A busier Sunday than expected when J's movers woke him at 7. We scrambled to get our things and ourselves out of the way - it seemed the best option since he'd already hired people to do the laboring. We absented ourselves for more bagels (not as good, since Bagel Junction is closed Sundays and Mondays, but decent with egg, cream cheese and cranberry sauce) and coffee. The Grants Pass bakery we went to is also the gallery for a local photographer who's work we found interesting - lots of photoshop effects and creative and amusing posing.
A quick Internet search helped firm our plans for what remained of the day after the movers had finished: a short drive to the nearby Howling Wolf Sanctuary followed by our tour of the Rogue Creamery and then an early return to P___. The Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary was an amazing experience. I had another glimpse of a well mannered and confident teen in Alex, our tour guide, who introduced us to the 28 wolves of the sanctuary and told us the history of the sanctuary and the wolves within it. Viewing photos and reading their stories cannot do the wolves justice. To stand within feet of a wolf and hear that a man had over 60 of these majestic creatures chained to posts in his backyard to kill for their pelts has cured me forever of any desire to wear fur. To see movement from the corner of your eye and experience the heart stopping realization that a wolf is walking there is to touch on what wilderness is and to mourn all that we have lost. A has taken some amazing pictures of the wolves - this is only one. Take a look at this for more information.
That experience could not be topped, but I'm pretty sure our visit to the Rogue Creamery would have be a disappointment nonetheless. It was the weekend, so this small artisan creamery was not in operation, but their cheese shop was open with several cheeses, honeys and other misc available for tasting. Don't get me wrong - the cheese is fantastic! We were just hoping to learn more about how they make such fantastic cheese. And I was hoping for a menu inspired by their cheese offerings. But alas, a few tastings and we were on our way...on our way next door to Lilibelle Chocolates. Again, no tours or lectures, but delicious tastings. We tried the salted dark chocolate covered lavender caramels, which were fantastic and a couple other chocolates I can't remember. But I wanted something a little more...stimulating. I asked about shop favorites and we purchased one to try. The SmokeyBlueCheese Truffle combined the award winning Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue with chocolate in a way that brings tears to my eyes. It is possibly the perfect food. I can't say enough, but words also cannot express my joy.
Close of day in a Jewish deli in quaint Jacksonville which has the great fair trade shops in a beautiful classic downtown setting. I am humbled and amazed yet again at the presence of kindred values in unexpected places. I loved this glimpse of SW Oregon and look forward to getting to know it better.