Jonathan Warren purchased the Bard's Inn in 1986. A trained chef, Jonathan saw the potential to offer great dining and accommodations in Ashland. He started Jonathan's Restaurant, a fine-dining establishment, in what is now our breakfast room. Even as he ran the restaurant, Jonathan oversaw major renovations to the hotel, transforming the original Bard's Inn into the Bard's Inn Nottingham, an attractive and comfortable Ashland destination. At the same time Jonathan re-purposed a residential unit on the Bard's property, opening the Bard's Inn Juliet in 1987.
Jonathan soon found his hotels to be in high demand. In 1988, Jonathan purchased a third hotel building with larger rooms and a view overlooking downtown Ashland. After renovation, this building would open as the Bard's Inn Somerset. The Somerset has recently been remodeled a second time, with sumptuous colors and fine new appointments.
In 1993, Jonathan opened the Bard's Inn Verona, which has since become an Ashland landmark. Situated at the entrance to town on North Main Street, the Verona greets visitors to Ashland with a stunning mural of the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. The mural was painted in 2007 by artist Robert Beckman, whose work also graces the U.S. Botanic Gardens in Washington, D.C.
In a city where parking is at a premium, the four Bard's Inn locations are conveniently located near Ashland's major attractions: the Shakespeare Festival, the downtown Plaza and Main Street shopping, the Railroad District, and gorgeous Lithia Park.
A breif history of Ashland
Ashland was settled in the 1850's with the Gold Rush. In 1887, Ashland became a significant rail depot on the line from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon.
For decades, the Ashland community thrived on the rail trade, shipping out local produce such as pears, peaches, and apples. That came to an end in 1926 when an alternate rail line was established through Klamath Falls, to avoid the steep climb over the Siskiyou mountains south of Ashland. Facing economic decline, Ashland's community leaders sought other means to attract visitors and business to this uniquely beautiful area. In 1935, Angus Bowmer arranged for three nights of Shakespeare performances as part of the city's July 4th festivities. The plays were an instant commercial success, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival was born. Today, the Festival is an award-winning, internationally renowned Shakespearean company, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every year from around the globe.