alisal-guest-ranch-golfYou (or someone you know) probably likes to play golf, right? Whether your game is hot, tame or lame (like mine); there are year-round options to tee-off in style in and around Solvang. Surrounded by rolling hills, ranches and vineyards, our local golf courses definitely have some great scenery to enhance your play time. Just five minutes from downtown Solvang, The River Course at The Alisal  (pictured at right)is situated on the banks of the Santa Ynez River against a backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and was prominently featured in the 2004 Oscar-winning movie Sideways; plus the River Grill is a tasty place for breakfast & lunch with stunning views. In the nearby Santa Rita Hills wine country west of Buellton, check out La Purisima Golf Course created by world-renowned course architect Robert Muir in 1986 on 309 acres. Zaca Creek Golf Course is a sweet 9-hole, par-29 public course in Buellton. Only 25 minutes from Solvang, the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed Rancho San Marcos gracefully saddles the natural topography meandering amid a plethora of ancient oaks. For complete details on where to say Fore! Visit



Solvang’s Perfect Picnic Places + Ingredients

Solvang, CaliforniaCan you believe the Memorial Day holiday weekend is upon us? Do you like to picnic to celebrate? I do and like to pick up items vs. making everything from scratch. (Sorry Mom!) Remember the famous picnic scene in the movie Sideways? It’s nearby Solvang yet on private property so you can’t re-create it exactly, Yet there are choices aplenty for perfect picnic ingredients and free, public settings around Solvang.  Here’s some places for palate pleasing items including gourmet cheeses, local fruits, breads, sandwiches, deli, salads and desserts—Nielsen’s Market (688-3236); El Rancho Market (688-4300). New Frontiers Natural Foods Deli (693-1746) and Vin Hus (688-7117). Plus, al Solvang parks are free and open to the public daily—my family and friends really enjoy Solvang Park & Gazebo, on Mission Drive & First Street right in the center of town. For a more active group, check out Hans Christian Andersen Park at 775 Atterdag Road  within easy walking distance of downtown with a skate park and tennis courts or the super-fun built by the community Sunny Fields Park on Alamo Pintado Road. For all the details, visit

Get Your Mac On!

shelf_reliance_crock_pot_mac_cheeseYou know Solvang is famous for its amazing Danish foods & sweets; and there is so much more cuisine to explore here with over 30 restaurants and gourmet foods shops. Yet this Saturday (5/17/14) from Noon-4:00 p.m. at Old Mission Santa Ines fields, you can experience the first-ever Macaroni & Cheese Festival! Oh yes, that yummy comfort food will be served from 12+ chefs in one-ounce samples accompanied by tastes of local wines, beers and sides of live bands– The Brothers Comatose and The California Honeydrops.

It’s all for a great non-profit cause—Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raise funds and awareness and  provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local—which means our own Santa Ynez Valley Hospital (part of Cottage Health System) will benefit. General admission tickets are $55;  $45 if you live in the 805 area code; and $30 if you’re military or law enforcement. (Ages 21 & over only please.) Tickets are available at the gate or in advance. Here’s more info about where to get your Mac (& Cheese) on!

Mac+CheeseFestival Logo



Solvang Loves Moms!

momHard to believe it’s May already and that means Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 11. Did you know that Mother’s Day celebrations are said to have taken place first in ancient Greek & Roman times and now in more than 50 countries around the world? Here in Solvang, shopping for a gift for Mom (or the Mom-like) person in your life is made pretty simple by choices at 150+ retail shops, wine tasting rooms and restaurants (According to my mom, a gift certificate is often the best idea so she can get what she really wants!) Check out all the options :

happy-mothers-dayOne of my favorite stops for mom-day or any-day flowers is the Solvang Village Farmer’s Market every Wednesday from 2:30-6:00 p.m. Of course, we’ve got lots of special chocolate and sweet treat bakery options around town, too! And if your mom enjoys classical music, consider taking her to the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale spring concert featuring Mozart’s Requiem Mass and Overture from The Marriage of Figaro at the Solvang Veterans Hall (performances on Saturday, 5/10/14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 5/11/14 at 3:00 p.m. For details on all the happenings around town to share with the matriarch, visit