Shopping for Grads & Dads

ShopSmall logoNow is the time for graduation ceremonies and parties as well as Father’s Day on June 19th—and if your mind is like mine, it’s turned to gift giving—which in turn, means it’s time to shop! Thank goodness you can find those perfect presents in Solvang at more than 100 small, independent and family-owned boutiques (chain stores are virtually non-existent here).

The Copenhagen House entrance in SolvangAll within easy strolling distance, here’s some ideas to get your gift list checked off! Your first stop could be The Copenhagen House with numerous retail boutiques featuring some of the best contemporary Danish designer brands including Bering, Holme Gaard, Louis Poulsen, Rosendahl and Stelton   How about First Street Leather for luxe wallets, purses, jackets and more  Since 1946, Rasmussen’s has featured imports from Europe and Scandinavia—it’s like a general store with so much more!  Even if you don’t know the exact size, slide into the Solvang Shoe Store and treat your special someone with a gift certificate for one of their amazing selections of sandals, shoes & clogs.   No matter who is on your list, I’ll bet you’ll find The Book Loft is a readers and writers paradise with new and used books, puzzles and games.  For ALL the options, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/shopping/

Picnic Time!

Solvang Third Wednesday Picnic in the Park-close-upThe Memorial Day holiday weekend is almost upon us–Memorial Day is Monday, May 30, 2016–and you can join community members/family/friends in Solvang Park at Noon to honor all those who died while serving in the U.S. military). Having a picnic in Solvang Park after the ceremony–or anytime  is a great way to celebrate. And if you’re like me, I do like to pick up some ready-made items vs. making everything from scratch! (Sorry Mom!) There are choices aplenty for perfect picnic ingredients and settings around Solvang. First of all, did you know ALL Solvang parks are FREE and open to the public daily? My family and friends really enjoy Solvang Park & Gazebo right in the center of town on Mission Drive at First Street—invariably, there’s something going on there (especially on Third Wednesdays). For a more active group, check out Hans Christian Andersen Park at 775 Atterdag Road, with a skate park, play areas and tennis courts within easy walking distance of downtown. Then, there’s the super-fun, built by the community Sunny Fields Park on Alamo Pintado Road with a Danish-themed wooden play structure, swings, rope bridge, picnic area and ball field. Here’s a few ideas on where to pick up 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 (639-1746) and Vin Hus (688-7117).For more details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/#Parks  IMG_0349Tenley Fohl Photography_S3W-Solvang Park Gazebo Crowd Wide Angle

Solvang Named One of the Best Historic Small Towns in the USA!

Solvang, CaliforniaHave you heard the news? Solvang was named one of the winners in the Best Historic Small Town category in the 10Best Readers’ Choice 2016 travel award contest sponsored by USA TODAY. Solvang was the only community in California to be honored in this exciting contest. Back in March, media experts nominated Solvang; then people like you around the world voted for Solvang online throughout the month of April. Solvang began the contest ranked #20 and after four weeks of daily voting, we finished as #6 against some very well-known towns. Naturally, we’re thrilled to have this recognition, especially since we value, celebrate and promote Solvang as a historic community year-round. If you’d like, you can see the list of all ten winners here .

palogoYou may recall that in 2009, Solvang was honored with the prestigious “Preserve America Community” award by the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. In 2014, Solvang was named by trivago as one of the best “Hidden European Towns in America” and in 2013 by Huffington Post as ” #2 Place to Travel to Europe Without Leaving the USA.” Solvang celebrated its Centennial in 2011 with year-long festivities including a visit from Henrik, His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Denmark.

This year, Solvang celebrates 105 years of its historic, cultural heritage, attractions and festivals. Thanks for all your support year-round! Come enjoy “best historic small town” Solvang soon!

Fabulous Fauna

ostrich-land-ostrichesSo you’re driving east into Solvang on Highway 246, you glance over and see a rather surprising sight–dozens of ostriches grazing in a field! You’ll definitely want to pull over and visit OstrichLand USA, where a highlight is getting to feed the resident emus and ostriches. Did you know ostriches are the largest & fastest birds in the world and can weigh up to 350 pounds and live up to 75 years? If you think this place looks familiar, you may have seen it featured in the Oscar-winning movie Sideways and The Simpsons TV show. Then, a bit further along Highway 246 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 some FREE, total cute moments, Monday through Saturday 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/ 

Runners & Riders & Mother’s Day, Oh My!

RUN-SBIt’s the first full weekend in May this year and so much is happening around these parts! For the runner in you, the 10th anniversary of the Wine Country Half Marathon crosses the finish line in Solvang on Saturday morning, 5/7/16. Registration is still open, so “run” to make your plans today!

Rancheros Visitadores at Old Mission Santa Ines in SolvangLater on Saturday afternoon (5/7/16) around 2:00 p.m. on, you can help welcome more than 500 members of the Rancheros Visitadores “visiting ranchers” for their free equestrian parade north along Alisal Road then east on Mission Drive to Old Mission Santa Ines for a gathering and blessing by the padres. Watch these handsome horses, riders and carriages stride by—once again, they will be attired in pink shirts to raise money for breast cancer patients. Afterward, the Rancheros will canter/trot/gallop/lope along the Santa Ynez River trail for their week-long trek and encampment nearby. This long-time private men’s membership club is gathering here for the 86th time to celebrate horsemanship, western heritage and ranching traditions.

momAnd don’t forget, Sunday, 5/8/16 is Mother’s Day, so remember to remember Mom and celebrate her with some special treats or a visit to Solvang. For all the events happening around town anytime, be sure to visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/calendar-of-events/