Sometimes it’s the smaller getaways that are the best getaways. Not too long ago, my husband and I headed out to Solvang, CA, with a few friends for a weekend of relaxation. If you’re not familiar, Solvang is a quaint, picturesque town about two hours outside of Los Angeles. It is nestled in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, or California Wine Country if you want to be very specific. Yeah, there’s a reason we picked Solvang for our destination. And even though I was the designated driver (in my third trimester) there was a ton to do and see.
So, if you live in the area and are looking for a quick getaway that will really make your dollar stretch, here are a few ideas on what to do, and what to see in Solvang, CA.
Solvang was founded by a group of Danish teachers, and today most of the town is outfitted in this Danish Heritage – all the way from the food to the goods you can buy in the hometown store fronts (wooden shoes anyone?). This also means that there are quite a few choices when it comes to good eats.
Paula’s Pancake House serves up a wicked breakfast, but get there early or show up for a late lunch. If the line is any indication, people are dying to get their hands on her famous Danish Pancakes. They are big, thick, and uber fluffy. As big as the plate they serve them on – you can pour on the clotted cream, fresh preserves and maple syrup until your heart’s content.
The Solvang Brewery is a great place for dinner with a variety of options. But when in Danish country, eat like a Dane! Try the sausage trio with a side of hot sauerkraut and a soft homemade pretzel. The plate is rounded out by three house made mustards – a pregnant lady’s dream. Grab a pint of their monthly brew to round out your meal.
Lastly, you will not be at a loss of great Danish Bakeries. Go ahead and take your pic – all of them serve up similar fresh baked goods. You can’t go wrong with the classic apple or cheese Danish. Olsen’s is by far the most popular and it’s right next door to Paula’s!
Dozens of tasting rooms on the local drag but venture out just a few miles and there are some real hidden gems. Nestled in on a hilltop you’ll find Bridlewood Estate Vineyards. They’re known for their pinot, but definitely give the viognier a try. Crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect for summer sipping. Five dollars will get you a horse drawn carriage ride around the property. Well worth it.
There’s also plenty of great beer to be had in the area. Ask the great guys at Wandering Dog Wine Bar for a recommendation, or see above about the Solvang Brewing Company.
We stayed at the Royal Copenhagen Inn and absolutely loved it. Don’t get us wrong, it didn’t have some of the bells and whistles that we are usually used to, but it was perfect for our weekend getaway. The pool was always available and the rooms were clean and spacious. Each morning we were treated to fresh local Danish pastries and coffee.
Our friends stayed at the Wine Valley Inn, which was literally across the street. That hotel is great for larger groups as they offer two story lofts as well as smaller villas complete with fire pits.
If you’re a tee-totaller like me these days, there’s much more to do than just sip wine. Check out these cool, and very accessible locals that are also great for the kiddos.