interested in gold mines carved a route through the southern Oregon Rogue River Canyon, and the town of Medford took shape. Its rain-shadowed valley offers a Mediterranean climate of hot, dry summers and mild winters. And many welcoming wine vineyards that grow purple, red, and white grapes you would also find in the Rhone region of southern France.

Take a short drive to the sapphire blue waters of 2,000-foot deep Crater Lake. Go rafting on the Rogue River. Experience the Elizabethan Theater at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival beneath a night sky, circled by green mountains thick with trees. Discover the forested canyon land and creeks of 93-acre Lithia Park. Or, stroll in Alba Park, named for Medford's sister city in Italy.

Savor wild salmon at Pomodori Bistro, considered the best place for Italian food in Rogue Valley. Walk in beautiful vineyards and sip crafted wines at the Weisinger Family winery just south of Ashland. Relax in the Rising Sun Farms wine tasting room on a 28-acre farm overlooking the Siskiyou Mountains - try their fresh pesto sauces. Historic Willow-Witt is a 440-acre sustainable farming practices ranch, where you can go hiking with pack goats.

Photo 3: Courtesy Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Jennifer Donahoe