Spring Has Sprung~Time for Family Fun!

It’s official, Spring has sprung here! Of course, year-round, there’s plenty of room to run, jump, play and experience family fun in Solvang, yet especially this time since it’s “spring break,” vacations are in full bloom. Do be sure to enjoy the wildflowers practically everywhere you look!  One of my favorite places for viewing nature’s colorful flora is off Figueroa Mountain Road in the nearby Los Padres National Forest.  Remember, all Solvang public parks around town have free admission and are open daily sunrise to sunset. Solvang’s Hans Christian Andersen Park is a woodsy green space with picnic areas, tennis courts, a playground and free Skate Park for boarders.

The whimsical wooden playground and ball field at Sunny Fields Park is one of our personal family favorites—and just dedicated this week, you can play volleyball on brand new courts called “Sunny Beach.” Did you know that 2008 Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist Todd Rogers hails from Solvang? (see photo at left)

 

For some two-horse powered fun that kids of all ages can enjoy, hop aboard the Solvang Trolley–a historic wooden streetcar pulled by a pair of impressive draft horses. If you’re feeling really adventurous, how about the two-wheel Segway of Solvang tour? Visit nearby OstrichLand USA to see & feed the largest & fastest birds in the world. Discover Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch offering free viewing of 34-inch-and-under equines from 10am-3pm Monday-Saturday.  For more ideas, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/family-fun/

Delicious! Taste of Solvang is THIS Week! March 15-19, 2017

THE most delicious, desirable “foodie” events are happening from Wednesday, March 15 through Sunday, March 19, 2017 during the 25th annual Taste of Solvang! Tickets are still available—so get yours today! Remember, there’s the popular Farmers Market Chef Walk & Dinner on Wednesday, 3/15 with Chef Pink of Bacon & Brine.  Then on Thursday evening, 3/16, Learn To Blind Taste Like a Sommelier at Wandering Dog Wine Bar.

Sip + Savor Opening Night with 25 Santa Ynez Valley chefs, bakers, caterers, winemakers, and brewers plus music from the Sean Wiggins Band is Friday evening 3/1. The Tasting Trail with 30+ taste stops around the village is Saturday, 3/18 from 11am-4pm. The always popular Wine & Beer Walk on Saturday & Sunday has extended hours this year. On Saturday evening, there’ll be a Buttonwood Farm Winery Winemaker Dinner at Cecco Ristorante AND on Sunday morning, 3/19 at 11am, Brunch at Mad & Vin at The Landsby.

Purchase your Taste of Solvang ticket package OR individual event tickets “ala carte”  now. Get more tasty, tempting details and buy your tix here: www.solvangusa.com/taste-of-solvang-2017

Two-wheeled Fun!

Solvang, CaliforniaRiding your bike year-round is truly fun here in Solvang and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley. Whether you’re astride a beach cruiser, skinny-tire road cycle or a rugged mountain bike, savor year-round warm sun, blue skies, quiet country roads loaded with spectacular scenery as well as some challenging dips and climbs. Many pro bicycling teams train on our local roads and mountain passes. Plenty of amateur bike riding camps and vacation bike tours headquarter here. Be on the lookout for those matching kits (cycling outfits)! Did you know that Solvang proudly hosted the Individual Time Trial Stage of the professional cyclists’ Amgen Tour of California in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011? Some of the largest amateur rides (think 3,000+) in the USA visit us every year including the Solvang Century (coming up on 3/11/17). Bring your own wheels or rent a set from local shops (maybe even a 4-wheel surrey cycle for the whole family)! And if you really want an amazing adventure on two wheels, climb aboard a Segway of Solvang self-balancing personal transport vehicle (Yes, I’ve ridden one and it’s a blast!) For some two-wheeled route ideas, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/cycling/

Tempt Your Palate at 25th Annual Taste of Solvang: March 15-19, 2017

Solvang, CaliforniaHave you reserved your ticket yet for THE most delicious, desirable events happening during the 25th annual Taste of Solvang from Wednesday, March 15 through Sunday, March 19, 2017?  PLUS, there’s a new event—just added! Thursday Evening with the Sommelier Featuring a Blind Tasting of Bordeaux Library Wines & Current Releases  at Lions Peak Vineyards.

SolvangFarmersMarket 7-09Remember, there’s the popular Farmers Market Chef Walks on Wednesday, 3/15—this year choose from Chef Pink of Bacon and Brine or Chef Steven Snook of First & Oak; a Learn To Blind Taste Like a Sommelier at Wandering Dog Wine Bar on Thursday, 3/16; Sip + Savor Opening Night with 25 Santa Ynez Valley chefs, bakers, caterers, winemakers, and brewers on Friday evening 3/17; Tasting Trail with 30+ taste stops around the village on Saturday afternoon 3/18; the popular Beer & Wine Walk on Saturday & Sunday with extended hours. On Saturday evening, there’ll be a Buttonwood Farm Winery Winemaker Dinner at Cecco Ristorante AND on Sunday morning, choose from Sunday Brew Brunch at The Backroom at Valley Brewers or Sunday Brunch at Mad & Vin at The Landsby. taste-of-solvang-ca banner

Purchase your Taste of Solvang ticket package OR individual event “ala carte” tickets now since these palate pleasing events are sell-outs. Get more delicious details and buy your tix here: www.solvangusa.com/taste-of-solvang-2017

Discover Arts & Antiques & Treasures

Solvang, CaliforniaSolvang has more than 150 independent and family-owned boutiques (chain stores are virtually non-existent here). There are some special places where you can discover amazing art and antiques to grace your home and office or for special gifts. At the award-winning Z Folio Gallery  be dazzled with Czech art glass, handmade designer jewelry, innovative decor and giclée nature photography along with designer trunk shows and exhibitions. Solvang Antiques  is a premier collective featuring restored clocks, music boxes, estate jewelry, American and European furniture, silver, lighting and glass. Judith Hale Gallery (within Solvang Antiques) offers paintings, prints, sculpture and other mediums for discerning collectors. A Piece of the Past is an antique and vintage mall with 4,000+ square feet with two dozen different dealers of delights. Artistic Pony Studio has quality handcrafted jewelry, pottery and glassware from 30 artists; Art Hus is a co-op artists ‘collective offering truly unique items. Be sure to check out these Solvang fine art galleries: Christopher L. T. Brown; Gerlach Photography Nature Gallery; Pavlov Art Gallery; and Thomas Kinkade: Places in the Heart. Discover more details here:http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/shopping/

 

Say I Do in “Little Denmark”

happy-valentines-day-everyone-vectorSince today (2/14/17) is Valentine’s Day, your thoughts can turn to love and marriage if you’re like me! Admit it, at some point, you (or someone you know) has dreamed of jetting off to Europe and tying the knot. Yet flying to Europe to get married can be time and cost prohibitive. Yet it doesn’t have to be if you “get hitched” here in Solvang, California’s Little Denmark. Combining amazing Scandinavian architecture, incredibly scenic venues, and mild year-round weather with friendly, professional services is the recipe for any memorable special event.

From just you two or 200 or so, I think you’ll “fall in love” with choice of 18 exceptional hotels plus even more places with banquet/meetings rooms and outdoor areas. Consider some of these options: the gardens at the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, the Wildling Museum art-filled rooms; Solvang Festival Theater (private reception area under the oaks), Solvang Park (with its charming gazebo), Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall (so versatile, great hardwood floors for dancing) or Hans Christian Andersen Park (delightful shady picnic groves easily reserved) or historic churches including Old Mission Santa Ines and Bethania Lutheran (pictured at left). Solvang_BethaniaChurch

The staff at the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau is happy to offer recommendations and referrals. Just call 1-800-468-6765 and make your wedding dreams reality in Little Denmark! 

 

Loving Those Sweet Treats

Sweet-Solvang_1136You’re probably very well aware that Tuesday is February 14—Valentine’s Day! So, have you shopped for something special for your sweetheart (or sweetheart-to-be) yet? Sharing a treat is a delicious way to show you care—and it’s so easy to do here in Solvang since this is the place to satisfy sweet cravings year-round. So many of us crave chocolate! 2013 Taste of Solvang Pro Winner Dessert-Ingeborgs Dark-Light TrufflesDiscover family-owned/operated Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates that has been using authentic recipes for handmade confections since 1961 (how can you possibly choose between mile or dark chocolate truffles made with filled with so many options?) Also founded in 1961 (what was going on that year?) is the Old Danish Fudge Kitchen that makes the real deal using an impressive copper pot heated over a gas-burning stove mixing 25-pound batches with all-natural ingredients; then poured onto marble tables for cooling (you can watch and sample, try the chocolate peanut butter or yummy dark chocolate and other specialty blends.) And if you can’t make it to Solvang in person right now, both of these shops will ship direct to your sweetheart!IMG_6523Tenley Fohl Photography_Taste of Solvang 2013And of course, Solvang’s five authentic Danish bakeries have plenty of options too!

If you’re really stumped, you can definitely make reservations for breakfast/lunch or dinner treats at one of Solvang’s incredibly diverse restaurants! For more delicious details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/dining