Sparkling Wines in Solvang

sparkling wineSurrounded by some of finest vineyards in the world—especially known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah varietals—16 tasting rooms in downtown Solvang offer some delicious local sparkling wine options, too! Just in time for your 2014 New Year celebration, here’s a few bubbly ideas: At Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room, experience their 2011 Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, made in the traditional French méthode champenoise style from a cuvée of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from nearby Los Alamos Vineyards. At the Wandering Dog Wine Bar, you can try out the “Bubbles Flight” of 3 ounces each of three sparklers including an Italian, an authentic French  champagne and the very festive local Flying Goat Cellars “Goat Bubbles” from the Santa Maria Valley. Be sure to stroll and taste some local vintages to bring some cheer to your new year! Check out all the details here: http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/wine-country/wineries-and-tasting-rooms/

Old Mission Santa Inés: A Cultural Treasure

OldMissionSantaInes-Solvang-creditSYVVA-DaveRetzHave you ever wondered why there is a Spanish-Colonial style mission in the center of the Danish-style village of Solvang? Honestly? Old Mission Santa Inés was here first! When Danish-American settlers arrived in Solvang in 1911, an impressive structure dominated the south-eastern border—Old Mission Santa Inés (Saint Agnes in English) that was founded in 1804 by Spanish missionaries, the 19th mission in the famous chain of 21 California missions throughout the state. The Mission and its surrounding land soon became a highly successful agricultural community; harvests were plentiful and livestock numbered in the thousands. In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain, and over a period of years secularized all the California Missions. Mission buildings fell into disrepair, their lands were taken or given away, and inhabitants dispersed. Although never abandoned, Mission Santa Inés was severely impacted. The Capuchin Franciscan Friars (1924-present) have continued restoring Mission Santa Inés buildings and gardens, and have established a museum featuring a rich collection of paintings, statuary, vestments, manuscripts, and artifacts of the native Chumash, Spanish and Mexican heritage. Our Mission is now a National Historic Landmark District. Don’t miss a chance to visit this treasure here in Solvang!  http://www.solvangusa.com/listings/index.cfm?action=display&listingID=413&menuID=207&hit=1

Solvang Third Wednesday is Holiday Stress Relief

IMG_0458Tenley Fohl Photography_S3W-Wine+Beer Walk GlassesCan you believe that Christmas is only a week away? Truly, I’m not trying to add to your holiday season stress—just the opposite! Tomorrow (December 18) is Solvang Third Wednesday where all day long you can enjoy shopping, saving money and having fun with specials & deals at more than 60 merchants (no chain stores here, so you know you’ll be seeing really unique gifts!) Plus, it’s the weekly Solvang Village Farmers Market  and the popular Wine & Beer Walk (where you can taste at five out of 14 different venues for only $20 including souvenir glass) And if you really want to de-stress in the place Time Magazine named “One of the Most Christmas-y Towns in America” plan to linger, lounge, spend the night and take advantage of Third Wednesday deals at some of Solvang’s best hotels. Free parking throughout Solvang (all year-round) and some of the friendliest shopkeepers you’ll ever meet. Are you feeling a bit less stressed already?  Solvang, CaliforniaWhat’s on your list? Fulfill it here! http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/shopping/

Delicious and Delight-Filled!

melted smoresOur “Little Denmark’s” annual Julefest (Yule-fest) is in full swing now (have you seen the community tree in Solvang Park or checked out the parade last Saturday to really get in the holiday spirit?) Speaking of spirits, coming up this weekend is the Holiday Wine Walk on Saturday & Sunday (and it’s already sold out)

PLUS on Saturday from 4:00-7:00 p.m., make plans to celebrate at the newest Julefest event—S’moresFest in Solvang Park–where you & yours can make delicious combos of chocolate bars, marshmallows & graham crackers/pastry substances roasted over an open fire served with hot chocolate (oh, be still my arteries!) while listening to old school rock & roll music by the Molly Ringwald Project band. Tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 at the Park entrance; and are selling quick as you can say s ‘mores—so visit http://julefestsolvang.com or call First Street Tickets at 805-693-8084.

Plus, for even more spirit, experience the 27th Annual Solvang Nativity Pageant–a free, live portrayal of the Christmas story brought SolvangNativityPageant-HolyFamilySceneto the stage with live actors, animals and incredible narration by beloved actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. at the Solvang Festival Theater, 420 Second Street at 5pm and 7pm. For all the delight-filled Julefest events this season, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/julefest/

Lighting Up!

Solvang Community Tree LIghting Ceremony Features BallerinasHave you noticed the nip in the air now? Yet it feels perfect for the start of 2013 Solvang Julefest! (Say Yule-fest and you’ll sound like a native). Did you see the living Christmas trees sprouting in front of 100+ businesses? It’s the third year for this display and such a fragrant one (not to mention the amazing creative decorations).Speaking of living trees, this Friday at 5:00 p.m. it’s time to light the Community Tree in Solvang Park. Don’t miss the caroling, live entertainment and dancing ballerinas. This year’s Julefest Parade starts on Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. with participants marching, rolling, trotting and strolling west along festively decorated Mission Drive; to Fourth Place then east on Copenhagen Drive. I’m really looking forward to announcing the parade again, too! Don’t forget, Solvang on Ice, our first-ever public ice skating rink is ready for you to glide on December 6-8. For all the fun and festive Julefest events, visit  http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/julefest/