Where Every Shopping Day is Small Business Saturday!

Solvang's Alisal Road features a Danish windmill.In Solvang, every day is easy to shop as if its Small Business Saturday*. With more than 100 independent and family owned boutiques, art and antique galleries, chain stores are virtually non-existent  here (in fact they are banned by municipal code, so no worries about Solvang turning into a giant mall). I love strolling along the main shop ‘til you drop zones of Copenhagen Drive, Mission Drive and Alisal Road (pictured at right).  My family and friends around the country say they eagerly anticipate my gifts under the tree since they know I love to shop local for one-of-a-kind treasures that they’ve never ever seen (like an aebleskiver pan!)  And did you know Solvang has a year-round Christmas store? Where will you do your next session of retail therapy? Here’s some clues http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/shopping/

*Dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

“Celebrating Solvang” is written by Laura Kath, author of 19 non-fiction travel guides and area resident since 1985.

Solvang on Ice

ice skate with hollyNo mittens required. Seriously, the weather here in the winter does NOT feature ice and snow, but this year you CAN ice skate for the first time in Solvang Park. I can’t wait for December 6-8, 2013, when there will be an ice rink In the middle of town at the corner of Mission Drive and First Street. Strap on skates and sail around sans parka. “Solvang on Ice” is a brand-new event during the annual Julefest Celebration (say Yule-fest and you’ll sound like a native). The cost for a 45-minute glide (including rental skates) between 9:00 a.m.-9:45 p.m. is only $9 for ages 12 & under and $12 for ages 13 & up. I highly suggest that you reserve tickets in advance since this is the closest you’ll get ice skating for miles around–in the place Time Magazine called the “Most Christmas-y Town in America.”  And be sure to check out ALL the great activities happening during Solvang’s Julefest during the month of December! Are you ready to glide?  www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/julefest/

single leg of ice skater

Farm Fresh Fare

Solvang_FarmersMarket2You know you’re in the right place when local chefs are next to you picking out fruits, veggies, cheeses and meats for their restaurant menus. You have to savor the fact that you can create an entire meal from a one-block long foodie zone—also known as the Solvang Village Farmers Market. When you’re in town any Wednesday between 2:30-6:00 p.m., you can’t miss the bounty on First Street between Copenhagen and Mission Drives. Right now, the apples are so crisp and don’t get me started on the homemade pies for sale (serving suggestion—topped with some fresh melted cheese, also available at the market). Party planning tip: check out all the fresh cut flowers (love those sunflowers) as well as the potted plants here year-round that make natural centerpieces. I deliberately make a point to stroll down one side of the market “aisle,” and then back up the opposite side so I don’t miss anything and can compare the fresh fare.  What will you put on your table this week? www.solvangusa.com/listings/index.cfm?action=display&listingID=565&menuID=0&hit=1

SolvangFarmersMarket 7-09

Discover The Wildling

wildling-museum-solvang-caWelcome to the brand-new blog Celebrating Solvang! Be sure to visit frequently for our latest local insider tips in “California’s Little Denmark.” Velkommen!

Have you spotted this carved, wooden sign as you’re strolling along Mission Drive near Fifth Street in downtown Solvang? Do not hesitate for a second and enter into the new Solvang home of the Wildling Museum “where art and nature meet.” Formerly in Los Olivos, this newly expanded three-story art space is so open with lots of natural light you’ll be amazed to discover everything inside. Check out the current exhibition “Santa Ynez River Wilderness” featuring original works created by members of the famed Oak Group. Upstairs, there’s room for classes—Art on the Wild Side every Saturday morning is great for kids ages 4+ and only $5—plus the museum is available for private party rentals and meetings, too. There’s some really original art and jewelry in the gift shop, just in time for holiday shopping. It’s so great to have the Wildling as our fifth museum in Solvang. Can you name all of them? http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/heritage-arts-culture/