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A Weekend Getaway To Solvang, CA

January 25, 2011 8:27 PM

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(credit: Solvang)

(credit: Solvang)

solvang header A Weekend Getaway To Solvang, CA

(credit: solvangusa.com)

In 1911 a group of Danish-Americans from Iowa chose 9,000 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley as their home. As they established the village, they took care to celebrate the Danish culture by constructing buildings – a schoolhouse, a church, and more – that stayed true to Danish architecture. The result was the quaint village of Solvang, which is a mere 128 miles from Los Angeles. Packed with restaurants, shops, wine tasting rooms, sights and more, Solvang is a perfect place for a relaxing getaway. The village’s recent claim to fame: it was featured in the movie Sideways, highlighting its wine country and dining offerings. And while the village features many wine tasting rooms, you should know that children are not allowed inside of them, so I only really feature one here. That said, there is so much to do in Solvang.

solvang gardens lawn A Weekend Getaway To Solvang, CA

(credit: solvanggardens.com)

Where to stay

There are myriad hotels in this small town, ranging from chain budget motels to bed & breakfasts and to luxury hotels. Here are a few suggestions, with an emphasis on those that are more “boutique.”

Solvang Gardens Country Inn

293 Alisal Rd.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-4404
More Info

One of my best friends married at this quaint 24-room inn whose gardens and fountains make a beautiful backdrop. They offer a variety of rooms – some of them with fireplaces and marble bathrooms. And the Garden Spa Cottage offers massages and more. This inn is in a residential neighborhood, but is walking distance to the village and all it offers.

Hotel Corque

400 Alisal Rd.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-8000
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This modern, rustic-designed boutique hotel offers a wide range of rooms, and many amenities including a business center, pool and jacuzzi, fitness center and spa. Complimentary continental breakfast is available every morning to hotel guests.

Petersen Village Inn

1576 Mission Dr.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-3121
More Info

This European-inspired inn is centrally located in downtown Solvang. One of the things this inn is known for is the canopy beds available in its rooms; its Tower Suite includes a fireplace and Jacuzzi tub. Enjoy a European buffet breakfast every day until noon, and dine on delicious European and Mediterranean dishes at Café Provence, which is only open to hotel guests. Check their web site for a variety of packages.

Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn & Spa

2860 Grand Ave.
Los Olivos, CA 93441
(805) 688-7788
More Info

If you want to stay in the Santa Ynez Valley wine country but still be close to Solvang, this is the place to go. Situated on a winery, this Inn offers a wide variety of rooms with fireplaces and down comforters. With your reservation comes breakfast for two at Petros Los Olivos, wine tasting for two at Fess Parker’s Winery and Bin 2860 International Wine Shop. Relax at the poolside Chapmagne Spa and enjoy a massage, scrub, pedicure and more. Check the Web site for a variety of packages to stay at this charming inn.

kringle A Weekend Getaway To Solvang, CA

(credit: danishmillbakery.com)

Where to Eat and Graze

You literally could eat, taste and graze your way throughout Solvang and here are a few suggestions. One quirky thing about Solvang you should know: many places close fairly early there. So make your dinner plans early and be sure to call ahead and check when your restaurant choice closes. Just trust me!

Danish Mill Bakery

1682 Copenhagen Dr.
Solvang, CA 93464
(805) 688-5805
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When in Solvang, you must visit a Danish bakery and enjoy a Kringle, pastry and more. Conveniently located on Copenhagen St. in downtown Solvang, The Danish Mill Bakery offers authenticity in its pastries – as well as its architecture. Some must-haves: Danish Kringle and Danish butter cookies – which the Bakery sells via its Web site and ships all over the country.

Café Angelica

490 First Street
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 686-9970
More Info

This charming bistro in the heart of Solvang is well known for its fantastic local wine lists. Sit out on the patio and enjoy a delicious meal – the menu includes everything from stuffed artichokes to fish and pasta dishes, and stuffed Filet Mignon. There seems to be something for everyone on this menu, including delicious desserts (with the perfect wine to pair with them, of course.)

Heidelberg Inn Restaurant and Beer Garden

1618 Copenhagen Dr.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-6213
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I remember this place from the first time I visited Solvang in 1992. Smack in the middle of Solvang, this place calls out to you because its outdoor beer garden is visible from the street. Enjoy a variety of authentic German dishes including Wienerschnitzel, sausage platters and more, or opt for an American favorite like a cheeseburger or salad if you prefer. This restaurant also features a great list of beers and local wines, too – which are especially refreshing on the patio on warm days.

Lion’s Peak Vineyards

1659 Copenhagen Dr
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 693-5466
More Info

I first visited this tasting room at the suggestion of my friend, who now receives regular wine shipments from this vineyard. While the vineyard is not on site, Lion’s Peak wisely keeps its tasting room in downtown Solvang, and does a great job of creating a wonderful experience for its visitors. Enjoy tastings of the vineyard’s wide range of wine styles including Bordeaux varietals, Rhones, Italian, Desert, Port wines and more.

Olive House

1661 Mission Drive
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 686-5159
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Like olives? This is the place for you. Offering a wide range of olive-based products, including olive oils, spreads, tapenades, and more. Better still, you can stop in for wine and olive pairing. Yum!

Old Danish Food Farm Fudge Kitchen

441 Alisal Rd.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-9932
More Info

Here’s a place the kiddos will definitely enjoy. In fact I guarantee their eyes will open wide and they just might jump for joy. Why? It’s a food “playland” with caramel apples, handmade fudge and more. Stop in and get a delicious treat – you will not be disappointed.

solvang shopping A Weekend Getaway To Solvang, CA

(credit: solvangusa.com)

Family Fun Shopping

Pebble People

1608 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, CA 93464
(805) 688-7616
More Info

I bought my son the cutest little music box the last time we were in Solvang. But only after we walked through this shop’s many rooms which offers hand-crafted gifts including clocks, toys, music boxes and more. Their namesake products are “pebble people” – little characters made from – you guessed it – rocks and pebbles! Just beware: you’ll want to make sure the kiddos keep their hands to themselves!

Solvang Toy Land

1664 Copenhagen Dr.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-7577

Jam-packed with toys, games and more, Solvang Toy Land is a charming little toy store with a wide range of products. We stopped in here to pick up a card game to play over lunch – and my son walked out with a puzzle, too. But I enjoyed the experience of visiting this quaint little store as much as he enjoyed the toys themselves.

elegantcarriage A Weekend Getaway To Solvang, CA

(credit: solvangtrolley.com)

Seeing the Sights

Solvang Trolley & Carriage Tours

1618 Copenhangen Dr.,
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 794-8958 ‎
More Info

There is so much to see in Solvang. So how do you know what you want to see (besides reading this post)? Take a few minutes at the beginning of your stay to take a tour – on an authentic wooden street car pulled by horses. The 25-minute guided tour will give you a sense of all there is to do in Solvang, as well as explain the local history and highlight the wonderful architecture in the village.

Cost: Adults, $9.00; Children: $5.00; Seniors: $7.00

Wheel Fun Rentals

475 First Street
Solvang CA 93463
(805) 688-0091
More Info

If a guided tour isn’t for you, here’s another great way to see Solvang while getting a little bit of exercise. Visit Wheel Fun rentals and rent pretty much anything you can imagine on wheels. They offer bicycles, 4-wheel surreys of varying sizes and more. This is a great way for the family to get around Solvang and have great fun along the way.

Sunny Fields Playground

Alamo Pintado Rd.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-7529
More Info

This playground is unforgettable. In fact, my friend’s son still recalls it fondly though he hasn’t been there for more than four years. A few miles outside of Solvang, this park and playground includes a wooden castle, gingerbread houses and more unique structures. It also includes the necessary monkey bars, tire swings and other traditional play structures. Memorable charm and function merge nicely at this playground that is sure to make your kids’ trip to Solvang complete.

Jennifer Vides blogs at Jennifervides.com.

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