Memorial Day Happenings

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is all most here.  First and foremost, on Monday, 5/29/17, at Noon in Solvang Park–join with officials, veterans, family and friends to commemorate all men and women who have died in military service for the USA. This ceremony is free, everyone is welcome to attend and will feature a performance by the Santa Ynez Wind Ensemble; speakers Rear Adm. Brian Brown, vice commander of the Joint Forces Component Command for Space at Vandenberg Air Force Base; Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans; and members of American Legion Post 160 and the Boy Scouts of America. A flyover of vintage military aircraft is also anticipated. A heartfelt thank you to all who have served esepcially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Throughout this Memorial holiday weekend, there’s certainly plenty of places and opportunities to celebrate with a  picnic! If your family is like mine, picnics in the park are a favorite. There are choices aplenty for perfect picnic settings around Solvang. First of all, did you know ALL Solvang parks are FREE and open to the public daily? Solvang Park & Gazebo right in the center of town on Mission Drive at First Street. For a more active group, check out Hans Christian Andersen Park at 775 Atterdag Road, with a skate park, play areas and tennis courts within easy walking distance of downtown. Then, there’s the super-fun, built by the community Sunny Fields Park on Alamo Pintado Road with a Danish-themed wooden play structure, swings, rope bridge, picnic area, ball field and three brand new beach volleyball courts. For more details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/

Fascinating Fauna!

So you’re driving east into Solvang on Highway 246, you glance over and see a rather surprising sight–dozens of ostriches grazing in a field! You’ll definitely want to pull over and visit OstrichLand USA, where a highlight is getting to feed the resident emus and ostriches. Did you know ostriches are the largest & fastest birds in the world and can weigh up to 350 pounds and live up to 75 years? If you think this place looks familiar, you may have seen it featured in the Oscar-winning movie Sideways as well as The Simpsons TV show and most recently, The Great Food Truck Race in 2016. Then, a bit further along Highway 246 is Flag Is Up Farms, home of Monty Roberts, the “Man Who Listens to Horses,” where you’re welcome to see the equine facilities and trainers in action. And for some FREE, total cute moments, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-3:00 p.m., you can visit Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch over on Alamo Pintado Road, a fascinating breeding facility for 34-inch-and-under horses! Guaranteed family fun for kids of all ages. For more details and ideas, check out http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/family-fun/ 

Wine Country Marathon & Mother’s Day, Oh My!

So much is happening around these parts here in the merry month of May! For the runner in you, it’s the 11th annual Wine Country Half Marathon crossing the finish line in Solvang on Saturday morning, 5/13/17. The race begins in Santa Ynez and the course winds through Los Olivos and Ballard Canyon before finishing on Copenhagen Drive followed by a celebratory wine festival in Solvang Park. (Registration is still open, so run fast & sign up!)

Sunday, 5/14/17 is Mother’s Day, so remember to remember Mom and celebrate her with some special treats. Here in Solvang, shopping for a gift for Mom (or the Mom-like) person in your life is made pretty simple by choices at 150+ shops, 20 wine tasting rooms and restaurants. (According to my mom, a gift certificate is often the best idea so she can get what she really wants!) Check out all the options here: or better yet, bring Mom for a visit to Solvang—creating lasting memories that you can share year-round!

Velkommen Rancheros Visitadores!

This Saturday (5/6/17), head into downtown Solvang around 3pm to welcome more than 700 members of the Rancheros Visitadores “visiting ranchers” for their free equestrian parade. You can greet them as they head north along Alisal Road then east on Mission Drive to Old Mission Santa Ines for a gathering and blessing by the padres. Watch these handsome horses, riders and carriages stride by—once again, they will be attired in pink shirts to support the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara at Sansum Clinic to raise money for local breast cancer patients.

Afterward, the Rancheros will canter/trot/gallop along the Santa Ynez River trail for their week-long trek and encampment nearby. This long-time private men’s membership club is gathering here for the 87th time to celebrate horsemanship, western heritage and ranching traditions. For all the happenings around town anytime, be sure to visit http://www.solvangusa.com/events/

Naturally Wonderful: Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

Just 15 minutes from downtown Solvang, you and yours can discover all the natural wonders of Cachuma Lake Recreation Areawith winter rains, the lake itself is over 50% full and vibrant as ever. There’s so much to do (or not to do) at Cachuma—from hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing and fishing plus amazing guided nature cruises aboard The Osprey, a 30-passenger pontoon boat. You can see deer, herons, hawks, and the resident bald eagle pair if you’re lucky (not to mention some amazing flora, especially this year). Cachuma is a gorgeous place for a relaxing day or a picnic on the shore, a hike or a stroll.There is a general store, marina plus the very interactive Neal Taylor Nature Center. Year-round, there’s free Nature Hikes leaving from the Center at 10am on Saturday mornings plus the Junior Ranger Program. Park admission is only $10 per car and so worth it! For more details and directions, visit www.solvangusa.com/directory/cachuma-lake-recreation-area/

Solvang 3rd Wednesday—More Deals to “Walk. Shop. Wine & Dine!”

You definitely need to mark the 3rd Wednesday of each month on your calendar, since great deals abound here in Solvang—and starting tomorrow (4/19/17)—there’s even more to enjoy! Check out this new restaurant deal–for only $25.00++ per person at Mad & Vin at The Landsby and Succulent Café –you can savor three-course tasting menus including ingredients sourced straight from the Solvang Farmers Market that day. To kick off this new restaurant experience, when you purchase Wine & Beer Walk tickets for the April 19th event at www.solvang-wine-walk.eventbrite.com you’ll be entered to win a free dinner for two at either Succulent Café or Mad & Vin at The Landsby – including a bottle of wine from either Wandering Dog Wine Bar or Lucas & Lewellen. (Prize package may be redeemed on any Solvang 3rd Wednesday).

Of course, all your favorite Solvang 3rd Wednesday offers continue with plenty of deals at local merchants; free admission to the Wildling Museum; the weekly Solvang Village Farmers Market and the best way to add some cheer, the popular Wine & Beer Walk. Plus, experience 3rd Wednesday savings at some of Solvang’s best hotels. For more details on all the happenings, visit www.solvang3rdwednesday.com  

Cheers to the Vintners Spring Weekend!

You can’t miss the “bud break” and “leafy shoots” happening in the vineyards surrounding us here in Solvang— so you know what that means! It’s time for the 35th annual Vintners Spring Weekend. This year, a full 4-day celebration of our local wines is April 20-23, 2017 with a special emphasis on new releases! Sponsored by the non-profit Santa Barbara Vintners organization, there are so many exciting events and activities on offer— you’ll definitely want to come stay, sip and swirl around Solvang for awhile! Don’t miss “The Grand Tasting” Festival event on Saturday, 4/22/17 featuring over 100 wineries and winemakers, more than thirty food purveyors and chefs; and live music at River View Park in nearby Buellton.

Saturday evening , check out the Big Bottle Bash at K’Syrah, Solvang’s new special event venue, featuring large format wines brought by guests and winery representatives paired with a delicious family style dinner. All weekend long there are vineyard tours, winemaker dinners, barrel tastings and special open houses throughout the area. So, you need to make hotel reservations now and get your tickets in advance. Click here for all the details!