Exploring Solvang

BY: JONATHAN MURRIETTA

Denmark

Nestled in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley is a hidden treasure for travel goers. Cal State Long Beach students eager to book a last minute trip before school starts or just looking for somewhere to vacation on Labor Day weekend or any other weekend will find Solvang a perfect choice.

Solvang is a small Danish village—it is California’s “Little Denmark.” Orbitz Worldwide Travel calls Solvang “one of the top 5 destinations with international flair.” All year long, Solvang is a haven for those craving an international escape that is also affordable and convenient. Solvang is just north of Los Angeles yet instead of freeways and traffic, lovely windmills and authentic Danish pastry shops permeate this relaxing village. The rustic setting is home to countless bakeries that serve fresh Danish pastries. Delicious restaurants such as “Paula’s Pancake House” serve mouthwatering breakfasts that include Danish pancakes (a flatter and bigger version of the traditional pancake) with a choice of a variety of sausages, or bacon and eggs cooked to order. The best way to experience Solvang is simply to walk along the streets or perhaps take a tour of the dainty village in a horse and buggy. Solvang boasts a number of interesting shops, each with its own Danish ambiance. If looking to stay more than a few nights, quaint little cottages are available to stay in as part of the Wine Valley Inn Hotel.

Solvang is at the center of the Santa Ynez Valley, which offers some of the best Wine and Beer Tasting, for those 21 and older. There are countless wineries in the area that provide guests a behind-the-scenes look at how wine is made.

Not only does Solvang provide a rich experience for food and drink enthusiasts, it also hosts a number of rare attractions for the animal lover. Solvang is just a few miles away from a miniature horse ranch called Quicksilver Ranch. The ranch is open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. Also close by is Ostrich Land, where countless ostriches and emus can be viewed up close and personal by visitors. The ostrich farm is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors have a rare opportunity to feed these prehistoric looking creatures!

Solvang is a beautiful drive just north of Santa Barbara. Hop on the north 101 freeway from Los Angeles and enjoy the coastal scenery along the way. Indeed, Solvang, CA is a perfect local international getaway. For more information, visit www.solvangusa.com.