As you guys know, I am a HUGE fan of travel, and over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some incredible places. One of the countries which surprised me the most for it’s diversity and how much it has to give is America. We traveled around for several months and what really struck me was how different it was, State to State. If you’re traveling north from LA you simply MUST stop by and take a walk around Solvang and stay a while if you can. It’s like walking through a movie set, and at Christmas it is so magical! It’s so quaint and quiet with only 3 sets of traffic lights in the whole place and everyone seems so friendly and relaxed it’s a world away from hectic LA, just 190 miles south.
We were originally recommended to go to Solvang by our Irish friends who we had been staying with in Chicago and I am so pleased we did. This was our 3rd time visiting and it’s always great just to walk around taking in the chocolate box architecture and quaint little streets. One of my favourites being the Jule Hus, where every day is Christmas!!
Due to it’s location in the Santa Ynes valley, in Santa Barbara county, there are loads of wineries in the area and so lots of wine bars and wine tasting rooms within the town. This time the weather was beautiful for us and I don’t know about you, but as soon as the sun comes out on holiday I want to sit with a crisp glass of white and watch the world go by. And luckily Henry was kind enough to let me do that one balmy afternoon, even if it was just for an hour…The areas around Solvang were particularly good for wineries – Sonoma and Napa to name a few. I would really recommend a winery tour with lunch if you can, Stuart did it years ago (before children!) and I still remember it so well, we had so much fun. (Apart from that time I got carried away with the moment and thought it would be a great idea to eat an olive straight from the tree – it was hands down the most disgusting thing I’ve ever eaten!!)
There are a number of hotels, many of which are in keeping with the Danish theme, we’ve stayed at the Kronborg Inn (amazing breakfast, and hot tub in the room – NOTE; don’t put bubble bath in a hot tub!!) and the Copenhagen Inn (seriously comfy beds!) and also Quality Inn in the next town along, Buellton (good breakfast also) and they’re generally all in great locations as the town is so small everything is walking distance. Check out Tripadvisor for reviews. What I would say is you really can’t go wrong location wise because it’s such a small town you can walk easily everywhere. Make sure you take a stroll around at night, it’s so pretty!
If you’re visiting around 19-21st Sept you’re really in for a treat as they celebrate Danish day with a weekend of festivities. Enjoy the many sweetie shops and authentic Danish Bakeries offering up some serious delights. The gift shops supply plenty of souvenirs for home and if you just so happen need to grab yourself a traditional Danish costume you are in luck! On Wednesday’s there is a farmer’s market for you to eat your way around before stopping off at one of the quaint cafes for a rich coffee or tasty gelato.
If you’re into antiques, Solvang Antiques is a must. From fine art, to furniture from the 1500’s! They have an extensive jewellery collection including pocket watches from the 17th century and 300 year old brooches.
On our last trip there I managed to find an eternity ring from Stuart, I had been searching for months and this one was just perfect! We chose a vintage 1930’s platinum diamond ring which is stunning. Unfortunately the original ring which I blogged about here (if you’re wondering) kept having a stone fall out so it had to go back, but this special ring from this special place is almost a hundred years old and holds such romance for me and I will forever be intrigued about the stories she could tell.
I hope you manage to travel to this unique little place just a couple of hours outside of LA in California, my heart is aching to go back! Let me know in the comments if you do go! And check out Visit California for more info about what to do in the Santa Ynes Valley.