Free Concerts in the Park this Summer start June 14th!

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!

What to Give Those Grads & Dads

Now is the time for graduation ceremonies (and those fun parties) as well as Father’s Day on June 18th—and if your brain is like mine, you know these are definite gift-giving occasions—so time to get shopping! Thank heavens you don’t have to go far since perfect presents can be discovered along practically every block in downtown Solvang! There are more than 150 independent and family-owned boutiques (chain stores are virtually non-existent here). All within easy strolling distance, here’s some ideas to get your gift list handled! Since 1946, Rasmussen’s has featured imports from Europe and Scandinavia—it’s like a general store with so much more!

Check out The Copenhagen House with numerous retail boutiques featuring some of the best contemporary Danish designer brands including Bering (love those watches), Holme Gaard, Louis Poulsen, Rosendahl and Stelton.  How about First Street Leather for luxe wallets, purses, jackets and more. 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.  Want something one-of-a-kind? How about B.Living offering vintage and modern collections? For ALL your options, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/shopping/

Memorial Day Happenings

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/

Fascinating Fauna!

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/ 

Wine Country Marathon & Mother’s Day, Oh My!

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!

It’s Hans Christian Andersen’s 212th Birthday on April 2nd

Are 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 212 years old this year! To celebrate, pay a visit to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum 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 about this fascinating author. Did you know that this FREE museum is the only one in the USA dedicated to him? It’s 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/

Discover Arts & Antiques & Treasures

Solvang, CaliforniaSolvang has more than 150 independent and family-owned boutiques (chain stores are virtually non-existent here). There are some special places where you can discover amazing art and antiques to grace your home and office or for special gifts. At the award-winning Z Folio Gallery  be dazzled with Czech art glass, handmade designer jewelry, innovative decor and giclée nature photography along with designer trunk shows and exhibitions. Solvang Antiques  is a premier collective featuring restored clocks, music boxes, estate jewelry, American and European furniture, silver, lighting and glass. Judith Hale Gallery (within Solvang Antiques) offers paintings, prints, sculpture and other mediums for discerning collectors. A Piece of the Past is an antique and vintage mall with 4,000+ square feet with two dozen different dealers of delights. Artistic Pony Studio has quality handcrafted jewelry, pottery and glassware from 30 artists; Art Hus is a co-op artists ‘collective offering truly unique items. Be sure to check out these Solvang fine art galleries: Christopher L. T. Brown; Gerlach Photography Nature Gallery; Pavlov Art Gallery; and Thomas Kinkade: Places in the Heart. Discover more details here:http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/shopping/