You know that “summer” is right around the corner since the days are longer with a lot more sunshine which means more time for outdoor fun! Starting this Wednesday, 6/14/17 and EVERY Wednesday thru 8/16/17—you’ll want to be at Solvang Park (Mission Drive & First Street) for FREE concerts from 5-8pm! The blues/rockers of the Mark Roberts Band will kick-off this year’s sounds. Plus there will be four free bonus concerts on Friday evenings 6/30, 7/14, 7/28 and 8/11, too! For the complete line-up of bands ranging from bluegrass to jazz to good ole rock & roll, check out http://solvang3rdwednesday.com/solvang-summer-concerts/
Remember, Solvang Third Wednesday events continue this summer featuring the Wine & Beer Walk (from 3-7pm), where you can enjoy 2 tastings at 5 places of your choice, for just $20 per person; plus, there an added restaurant deal: select Solvang restaurants feature a special 3-course Solvang 3rd Wednesday menu, for just $25++ per person. As a tie-in to the Solvang Farmers Market, the 3-course menus include ingredients sourced straight from the Market. Participating Solvang merchants offer 3rd Wednesday deals on merchandise. You should definitely consider spending the night with special Solvang Third Wednesday hotel discounts! Cheers to the official arrival of summer in Solvang!
The Memorial Day holiday weekend is all most here. First and foremost, on Monday, 5/29/17, at Noon in Solvang Park–join with officials, veterans, family and friends to commemorate all men and women who have died in military service for the USA. This ceremony is free, everyone is welcome to attend and will feature a performance by the Santa Ynez Wind Ensemble; speakers Rear Adm. Brian Brown, vice commander of the Joint Forces Component Command for Space at Vandenberg Air Force Base; Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans; and members of American Legion Post 160 and the Boy Scouts of America. A flyover of vintage military aircraft is also anticipated. A heartfelt thank you to all who have served esepcially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Throughout this Memorial holiday weekend, there’s certainly plenty of places and opportunities to celebrate with a picnic! If your family is like mine, picnics in the park are a favorite. There are choices aplenty for perfect picnic settings around Solvang. First of all, did you know ALL Solvang parks are FREE and open to the public daily? Solvang Park & Gazebo right in the center of town on Mission Drive at First Street. 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, ball field and three brand new beach volleyball courts. For more details, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/
So 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 as well as The Simpsons TV show and most recently, The Great Food Truck Race in 2016. 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. For more details and ideas, check out http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/family-fun/
So much is happening around these parts here in the merry month of May! For the runner in you, it’s the 11th annual Wine Country Half Marathon crossing the finish line in Solvang on Saturday morning, 5/13/17. The race begins in Santa Ynez and the course winds through Los Olivos and Ballard Canyon before finishing on Copenhagen Drive followed by a celebratory wine festival in Solvang Park. (Registration is still open, so run fast & sign up!)
Sunday, 5/14/17 is Mother’s Day, so remember to remember Mom and celebrate her with some special treats. 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+ shops, 20 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 here: or better yet, bring Mom for a visit to Solvang—creating lasting memories that you can share year-round!
This Saturday (5/6/17), head into downtown Solvang around 3pm to welcome more than 700 members of the Rancheros Visitadores “visiting ranchers” for their free equestrian parade. You can greet them as they head 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 support the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara at Sansum Clinic to raise money for local breast cancer patients.
Afterward, the Rancheros will canter/trot/gallop 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 87th time to celebrate horsemanship, western heritage and ranching traditions. For all the happenings around town anytime, be sure to visit http://www.solvangusa.com/events/
Just 15 minutes from downtown Solvang, you and yours can discover all the natural wonders of Cachuma Lake Recreation Area—with winter rains, the lake itself is over 50% full and vibrant as ever. There’s so much to do (or not to do) at Cachuma—from hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing and fishing plus amazing guided nature cruises aboard The Osprey, a 30-passenger pontoon boat. You can see deer, herons, hawks, and the resident bald eagle pair if you’re lucky (not to mention some amazing flora, especially this year). Cachuma is a gorgeous place for a relaxing day or a picnic on the shore, a hike or a stroll.There is a general store, marina plus the very interactive Neal Taylor Nature Center. Year-round, there’s free Nature Hikes leaving from the Center at 10am on Saturday mornings plus the Junior Ranger Program. Park admission is only $10 per car and so worth it! For more details and directions, visit www.solvangusa.com/directory/cachuma-lake-recreation-area/
Spring has sprung and there are more hours of daylight—so plenty of time for you and/or someone you know to get out and play more golf (just like they’re doing this week in Augusta at the Masters Tournament–I’ve actually attended five times and it is magnificent there—yet here we can play year-round—so much better!) So get ready to shout “fore” in style at some magnificent courses that are even lusher now that the drought has abated. 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 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 Terrace overlooking the course is a delicious place for breakfast and/or lunch. 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. Rancho San Marcos gracefully saddles the natural topography meandering amid a plethora of ancient oaks just 30 minutes away down Scenic Highway 154. For complete details on where to tee off, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/golf/