I’m going to go in reverse order here, because listicle.
5 - nature.
What I mean by this is that Ashland Oregon is pretty much the closest thing to a ‘Maison De Village’ that we were able to afford and stay on the west coast, and honestly it has been fantastic. We have deer giving birth on our front lawn. We have local marauding wild turkeys. We have baby duck at the Lithia park pond. Beautiful birds. Goat herder dude. It’s a half country, half city concoction and I feel strongly this is the way life was meant to be lived. Throw in the Shakespeare and the bistro pubs and the excellent Cabaret, and Ashland is a sweet place to be. Plus SOU is a really good and affordable school and it never feels crowded.
4 - no sales tax.
Of course this is state wide, but what amounts to essentially a 7% discount on all things ordered online is I think both significant and self-evident in its value.
3 - real weather.
This is perhaps arguable, especially for anyone coming from SoCal, and it certainly takes some getting used to but I stand by the idea that real weather is a large net positive. Humans are cyclical by nature and I don’t think it helps us to live in perfect stasis. For every season here, I have days where I am smitten by the occasional knockout day, because every season has a potential for perfection, and I have days where I pine for the next season. And so on it goes. What it does is two things - 1, offers potential for elevated gratitude, and 2, offers a sense of purpose and movement. Once you become tough enough to handle whatever comes at you, weather-wise, which is not particularly difficult, you can start feeling vested with your locale, and you can rise and fall emotionally with the weather, which I think is healthy for a lot of reasons but also brings a community together.
2 - Cider on tap.
I honestly didn’t know how much I liked cider until I got here, but it’s great stuff. And like beer, it’s much better on tap. This is a point for pretty much all of the Pacific Northwest, but cider is delicious and I don’t remember finding it on tap at all in California.
1 - Growlers.
And now we come to what seems like such a simple concept, but is not that common. In Oregon, a growler is a type of jug that you use to bring beverages home with you. Down the street we have a place that will fill you up with cider, beer, or kombucha. They have over 50 types. It’s amazing, affordable, and seems quite easy to execute. It will hold carbonation for up to a week. I don’t know why more states don’t offer this. It’s a great solution for trash reduction - the growlers are reusable, and you are removing the bottling phase of manufacturing, which seems like a cost reduction and a net benefit for carbon emissions.
So that’s why I love living in Southern Oregon.