There’s a little saying that goes a little something like this -“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” This weekend, I was feeling a bit sour. What was supposed to be a super relaxing and beautiful weekend spent on a tropical island ended up being a little less ideal. I was disappointed to wake up Friday morning with pink eye and my Dr. appointment later that day led to a worse discovery – I had bronchitis for the second time in the past five months! This news wasn’t exactly welcomed with a smile. Our trip was cancelled and I was one unhappy girl.
After a few days of rest and meds, I was almost feeling back to 90%. Even though I wasn’t up for a full-fledged vacation, Jeff and I wanted to salvage our weekend as best we could. We decided that Monday would be a day of adventure.
As much as we love cute beach towns, national parks and hiking throughout beautiful California, we wanted to do something different. After one too many Google searches, we decided that we’d head up to Solvang and explore a new place.
Solvang is about 30 miles from Santa Barbara and it is located in the the Santa Ynez Valley. Home to the Chumash Reservation and Casino, Lake Cachuma, and many wineries, this place is popular amongst California residents.
What initially drew us to Solvang did not disappoint us when we arrived. Unlike most downtowns I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, this one was truly theme-oriented. Almost everything there is designed to either look or taste Danish. We were instantly in awe of the rich culture and European vibes. If you’re looking for a day date, weekend trip, or just want a stop somewhere cool during a road trip, don’t miss this Danish village.
This is how we spent our day:
Santa Inés Mission
Just on the outskirts of town lies the historic Santa Inés Mission. Established in 1804, this mission is a beautiful building that reflects a great deal of history. We enjoyed walking around the mission grounds and taking in the history of this place. Originally built from adobe and brick, the walls and tile roofs captivated me. I absolutely loved the Spanish architecture.
Bit o’ Denmark
After walking around the city and enjoying the beautiful buildings, we had trouble deciding where to eat. There are Danish restaurants located all throughout town. There is even a neat outdoor area called the Copenhagen Sausage Garden which reminds me of Oktoberfest. It serves, you guessed it, sausage and beer. However, we opted for a nice sit down restaurant instead where we could enjoy air conditioning and a larger menu. After some contemplation, I decided to order the Frikadeller which is another word for Danish Meatballs. It was paired with cabbage and mashed potatoes. Though a different kind of meal than I would typically order, the meatballs were delicious. This authentic cuisine cost me $14 and was priced very similar to many other options in town.
Mortensen’s Danish Bakery
Full of danishes, eclairs, bear claws and cookies, this place had plenty of options to satisfy my sweet tooth. Though I was full and wasn’t quite ready for dessert, I loved browsing through the different pastries and knew I had to take something for the road. I chose the Raspberry Danish because how can you go go wrong with something that smells so good? There are tons of other bakeries located in Solvang, as well, so you have plenty of options to choose from!
Though I can’t say I particularly enjoy wine, I am all about new experiences. Even though I have been to different vineyards, I have never actually taken part in a traditional wine tasting experience. We passed this winery on our way into town and wanted to check it out before we left. After paying $15 a piece, we were able to roam the property and sip on 6 different wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Like the mission, the vineyard also had beautiful Spanish architecture with tile roofs. There was a lovely grass area outside the tasting room where Jeff and I sat and talked. For those of you that want to eat and drink, you can enjoy a scenic picnic at the lunch tables outside. The property is located in an ideal spot with stunning views of the valley. We enjoyed a warm day with a light breeze.
Solvang was a pleasant treat for us as we stepped outside of our norm and ventured into a town with style, charm and history. Whether you like Danish food, European architecture, wine tasting, or quaint shops, this place has something special for you to enjoy!