Free Hans Christian Andersen Birthday Party on April 2nd

Solvang, CaliforniaAre you a fan of fairy tales? April 2nd is the birth date of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the world’s most famous Danes and father of the modern fairytale—including  favorites such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess & The Pea and The Ugly Duckling. Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark on April 2, 1805 and lived until August 4, 1875 and would have been 211 years old this year! You’re invited to attend a birthday party in his honor at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum with complimentary kransekage (Danish marzipan cake) from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. this Saturday, 4/2/16.

The Museum is located at 1680 Mission Drive in the cozy second floor above The Book Loft and Solvang Coffee Company. Year-round, you can discover so much more about this fascinating author. This free museum is filled to the rafters with originals and copies of Andersen’s books, sketches, paper cutouts, silhouettes and collages that kids of all ages can enjoy. And just a block away, don’t miss the bronze statue Andersen in Solvang Park. For more details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/directory/hans-christian-andersen-museum/

It’s Spring Break—Time for Family Fun!

LupineBush+PoppiesSpring has sprung here! You know that year-round, there’s plenty of room to run, jump, play and experience family fun in Solvang, yet especially this time of year–with spring break vacations in full bloom along with the wildflowers practically everywhere you look! One of my favorite places for viewing nature’s colorful wildflowers is off Figueroa Mountain Road in the nearby Los Padres National Forest. Remember, all public parks around town have free admission and are open daily sunrise to sunset. Solvang’s Hans Christian Andersen Park is a woodsy green space with picnic areas, tennis courts, a playground and free Skate Park for boarders. The whimsical wooden playground and ball field at Sunny Fields Park is one of our personal family favorites.

ostrich-land-ostrichesFor a two-horse powered tour that kids of all ages can enjoy, hop aboard the Solvang Trolley–a historic wooden streetcar pulled by a pair of impressive draft horses. If you’re feeling really adventurous, how about the two-wheel Segway of Solvang tour? Visit nearby OstrichLand USA to see & feed the largest &fastest birds in the world. Discover Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch offering free viewing of 34-inch-and-under equines from 10am-3pm Monday-Saturday.

SolvangFarmersMarket 7-09Visit local farm stands to fuel all your family’s adventure with fresh produce daily or stroll through the Solvang Farmers Market every Wednesday afternoon from 2-6pm! For more ideas, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/family-fun/

Get Your Palate Primed for Taste of Solvang This Week!

Taste of Solvang 2016 promo 300x250You know you want it—to taste the incredible variety of food, beverages (and of course, desserts) all within an easy strolling radius! It’s the 24th annual Taste of Solvang starting tomorrow, Wednesday, 3/16/16 through Sunday, 3/20/16. www.solvangusa.com/taste-of-solvang-2016/

The first event begins tomorrow (3/16/16) at 3pm with Chef Walks through the weekly Farmers Market followed by exclusive dining experiences with the chefs– Choose from Chef Steven Snook of  the new First & Oak, OR Chef David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante, OR Chef Seth Nathan of The Landsby’s Mad & Vin. Then, on Thursday, 3/17/16, it’s the new Taste of Solvang Blind Tasting Challenge at Wandering Dog Wine Bar as well as a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, Santa Ynez Valley-style at Industrial Eats.

2013 Taste of Solvang Pro Winner Dessert-Ingeborgs Dark-Light TrufflesTickets are evaporating fast for all events including Friday night’s Sip + Savor (re-imagined opening reception with Santa Ynez Valley chefs, bakers and restaurants presenting local savory and sweet bites along with wines, craft beer and spirits accompanied by live music from 7-9pm. Then, on Saturday, 3/19/16, there’s the new Art of Smørrebrød and Aebleskiver Class at 11am; plus the Tasting Trail event from 11am-4pm offering 40 taste stops of local foods & beverages. Plus, there’s the super popular Wine & Beer Tasting Walk (held on Saturday AND Sunday afternoons) at 18 different emporiums. New this year is Saturday night’s Buttonwood Farm Winemaker Dinner, Featuring the estate-grown vintages of winemaker Karen Steinwachs paired with a five-course dinner prepared by Chef Conrad Gonzales of Valle Fresh Catering.

sparkling wineOn Sunday, 3/20/16, two new events will tempt you: Bubbles, Brews & Brunch from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. with a plentiful buffet plus a Bloody Mary bar courtesy of Ascendant Spirits, with specialty ingredients created by Chef Pink and Courtney Rae of Solvang’s Bacon & Brine and a Mimosa bar, sparkling wines, and Denmark’s favorite Carlsberg beer courtesy of Pacific Beverage Company. The festivities conclude at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday with the Coquelicot Organic Estate New Release Wine Dinner at First & Oak Restaurant, featuring a five-course tasting menu prepared by Chef Steven Snook with vintages paired by winemaker Mike Roth.

taste-of-solvang-ca bannerMake your plans now to come stay and feast! Here’s where to reserve your tickets and get all the delicious details: www.solvangusa.com/taste-of-solvang-2016/

 

 

Wheeled Fun!

Wheel Fun Bike Rental-SolvangSo you’re astride a beach cruiser, or maybe a skinny-tire road cycle or a rugged mountain bike, no matter what kind of two-wheels you’re on–riding your bike year-round is a lot of fun here! Bring your own wheels or rent a set from local shops such as Dr. J’s or Wheel Fun; or how about a 4-wheel surrey cycle for the whole family? Savor warm sun, quiet country roads, spectacular scenery and challenging climbs. Many pro bicycling teams train on our local roads and mountain passes. Plus, plenty of amateur bike riding camps and bike vacation tours headquarter here, too.

solvang_16 Century ride logoSome of the largest amateur rides (think 3,000 cyclists) in the nation visit us every year including the Solvang Century, Metric and Half-Century (100/63/50 miles) happening this Saturday, 3/12/16), a benefit for SCOR Cardiac Cyclists Club.

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?  This year, Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 on May 17 will finish atop Gibraltar Road just 30 minutes southeast of Solvang in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Come stay in Solvang and enjoy the 2016 Tour of California in “cycling heaven.”

For some two-wheel route ideas around Solvang you can enjoy anytime, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/cycling/   Ride on!

 

Free Museum Day is This Saturday, March 5

Elverhoj ExteriorAre you and your family looking for something for fun and for free this Saturday, 3/5/16? Check out “Santa Ynez Valley Free Museum Day” with free admission at five local museums plus free special activities, too! Want to meet a Viking woman? You can with Danish living history enactments at Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, 1624 Elverhoy Way; Solvang, www.elverhoj.org Located in a historic handcrafted Danish-style structure, the Elverhøj (prounounced el-ver-hoy) showcases Solvang’s rich history and the Danish-American pioneer spirit of the town’s founders as well as modern day art exhibits and opportunities. This Saturday, there will be extended hours from 10 am to 6:00 pm. At 4:00 p.m., experience “Seen & Spoken,” a one-time event with award-winning screen writer, producer and author Gerald Di Pego and artist Joseph Knowles in a dialogue about storytelling and art. A complimentary social hour immediately follows the dialogue.

wildling-museum-solvang-caExperience The Wildling Museum at 1511 Mission Drive, Solvang; www.wildlingmuseum.org The Wildling connects people with the wonder of America’s wilderness through great art, nature-related classes, special events and rotating exhibits throughout the year including free craft activities for kids. This Saturday, you can see a free screening of A Condor’s Shadow at 3:00 p.m. and interact with director Jeff McLoughlin.

Solvang-mission-Santa Ines_1266Founded in 1804 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, the 19th in the chain of 21 Missions throughout California, Old Mission Santa Ines Museum, 1760 Mission Drive, Solvang; www.missionsantaines.org proudly posses a collection of paintings, statuary, vestments, manuscripts, and artifacts used in and around the Mission throughout its history. Discover the chapel, gardens and museum at no cost!

thumb_hans-christian-andersen Fond of fairytales? Don’t miss the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, 1680 Mission Drive, Solvang; www.bookloftsolvang.com/museum.htm Andersen (1805-1875) is considered the “father of the modern fairy tale” including such faves as “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Little Mermaid”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Princess and the Pea.” This cozy museum is filled to the rafters with copies of Andersen’s books, sketches, silhouettes and memorabilia; housed in a second story garret above The Book Loft.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANearby in Santa Ynez, the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum & Carriage House, 3596 Sagunto Street; www.santaynezmuseum.org traces Santa Ynez Valley history from the early Chumash Indians through its 20th-century ranching days. The Carriage House boasts the largest collection of American made horse-drawn carriages the Western USA. Educational presentations, tours, changing exhibits and community events celebrate Valley history. This Saturday, enjoy free popcorn from a historic popcorn wagon and check out the new “Art in the Courtyard” event with local artists.

Museums are the fun place to be any day and especially this Saturday!