The Oregon Shakespeare Festival shouldn’t be the only reason you visit Ashland, but don’t miss it when you’re there. The quirky, hippie-friendly town at the southern tip of the Rogue Valley is centered on its nationally respected theater company, whose eight-month season of 11 plays includes both conventional and provocative renditions of works by the festival’s namesake alongside creative takes on classics, new works, and even popular musicals. During the summer high season, three venues operate, including the outdoor, Globe-inspired Allen Elizabethan Theatre, which this year features lush, large-scale productions of Macbeth and All’s Well That Ends Well. Plays being staged at the Angus Bowmer Theatre include Hairspray: The Broadway Musical and, in its world premiere, Octavio Solis’s Mother Road, a commissioned work inspired by The Grapes of Wrath. And if you get to the Thomas Theatre, try to catch either the buzzy Cambodian Rock Band or the West Coast debut of Christina Anderson’s study of black female creativity, How to Catch Creation.
A north-south, border-to-border bikepacking expedition along the Wild West Route? An eight-day, 100-mile hike, ski, and paddle journey on the Olympic Peninsula just to gaze upon the free-flowing waters of a formerly dammed river? If these escapades sound thrilling—to read about or partake in—then Adventure Journal is for you. But there’s a lot more to this quarterly than its heart-pounding prose and arresting photography. “We’re really talking about the human elements beneath these adventures,” says Steve Casimiro, editor and founder, from his home office in Monarch Beach, California. “Love, fear, identity, striving, relationships—the whats and the whys and what we get out of them.” While the stories from the print magazine aren’t available online, you can visit the Adventure Journal site for news, gear reviews, and its Historical Badass profiles of people like motorcycle pioneers the Van Buren sisters. Who knows: after reading Adventure Journal, maybe you’ll be the next Badass.
Serial killers thrived in the ’70s and ’80s—but they never could have guessed that DNA testing would one day be their downfall. We are in a “renaissance” of catching them, says L.A.-based crime journalist Billy Jensen, and he should know. Jensen has enlisted citizen sleuths on social media to solve (or help solve) 10 homicides in recent years. To push those numbers higher, he has partnered with retired cold case investigator Paul Holes to create the weekly podcast Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad. Each episode explores an open-ended case and solicits help from listeners to identify victims, fill in time lines, and possibly take down perps. The men met while investigating the Golden State Killer—Jensen helped finish late writer Michelle McNamara’s bestselling book on the subject, and Holes teamed with the FBI to identify the long-elusive suspect in the case, Joseph DeAngelo.
Of all the morning’s emails, California Sun is consistently the most useful, informative, and enjoyable to read. The newsletter is a smart selection of Golden State–related news, history, long-form articles, and links to vintage photos and YouTube videos we didn’t know we’d been missing, like the sepia-toned mug shots of female San Quentin inmates wearing huge hats or the rainbows emerging from the mist of Yosemite Falls. Created by Mike McPhate, formerly of the New York Times, California Sun has recently branched out with reporting of its own, both on its website and with a podcast. When it comes to curating your own in-box, California Sun is a worthy addition.
*Since its inclusion on this list, Alta has embarked on a marketing partnership with the California Sun.