NGLVC: All Around the Town

One reason we chose to be here at the NGLVC rather than further north or out on one of the islands was the proximity to the city of Ashland. We haven’t suffered serious head injuries and suddenly become “city people,” but Ashland isn’t a sprawling, high-rise, over-crowded, or traffic-jammed type of city, and we get to live just outside of it, so what hustle and bustle there is has little effect on us directly. It also offers plenty of outdoor activities right in town and nearby to keep us happy when we don’t feel like driving very far.

One of the popular attractions is the Ashland Mural Walk, a series of 20 larger-than-life paintings done by a duo of local artists. Locating most of them makes for a nice walk from one end of town to the other. I spent part of day doing that very thing.

Three of them are inside buildings, including the one in our NGLVC, but that one I will include in the the next post when our center is fully open to the public. I did not get to all the impressive murals on my walk, but as I searched for them, I was more enchanted by a different sort of artwork.

Look at those beautiful mosaics! Notice, too, the metal mesh Lake Superior design on the tops. As TBG remarked, there are few places where such things could exist without being vandalized, but all of them were in great shape. I don’t know if the garbarge can project has a name, but if not, I’d like to submit the title Pretty Trashy.

There are several small charming park areas scattered about town, too.

Not only is the downtown area very walkable, a 10-mile paved trail encircles the city. Half of it runs along the shoreline, and the other half runs along the south side of town, but only a short distance runs through the business district. There are benches, bike repair stations, restrooms, and plenty of easy access to stores, cafes, parks, and other points of interest.

The western end of the trail runs through the city’s biggest park, Prentice.

As well as all the usual park features such as pavilions, playgrounds, restrooms, and even camping, it is a very popular park for birders. I have taken to spending my Thursday mornings there with my binoculars and camera. So far, my bird sightings have been very good. My bird photos? Not so much.

I have seen well over 40 species there, but some I already have great photos of, and the others are often too far away and too fast for me so far. I have joined the local Facebook birding group, and that has helped me know what to look for where. A lot of visitors come to the center in search of birding info, and it’s fun to be able to have personal knowledge to share, as well as hear about what they’re seeing out there.

We’re still seeing a few different birds around our place, too, both at the feeder and along our walks.

That last one, of course, is no bird but rather one of our hungry little squirrels. It was so funny on a very hot day to look out to see it stretched over the water dish, dunking its belly. Yes, I know there are squirrel-proofing methods for feeders, but those rodents are adorable and hilarious. I’ve watched the Red-winged Blackbirds dive-bomb much larger birds and even humans, so if they get freaked out when a squirrel runs up the feeder, that’s on them.

Something I dearly missed when I moved from Ohio to the Seattle area were lightning bugs. TBG had only ever seen them when he was in Germany, but grew up without them. My childhood summer evenings, however, were filled with them, and we were eagerly awaiting their appearance here. TBG did his best to set his camera up on one of the picnic tables so he could operate it remotely and not have to endure the hordes of mosquitoes.

What look like stars are also the fireflies. I love the photos he got, but no photo can capture the magic of the twinkling in person. Their season will be done here, soon, so we make a point of going completely dark inside for a little while each evening to enjoy the show.

Our center is finally going to open fully tomorrow, and I will be able to escort you around virtually in my next post. Until then, please enjoy these pretty flowers, one a native (the harlequin blue flag iris) the other a cultivar, now considered native (the lupine.) I say “LOO-pine” like the wolf because it was named for its habit of “wolfing” nutrients from the soil, and it has an “e” on the end. Lots of other folks say “LOO-pin,” which is fine, but I don’t have to like it. On a related note, since arriving here, I’ve heard several people pronounce the Pileated Woodpecker as PILL-ee-a-ted instead of the way I’ve always pronounced it, PIE-lee-a-ted. Mortified that I’d been mispronouncing it in front of bird people, I was relieved to find either is correct. I’m sticking with LOO-pine though, and you’ll never wrest the Oxford comma from me. Next, we can talk about why the bird names are capitalized but the flower names aren’t. Just kidding, here are your flowers.

11 thoughts on “NGLVC: All Around the Town

  1. Ashland must be a popular city name because we just stayed in Ashland, Nebraska… and it, too, had a cute downtown area, pretty parks, and nice character. Like you, I grew up with fireflies and love to see them out on hot summer nights… It’s as much a part of summer as ice cream and mini golf. I agree with you on the mosquitoes though. Sure would be nice if they would scram. Good solution to enjoy from inside. And for the record, in my expert opinion, the correct pronunciation of loo-peen. No one agrees with me, but I will never give up my fight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So many town names repeat all across the country. When I plug a name into the camping or weather app, I always get a long list of same-name places from which to choose. Oh, mini golf! And ice cream! I don’t know why, but we haven’t gotten more delicious Wisconsin ice cream yet. This must be remedied immediately. I admire your tenacity in holding tight to your (mis)pronunciation of lupine! Maybe I’ll adopt it, as well, just to mess with people 😀

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  2. With plenty of green space and lots of un-vandalized public art, Ashland hardly seems like a city at all. 🙂 I doubt you will turn into city folk just from your short summer sojourn, but it certainly looks like a lovely place to spend a season. Not having to drive 2 hours for groceries is surely a plus.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s true, no matter how pretty they make a town/city, we won’t completely be won over, but it sure is nice when folks take such pride in their town, and we’re able to reap the benefits of that when we do visit.

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  3. We’ve been fortunate to snag campsites in the past at both Prentice and Keher CG’s and really enjoyed spending time in Ashland. We were hoping for a repeat this summer but have a feeling we wouldn’t get so lucky snagging a campsite on the fly. We’ll settle for day trips to the area. I know come the end of July, I’ll be heading to my favorite berry/apple farm in Bayfield, ‘Blue Vista Farm’, and pick as many blueberries as my RV freezer can hold… yum!

    Liked by 2 people

    • All the city/county campgrounds around here look like very nice places to be! We just motored through the couple in Washburn yesterday, and both looked really pretty, too. With all the National Forest CGs as well, there is no shortage of excellent camping up here!

      I will have my eye on the blueberries this summer, too! If you need a friend to help you pick, let me know when you’re headed up there!

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  4. I say ‘lupine’ and ‘pileated’ exactly the opposite of how you say them, so there is a very good example of how as a nation we can not only coexist peacefully, but be very good friends despite our differences, LOL!!

    Ashland looks just like the kind of town we enjoy, because we like nature + civilization best, as you know. Love the walking trails and the street art. I’ve done a lot of mosaics (still have a few boxes of beautiful tiles in storage) and am impressed that someone would put that much work into decorating garbage cans. They are beautiful! Oh, and the fireflies are best of all!! So cool that TBG captured their ephemeral light.

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    • I love you enough to forgive your “mispronunciations” LOL The lupine difference I’m used to, having heard it both ways for years, but the PILLeated one will probably always sound “off” to my ear.

      You will love Ashland (and Bayfield and all the little towns up here.) The locals tell us there are some unsavory characters here and there, but for the most part, we’ve found it to be clean, friendly, and pretty. You better get your mosaic tiles out of storage and either use them or get them to someone who will. Craft supplies in storage is a crime against art!

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