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Old 10-05-2019, 11:48 PM
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Anyone ever been to Solvang, California?


Thinking of going there in the spring on one our Worldmark excursions, and was wondering what it really was like there-things to do and see, things to avoid etc.
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:56 PM
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Been there a couple of times. The whole 'looks like Holland" thing is kind of cute but that's about all there is.


Nope, almost forgot. There is an old mission there that is worth a look.

If you are in the neighborhood it's worth a look but I wouldn't make a destination out of it.
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Old 10-06-2019, 12:27 AM
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If wine is your thing, it's a nice spot to visit vineyards. And the coastal route between there and Santa Barbara is one of my favorite stretches of road. But I have only passed through and stopped for lunch, never spent more than a day in the area.
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Old 10-06-2019, 12:37 AM
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Been there a couple of times. The whole 'looks like Holland" thing is kind of cute but that's about all there is.
Uh, you mean Denmark...

It's a nice enough little town, especially if you are in the market for kitschy "Danish" souvenirs. It's in a very nice location, so make sure you have a car and time enough to drive around, even if you're not into wine. Los Olivos and Nojoqui Park are lovely.
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Old 10-06-2019, 12:48 AM
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There are some nice restaurants but other than that there is not much that is interesting to see. The
Spanish mission Santa Inťs just outside of town would probably be worth visiting. If you are into wine
there are some wineries in area that you can visit.

BTW Solvang is supposed to represent Denmark, not Holland.
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Old 10-06-2019, 12:54 AM
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If wine is your thing, it's a nice spot to visit vineyards. And the coastal route between there and Santa Barbara is one of my favorite stretches of road. But I have only passed through and stopped for lunch, never spent more than a day in the area.
If you've your own car or I guess you can Uber now, the Los Olivos Tasting Room was worth your time a few years ago. Lots of local wines from producers small enough they didn't have on-site tasting rooms. Sanford was a nice visit, just west of Buellton. I guess they've moved since I was last there.

The Danish thing is cute, for about fifteen minutes. Open-faced sandwiches are all right. Head up into the hills north of town and see if you can spot a California Condor (I never managed to. Saw a Golden Eagle or two though.) This may horrify silenus, but I actually like the pea soup at Andersen's, and I don't normally like peas.

Try the BBQ at the Hitching Post, Casmalia location. Then try their Syrah or Pinot Noir.
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:39 AM
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The Danish thing is cute, for about fifteen minutes.
(I was there 15 years ago, so this may be way out of date)
But yeah, GreyGhost summed it up.
It's just a way to spend some time.



I once read an official report about a zoo in a large city. The management surveyed the visitors to ask which animals they wanted to see most, and why they came to the zoo. It turned out that most people didn't care about the animals; the reason they came was just that they were looking for a way to spend a nice day with their family.

I felt the same about Solvang. Good weather+good friends=a good day.
The fact that we happened to be in Solvang was irrelevant.
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:30 AM
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(I was there 15 years ago, so this may be way out of date)
...

I felt the same about Solvang. Good weather+good friends=a good day.
The fact that we happened to be in Solvang was irrelevant.

It's been even longer (um.. 35 years, or more?), but even then that just about sums it up. Nice place to walk around and get some food.

My dad bought an ∆bleskiver pan there. About every 3 years he actually uses it. Don't buy one, just enjoy them while you're there.
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Old 10-06-2019, 09:05 AM
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One other thing worth doing in Solvang is PCPA has an outdoor theater there. A lot of talent runs through that theater group on their way between LA and San Fransisco. Easily its the best way to spend an evening in Solvang.
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Old 10-06-2019, 09:15 AM
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I never went, but my mom used to go there in the '70s.
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:47 AM
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I've been there. It's very quaint, with lots of excellent Danish pastry shops. Also, Ostrichland USA is there, so if feeding ostriches and emus is on your bucket list, you could cross that one off.
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:56 AM
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I was recently invited to something at Solvang, so I'm really interested in the replies. Also, how hard is it to get there (from the east coast, so I won't be driving all the way, nor have my car handy.)
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:00 AM
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I was recently invited to something at Solvang, so I'm really interested in the replies. Also, how hard is it to get there (from the east coast, so I won't be driving all the way, nor have my car handy.)
You can fly into LAX or Santa Barbara airport, then take the train to Solvang.
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:05 AM
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Hmm, and then maybe I could Uber to my final destination. Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:25 AM
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Be sure to stop at split pea Anderson's! Great soup!
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:26 AM
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You can make a week out of hitting all of the winery tasting rooms in Solvang. That's where we honeymooned. Lots to do in the area. Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, the Chumash casino, all the wine.....
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:58 AM
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If you've your own car or I guess you can Uber now, the Los Olivos Tasting Room was worth your time a few years ago. Lots of local wines from producers small enough they didn't have on-site tasting rooms. Sanford was a nice visit, just west of Buellton. I guess they've moved since I was last there.

The Danish thing is cute, for about fifteen minutes. Open-faced sandwiches are all right. Head up into the hills north of town and see if you can spot a California Condor (I never managed to. Saw a Golden Eagle or two though.) This may horrify silenus, but I actually like the pea soup at Andersen's, and I don't normally like peas.

Try the BBQ at the Hitching Post, Casmalia location. Then try their Syrah or Pinot Noir.
Some in the thread may already know this, but for those who don't, the novel/film Sideways takes place in Solvang.
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Old 10-06-2019, 12:33 PM
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An older sister lived in Lompoc (Yeah, laugh it up) when I was in my early teens, and we visited Solvang a few times because it’s not exactly the most action-packed corner of the world. It’s pretty hokey unless you are infatuated with Denmark, which I’m not.

I also recommend Andersen’s pea soup — if you care about such things, it’s vegan— just split peas, water, and aromatic vegetables, plus thyme and bay leaf. I own the very kitschy Andersen’s cookbook, and I’ve made the soup dozens of times for vegan buddies. It’s much better if you lob in a hambone or hock, though.

I didn’t know about Sideways, but William Castle’s excellent early 1960s horror B movie Homicidal was also filmed there.
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:20 PM
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Been to Solvang many times. You've gotten good and accurate information about the place for the most part. I especially agree with Gray Ghost's and silenus's posts. It's all about the food and wine in that region. The reason to go to Solvang proper is to sample the ∆bleskivers, enjoy the Danish architectural theme, stroll through the curio shops and pick up a pail of butter cookies.

Los Olivos is nearby and charming. There are many hidden gem restaurants in the area. The Hitching Post recommendation is a good one.

If you decide to do the leisurely drive on Highway 154 into Santa Barbara, it's best to not be in a hurry. I would add a stop at the Cold Spring Tavern on the Stagecoach Road. It's a hidden gem, a popular choice among motorcycle afficionados. Great outdoor dining, happy people and it comes with the history of being an original stagecoach stop beginning in 1868.

If you get really bored, you can try to find Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in the area. (I doubt you'll get that bored!)
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:26 PM
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And Hearst Castle.
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:32 PM
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And Hearst Castle.
... which is roughly a 2 1/2 hours' drive to the north. A charming journey to be sure, but not really nearby.
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:15 PM
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Solvang's got three things that I like; Danish bakeries, Ostrichland, and a world class motorcycle museum. It also has three things I hate; a shit ton of tourists, a million shops selling junk, and terrible traffic.

Los Alamos, Los Olivos and maybe even Buellton are more interesting to me.living nearby, I hit all of those regularly and only go to Solvang to look at motorcycles or freakishly large birds.
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:20 PM
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I've been going to Solvang since I was a kid, and I'm receiving Medicare. Haven't been in years though. It was smaller, more rural and less touristy 50 years ago. Love the pastry. Yum.

The drive is beautiful, and the wineries are decent. The valley (Santa Inez) is small enough to do in a day.

When I was in my early 20s a group of friends and I drove up from L.A., planning to have a picnic lunch we'd packed. We took the coast route up, and it was foggy and cold. We all decided to pass on the picnic lunch and eat at Andersen's. I like their pea soup. Well, months later I was cleaning out my car trunk......
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:54 PM
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It also has three things I hate; a shit ton of tourists, a million shops selling junk, and terrible traffic.
I had been there a number of times in the past, as part of seeing other sights in the area (wine!). We went at the end of July this year and wow were there a lot of tourists! It might not be like that at different times of the year, but we hit a very busy time. Ugh.

Oh, and they guy standing next to the chocolate shop handing out small purple candy looking things? Those are soap, from a different shop altogether, just be warned!
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:15 PM
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If you get tired of wine-tasting/drinking, find a Danish tavern that sells Carlsberg beer on tap. When I still drank, this was one of my very favorite beers. It's not half as good in the bottle, though.

I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant/beer hall we used to go to after we did a road bike ride in the area. It had pleasant outdoor seating and my husband and I would drink deeply of ice-cold draft Carlsberg.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:31 AM
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The weather is nice, there are some actually unique shops (including one that sells custom knives that closes on weekends as he doesnt care for too many tourists), two decent bookstores, some nice eateries, and one bad and one good bakery. VERY walkable.

If you are passing thru, it's worth a stop, and maybe even a overnite.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:18 AM
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... It also has three things I hate; a shit ton of tourists, a million shops selling junk, and terrible traffic.
Yep. Iíve been there several times and this is my take away. The mission is nice and there are some nice food spots but the kitch and traffic get old quick.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:43 PM
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During the day, it's all Danish pastry shops. After about 6pm, it's all wine bars. Other than the cute architecture, there's not too much going on there. A few art galleries, a bunch of tourist shops... If it's just a day trip, I'd say it's kinda cute but I can't imagine wanting to spend more time than that.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:47 AM
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Solvang's got three things that I like; Danish bakeries, Ostrichland, and a world class motorcycle museum. . .
We rode through there a bunch of years ago on a motorcycle ride. I forgot all about it until Andersen's was mentioned - we definitely stopped there. I've always wanted to go back to check out the Motorcycle Museum, but all the guys I used to ride with have moved on. I think we went through there before Sideways came out, which upped the touristy factor a bit.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:01 AM
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My Beloved has decided that a full week there wouldn't be worth it(and I agree with her), so we switched plans and are booked at the Ocean Sands at Virginia Beach on May 1st for a week.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:47 AM
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I lived there for 3 years as a kid (5th - 7th grade). Well, in Santa Ynez, about 10 minutes away if my kid's sense of time/distance is accurate.

Even 40 years later, the way it is described in this thread seems like not one thing has changed. Except for maybe traffic. I don't recall a lot of traffic or tourists back then.

Last edited by divemaster; 10-08-2019 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:17 AM
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I'm a Dane, and my gf and I are going to CA for a roadtrip next year. I'm curious to see how the danish culture is portraited, so I might go just to have a good laugh.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:00 PM
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Sideways was more about Los Olivos, which has turned itself into wine-tasting spots, antique stores, and B&B in the wake of the movie. With all due respect, I didn't find the movie all that funny. [The weird part was that I recognized the San Diego apartment-front where the movie is supposed to start.]

The wife and I did an overnighter in Solvang and traipsed along the tourist shop street. Nice, quaint, nothing purchased.

The wife and I also took her father up there when he visited from Santa Fe. Apparently he used to preach at an ancient Lutheran church up there. Lunch was nice; can't remember the name of the place but it did proudly server Carlsberg.... Ye Olde something something.

It's worth a half-day visit. If you're coming all the way from the east coast to visit Solvang you're either a huge Dane-lover or you've got scads of cash to burn on vacations. It seems like the entire town is living off the tourist dollars. And when we took the bus tour, the narrator quickly debunked the Danish myth. Sorry.

Dean R. Koontz' Cold Fire takes a visit up there and is set in the 'central coast' region.

Head north out of Solvang toward Buelton and you'll see more wineries and wine-tasting spots to savor. And, of course, if you keep heading north on the coast, you'll find yourself passing Vandenberg AFB (alternate Space Shuttle landing site), and Santa Maria (great steaks and birthplace of the Tri-Tip BBQ) and then Cambria & Paso Robles (even more wine!) if you want to drive that far.

Quite frankly, though, if you're hitting the left coast, there's more to do in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

--G!

Last edited by Grestarian; 10-11-2019 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:38 PM
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The clock shops were kind of cool. The danish is yummy too. The mission was sort of interesting.

It will eat up at least 3 hours of your life.

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Old 10-12-2019, 10:03 AM
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Two movies I've recently watched (and reviewed in CS) have brief scenes in Solvang for no reason other than getting that fake windmill shot, apparently. I guess some movie people love that.

(Movies: Paddleton and Funny Story.)
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