It’s mid-January and it already feels like we are 3 months into the new year rather than a mere 3 weeks (our Powerball loss last week didn’t help), and to brighten things up a little we are ready to take our first adventure of 2016! This weekend we encourage you to take a mini-Europtrip to a quirky little Danish town in Central California called Solvang. Just 132 miles north of Los Angeles and 297 miles south of San Francisco, you will know you have arrived when the architecture suddenly changes to half-timber buildings and windmills. Seriously, this town is straight of a fairytale (in a good way).
But before we get into the countless number of reasons why Solvang should be your next getaway, let’s start with a little history: Solvang dates back to 1911 when Danish-American pioneers from the Midwest traversed the plains to establish a settlement in sunny California (basically a successful attempt to escape the harsh Midwest winters). The flatlands and rolling green hills of Solvang reminded the Danish settlers of their home country and they were quick to call this beautiful place their new home. You can see why we chose Solvang now right? Its founders were the Modern Pioneers of the early 1900s! Okay enough history. Here are some things to do in Solvang!
Activities in Solvang
For such a small, relatively obscure town, Solvang sure has enough things to do to keep you busy. Whether it’s taking an ATV tour of the scenic hillsides, renting a boat on Lake Cachuma, or visiting the infamous Ostrichland (yes, this is a real thing), travelers have a long list of options for things-to-do.
Image via: www.elverhoj.org
We recommend taking advantage of Solvang’s 120+ wineries and participating in a tour or tasting (we know it’s no whiskey tasting but it’s the next best thing!). Most of the wineries in the vicinity are small boutique operations that are family-owned and –operated creating an intimate environment to sip award winning wines from the region.
For those looking for more of an adventurous getaway, Solvang is equipped with plenty of trails with breathtaking scenery for cycling-fanatics. We recommend traversing the Ballard Canyon Loop or the slightly more demanding Alisos Canyon Loop.
Image via: www.active.com
Lodging in Solvang
You pretty much can’t go wrong with lodging in Solvang. Whether you prefer a cozy Danish cottage inn or a sprawling world-class resort, you won’t come up empty handed in Solvang. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the Old Western culture while still reaping the benefits of a world-class resort, we suggest looking into the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. Set on a 10,000-acre private ranch, the Alisal offers guests the opportunity to go horseback riding, play golf on its two 18-hole golf courses, play tennis, or go fly-fishing on its 100-acre spring-fed lake. Pretty much a Pioneer’s dream resort if you ask us.
Image via: www.wandermelon.com
However, if you are more interested in exploring downtown Solvang, we suggest kicking your feet up at Solvang’s newest hotel – The Landsby. This modern, 41-room boutique hotel features clean, contemporary designs inspired by traditional Scandinavian aesthetic and is just a short stroll away from all of the local attractions.
Image via: www.thelandsby.com
Dining in Solvang
The cuisine in Solvang is just as rooted in Danish tradition as its architecture is, with many dining establishments having been there since the town was founded in the early 1900s. And one of the oldest (and best) eateries remains Birkholm’s Bakery & Café. Founded in 1951, Birkholm’s is a family-owned and –operated business that has been passed down through the Birkholm family for generations. It’s pastries, butter cookies, and bread are made using the same Danish recipes brought over from Denmark over 60 years ago. Treat yourself to a Bearclaw or a Kringle while you’re there, we promise it’s worth straying from your “eat healthier” New Year’s resolution.
Image via: www.solvangusa.com
Okay, we know pastries are not a real meal (as much as we would like them to be). So, for a guaranteed-awesome meal head over to the Succulent Café. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Succulent Café offers guests a warm, comfortable, casual atmosphere to munch on its legendary charcuterie and other dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. If that isn’t convincing enough, their website says “We believe in comfort food served in ample portions with hearty flavors” – we say “hell yeah” to that.
Image via: www.articles.latimes.com
So we know we just laid a lot of information on you, but just take a moment tonight to think it over with some Lost Republic in hand and treat yourself to a little mid-January retreat – you deserve it. Happy adventuring Pioneers!