Since posting in December about places to stay and walk to breweries in Southern Oregon (because there are quite a few!), we’ve spent time with our awesome neighbors across the street at Inn at the Commons. This newly-renovated, downtown Medford hub of visitors is loads of fun year-round, and it’s a stone’s throw away from our front door.
We chatted with the newly designated Bike-Friendly hotel (which borders the Bear Creek Greenway for cycling, running, strolling, etc.) about how the Inn came to be, what they love in and around Medford, and what passers-through can look forward to when staying at Inn at the Commons.
Tell us a bit about the property and how Inn at the Commons came to be…
Originally built in 1968 as a motor lodge, the hotel had already become a gathering center in Medford for large conferences and annual community events before we took it over. In July of 2013, Doug and Becky Neuman purchased what was then a Red Lion and went about an enormous renovation project that continues to this day. Becky Neuman’s talent for restoring historic properties came in handy! She and the Neuman Hotel Group team put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into overhauling a once-neglected set of buildings into the hip and happening inn it is today.
In partnership with the City of Medford, we tore down some existing structures, and planned a new parking lot (which is currently being built.) Only 118 guest rooms from the original 185 were kept. Drawing from the farm-to-table restaurant concept established at Larks Restaurant inside the Ashland Springs Hotel, our management team and the Larks team took over what was a former restaurant/bar/coffee shop and opened a second Larks Restaurant. Beyond that, all banquet spaces, the lobby, guest rooms, the breakfast room, the facades and some landscaping were completely overhauled. Sometime in 2016, we’ll be building an outdoor courtyard for those warm summer evenings by the pool, too.
What are some highlights of being in downtown Medford?
The biggest highlight for us is that we get to play an active role in Medford’s huge economic transformation. We sort of think of downtown Medford as being like the Pearl District of Portland was 10 years ago – we see enormous potential for growth here. In the early 2000’s, downtown Medford wasn’t exactly a place you would call a bustling hive of activity (at least not compared to other bigger cities), but that is definitely changing. People are coming here for the local food scene, for the arts, for shopping, for business. There are great shops and coffee houses and businesses popping up here these days; it’s very exciting to watch it all happening! And we think the outdoor concert lawn right across from the Common Block has the potential to attract really large numbers of people. We also feel that with Inn at the Commons’ potential to bring large conferences right into downtown Medford, we can play a part in helping other businesses thrive.
Which not-to-be-missed places do you encourage guests to see?
Medford as a town is going through a fantastic revitalization – the city and certain investors have poured millions of dollars into the downtown Commons area, creating outdoor spaces for gathering, entertainment, and play. Hawthorne Park is one great example of these efforts. So one thing we encourage our guests to do is to see Medford on foot. Get out and walk around! There’s so much fun to be had in the downtown area!
Medford has a lot to offer travelers, beyond being a gateway to Ashland, the Applegate Valley, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Britt Music Festival, the breathtaking Oregon outdoors, or the metropolises north. Since those are the attractions most people from out-of-state already know about, we like to brag on our thriving artisan food scene, Southern Oregon wine country, and of course, all the local breweries and brew pubs. So we’ll direct our guests to places like Jefferson Spirits, Elements Tapas Bar, The Bohemian Club, Capers, Habanero’s, Porter’s, Beerworks, Kaleidoscope Pizzeria, and soon, Common Block Brewing!! And for the serious foodies, trips to Butte Creek Mill, Lillie Belle Farms Artisan Chocolates, and Rogue Creamery are musts. And also the Medford Grower’s and Crafter’s Market on Thurs. and Sat. mornings, and Dunbar Farms’ “Honor Barn Farm Stand.”
We also like to point out that there’s a pretty hoppin’ antique scene, with several antique dealers within blocks of each other right in downtown Medford.
What are some guest packages visitors should know about?
We’re guessing your heated outdoor pool is the place to be in the summertime. What kinds of activities do you recommend for guests in the winter season?
Inn at the Commons just qualified with our state’s tourism board, Travel Oregon, as a Bike Friendly Business and we encourage our guests to take advantage of the Bear Creek Greenway just behind the Inn, winter or summer (when in Rome…).
In winter, we encourage guests to visit Mt. Ashland for top rate skiing and snowboarding, or to try the trails at Buck Prairie for cross-country skiing. And indoors, there’s Rogue Air trampoline park, or taking a tour of Harry & David, which is part of another package we offer.
Thanks to Inn at the Commons! Visit their website or call for more info: (541) 779-9811