Fascinating Fauna for Family Fun!

ostrich-land-ostrichesYou’re driving east into Solvang on Highway 246 and there’s something surreal about glancing over and seeing a hundred ostriches grazing in a field! You’ll definitely want to pull over and visit OstrichLand USA (featured in the movie Sideways and The Simpsons TV show), where a highlight is getting to feed the 25 resident emus and 100+ ostriches—did you know they are the largest and fastest birds in the world and can weigh up to 350 pounds and live up to 75 years? Then, a bit further up the road 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 a free total cute fix, every day 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! Check out http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/family-fun/

Solvang’s Going to the Dogs! Welcome Greyhounds!

2014_decal01-250x250If you’re a dog lover or just like four-legged friends, you don’t want to miss seeing more than 200 hounds and their humans this weekend (February 21-23) at the 10th Annual Solvang Greyhound Fest. Plus, the public (that’s you and your family) are welcome to watch many of the free, fun activities. For example, on Friday at 1:30 p.m. stop by Old Mission Santa Ines when Father Gerald will bless the hounds. One of my faves is The Solvang Streak, held on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Sunny Fields Park on Alamo Pintado Road where you can watch the hounds leisurely walk, trot or flat out run just for fun. On Sunday morning starting at 9:00 a.m., it’s a canine spectacular when the greyhounds and their human families take a morning stroll throughout the village and then gather for a final “roo” at Solvang Park.  You have to hear them to believe it! Last year’s festival set records for attendance and raised $5,000 for GREYT Legs—a charity that helps improve the quality of life for broken leg Greyhounds coming off the track. Woof! For all the details, see
http://www.solvangusa.com/includes/events/?action=displayDetail&eventid=6808

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

2013 Taste of Solvang Pro Winner Dessert-Ingeborgs Dark-Light TrufflesYou know that Valentine’s Day is this Friday, February 14—and shopping and presenting your sweetheart with a treat is a delicious way to show you care! Solvang satisfies sweet cravings year-round yet right now, if you’re like me, you want chocolate! Discover family-owned/operated Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates that has been using authentic recipes for handmade confections since 1961 (how can you possibly choose between truffles made with raspberry or rum or mocha or amaretto or chocolate mousse?) Also founded in 1961 (was that the Year of Chocolate?) is the Old Danish Fudge Kitchen that makes the real deal using a massive 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 if you can’t make it to town in person right now, both of these shops will ship direct to you! And of course, Solvang’s five authentic Danish bakeries have plenty of chocolate options—my personal favorite is the Sarah Bernhardt cookie with an almond macaroon base, topped with chocolate filling and covered in melted chocolate! Chocoholics unite right here in Solvang! Visit www.SolvangUSA.com  for delicious details and check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fCT93aQHFls&list=UUn1AauMK2HA5Xfeuj8YpLdA

Two-Wheeled Adventures

Solvang, CaliforniaRiding your bike year-round is absolutely 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 blue skies, warm sun, quiet country roads, spectacular scenery and challenging climbs. Many pro bicycling teams train on our local roads and mountain passes (in fact, Team BMC just held a 10-day camp here in prep for the Tour de France). Plenty of amateur bike riding camps and vacation tours headquarter here, too. 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 nation visit us every year including the Solvang Century (coming up on 3/8/14). 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-wheel route ideas, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/cycling/  OR check out this video for insider cycling tips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCG2J0yc8Rs