Feb21 Road Trip: Ashland, Jacksonville

Saturday was such a lazy day I almost skipped this post. It was cold and rainy much of the day, and with so much closed we actually contemplated leaving early in the morning. But it was unlikely we could get a refund on the room for the 3rd night, and I didn’t want to spend a 3rd day in a row in the car.

We headed out for Noble Coffee again around 7am for pastry and coffee. I got a blackberry scone this time, otherwise the same items as the day before.

Empty parking spaces and street in foreground, buildings mid way, hills and sky in the background.

There was hardly anyone out and about for a Saturday morning.

Paul sitting on the sidewalk, sitting leashed to a bike rack

Paul was pretty comfortable, but he generally is anywhere; he’s a very chill dog.

A panoramic photo of the hillside at the end of the street the coffee shop is on.

On our walk back to the room, we texted Jonathan and agreed to meet for brunch at a place called Hither, one of the restaurants we’d attempted the night before.

They had a nice heated patio that was comfortable enough for us to sit and visit for about 90 minutes, despite it being about 40 degrees out and pretty windy. The food was great. Ash had an egg and bacon sandwich on a biscuit. Jonathan had a dish called herbed eggs, which were ridiculously fluffy eggs made with crème fraiche on focaccia. That pile of green in front is my “avocado toast” like none I’d ever seen – a whole avocado diced on top of a focaccia. It was brilliantly seasoned with salt and lemon zest; other things which I don’t remember as those 2 flavors stood out the most. It was very good.

Shortly after we got back to the room the rain kicked in and never let up too much the rest of the day. We watched an embarrassing number of episodes of Downton Abbey (finished S3, now halfway through S4) throughout the day and evening with just one more venture out about 3pm.

At breakfast we had talked of stopping by Jacksonville, a quaint town about 15 miles northwest. Jonathan recommended a BBQ place to eat if we did so we thought we’d check that out, too. The day before was Chinese New Year and the town was celebrating that. And don’t get confused by that blue sky. That’s the most we saw all day. The photo below is all clouds and that’s what was behind me – both photos opposite sides of where I was standing.

This reminded me very much of places like Sutter Creek back home, a small old town that is still operating and maintains a healthy amount of travelers.

I took this photo primarily to age the town: the sign at the top shows the year this building went up: 1872. We spent some time in a thrift store Ash likes at the end of this block. We were amused to see an original electric toaster, and the ladies who worked there were surprised we knew what it was, that most people don’t. We admitted it was only because we’d just seen it on Downton Abbey!

By the time we left the thrift store it had started to rain pretty hard, so we got back to the car quickly and then drove the few blocks to the BBQ place so Paul wouldn’t get too wet.

It was called Back Porch and of course offered outside dining only, below. But the tarp was sturdy and kept the rain out, and the heaters were decent as well. It was 48 degrees but felt much colder especially when the wind picked up. I took advantage of a brief stop in the rain to get these photos.

This was a cheesy artichoke dip that was very creamy and tasty. The chips definitely worked better than the bread with it, but we didn’t finish either.

Ash got seared ahi tacos, above, with potato salad as the side because I wanted to taste it primarily. I figured it would be good in a place like this and it was – a strong pepper bite at the end that was distinctive and everything else very fresh.

Since they claimed to be a Texas BBQ place I had to try the brisket, and it was super. And a lot of it – I ate all of the meat and none of the bread.

And that was the day. Today we head back to Sacramento for a couple of days. Depending on what we end up doing, I may or may not write while there. So you may not see us again until we get to Santa Cruz on Tuesday. I have to say I’m loving this lazy approach to my 10 days off; it is just what I needed.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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