All Natural! Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

100_8051  Just 15 minutes from downtown Solvang, you’ll love to discover all the natural wonders of Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. This is one of my favorite local outdoor spots—there’s so much to do (or not to do)—from hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing and fishing plus amazing guided nature cruises offered year round aboard The Osprey, a 30-passenger pontoon boat. During my most recent boat cruise, we saw bald eagles, herons, hawks and deer (not to mention some amazing flora). The recent rains have really “greened” up the surrounding Santa Ynez mountains and it’s a gorgeous place for a relaxing day or a picnic on the shore (yes, the lake level is lower due to the drought, yet it’s still beautiful). Conveniently, there are boat rentals, bait & tackle shop, a general store plus the very interactive Neal Taylor Nature Center—amongst all the cool displays, see how your arm span compares to a bird’s wing span (I couldn’t believe mine was the size of a turkey vulture!) Year-round, there’s free Nature Hikes leaving from the Center at 10am on Saturday mornings. Plus a whole lot of fun events—coming up April 12 & 13, it’s the 19th Annual Trout Derby! Park admission is only $10 per car and so worth it! For more details, access http://tinyurl.com/solvang-cachumalake

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Fashionable Retail Therapy

Solvang, CaliforniaSpring is officially arrives this Thursday (3/20/14) yet our weather has been nice & warm already with blossoms popping out everywhere! It’s definitely time to do some closet cleaning and what better excuse than to make room for the latest spring fashions? (Guys, this applies to you, too, enough of the dingy sweatshirts!) Incredibly chic yet affordable women’s, men’s and kids clothing, fine leather goods and accessories, shoes, boots and clogs will keep you strolling around town looking for items you hadn’t even known you need yet! Get some retail therapy at totally one-of-a-kind clothing shops—just to mention a few such as Atterdag Kids, Del Sol, Elna’s Dress Shop; First Street Leather; Hats Unlimited, Parts Unknown; Solvang Shoe Store; True Addiction Women’s Apparel and The Sock Loft.  Check out all your fashionable opportunities at:  http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/shopping/

 

2014 Taste of Solvang Is This Week Featuring New Farm-to-Fork Dinner

Hope you’ve worked up an appetite since the 22nd annual Taste of Solvang starts tomorrow—and our weather is gorgeous (love a forecast that has daytime highs in the 70’s and overnight lows in the 40’s)! New this year is the Farm-to-Fork Dinner with Chef Budi Kazali 2014 Taste of Solvang Farm-to-Fork Dinner Menuof The Ballard Inn fame on Saturday (3/15/14 at 6pm) at Buttonwood Farm Winery. Chef Budi’s hyper-local menu such as Santa Barbara mussels, Santa Ynez buffalo, local black cod, and braised short ribs paired with vintages from Buttonwood’s winemaker Karen Steinwachs are true taste sensations. Tickets are evaporating fast for all events including Sweets & Swing (aka Dessert Party) on Friday, 3/14/14 from 7-9pm and the Solvang Grand Tasting (aka Walking Smorgasbord) on Saturday, 3/15/14 from 11am-4pm offering 40 taste stops of local food & beverages. Then, there’s the super popular Wine & Beer Tasting Walk (held on Saturday evening AND Sunday afternoon). Taste of Solvang begins tomorrow (Wednesday, 3/12/14 at 3pm) with a free Chef Walk & Demo through the weekly Farmers Market with Chef David Cecchini from Cecco Ristorante. Taste of Solvang is always a sell-out so don’t delay in making your plans to come stay and feast! Here’s where to reserve your tickets and get all the delicious details: www.tasteofsolvang.org

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Tick Tock–Time for Taste of Solvang!

taste-of-solvang-ca bannerDo thoughts of certain foods make you hungry? Every year for the past 22 years, I start salivating in March since it’s time for the annual Taste of Solvang! Oh yes, this is the food feast that is unique to our village. Events start next Wednesday, 3/12/14 with a free Chef Walk & Demo through the weekly Farmers Market—this year featuring Chef David Cecchini from Cecco (I adore his wood-fired pizzas) and can’t wait to see what fresh veggies & stuff he’ll select then bring back to his ristorante for demonstration cooking (just meet Chef David at the corner of Copenhagen Drive & First Street at 3pm). Of course, the main events are Sweets & Swing (aka Dessert Party) on Friday, 3/14/14 from 7-9pm and then the Solvang Grand Tasting (aka Walking Smorgasbord) on Saturday, 3/15/14 from 11am-4pm offering 40 taste stops (really) of local food & beverages followed by the super popular Wine & Beer Tasting Walk (held on Saturday night AND on Sunday afternoon). A first-ever event this year is Chef Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn fame’s Farm-to-Fork Dinner on Saturday evening 3/15/14 at 6pm at Buttonwood Farm Winery. Delicious and delight-filled doings for sure. Remember, it’s super important to get your Taste of Solvang tickets in advance, since sell-outs certainly happen. Here’s where to reserve and get all the details: www.tasteofsolvang.org

Chef David Cecchini-Taste of Solvang Demo at Cecco Ristorate 3-13-13  Sweet-Solvang_1136 Solvang, California