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/
You definitely need to mark the 3rd Wednesday of each month on your calendar, since great deals abound here in Solvang—and starting tomorrow (4/19/17)—there’s even more to enjoy! Check out this new restaurant deal–for only $25.00++ per person at Mad & Vin at The Landsby and Succulent Café –you can savor three-course tasting menus including ingredients sourced straight from the Solvang Farmers Market that day. To kick off this new restaurant experience, when you purchase Wine & Beer Walk tickets for the April 19th event at www.solvang-wine-walk.eventbrite.com you’ll be entered to win a free dinner for two at either Succulent Café or Mad & Vin at The Landsby – including a bottle of wine from either Wandering Dog Wine Bar or Lucas & Lewellen. (Prize package may be redeemed on any Solvang 3rd Wednesday).
Of course, all your favorite Solvang 3rd Wednesday offers continue with plenty of deals at local merchants; free admission to the Wildling Museum; the weekly Solvang Village Farmers Market and the best way to add some cheer, the popular Wine & Beer Walk. Plus, experience 3rd Wednesday savings at some of Solvang’s best hotels. For more details on all the happenings, visit www.solvang3rdwednesday.com
You can’t miss the “bud break” and “leafy shoots” happening in the vineyards surrounding us here in Solvang— so you know what that means! It’s time for the 35th annual Vintners Spring Weekend. This year, a full 4-day celebration of our local wines is April 20-23, 2017 with a special emphasis on new releases! Sponsored by the non-profit Santa Barbara Vintners organization, there are so many exciting events and activities on offer— you’ll definitely want to come stay, sip and swirl around Solvang for awhile! Don’t miss “The Grand Tasting” Festival event on Saturday, 4/22/17 featuring over 100 wineries and winemakers, more than thirty food purveyors and chefs; and live music at River View Park in nearby Buellton.
Saturday evening , check out the Big Bottle Bash at K’Syrah, Solvang’s new special event venue, featuring large format wines brought by guests and winery representatives paired with a delicious family style dinner. All weekend long there are vineyard tours, winemaker dinners, barrel tastings and special open houses throughout the area. So, you need to make hotel reservations now and get your tickets in advance. Click here for all the details!
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/
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/
It’s official, Spring has sprung here! Of course, year-round, there’s plenty of room to run, jump, play and experience family fun in Solvang, yet especially this time since it’s “spring break,” vacations are in full bloom. Do be sure to enjoy the wildflowers practically everywhere you look! One of my favorite places for viewing nature’s colorful flora is off Figueroa Mountain Road in the nearby Los Padres National Forest. Remember, all Solvang 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—and just dedicated this week, you can play volleyball on brand new courts called “Sunny Beach.” Did you know that 2008 Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist Todd Rogers hails from Solvang? (see photo at left)
For some two-horse powered fun 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. For more ideas, visit http://www.solvangusa.com/explore-solvang/what-to-do/family-fun/