August 23, 2016,
Have you heard of Solvang? We hadn’t, till the very terrible West Coast bus tour we took the family on halted very briefly here. After stop just long enough for a bio-break and a view of the gleaming white yachts anchored at Santa Barbara, the bus made its way to SFO. The Pacific Coast Highway, or Calif-1 is one of the most scenic coastal routes, with the sparkling ocean on one hand and the rugged mountains on the other. Along the way, our guide mentioned, we would pass through the heart of California’s “angry-culture”. Not sure if I had heard him correctly, I shot the husband a quizzical look. The husband simply shrugged. Right before this, the guide had been talking about Native Americans, Spanish missions and Mexico, but before we could form to any conclusion on this strange culture, he went on to add that 80% of America’s grapes come from here. The husband and I had a field day pointing to vineyards and laughing.
We stopped for lunch at Solvang. Solvang, is the dream-come-true of three Danish gentlemen, who wanted to set up a village for Danish immigrants in California. In 1911, they Danish-American Colony corporation bought almost 10,000 acres of prime land in the Santa Ynez Valley and named the new colony Solvang, meaning sunny fields. Though originally built in the local style, the town got a Danish facelift in the 1940’s. Today, the Danish heritage is visible everywhere, in the half-timbered architecture and bakeries offering a taste of Denmark. The town even has windmills!
In recent years, Solvang has gained popularity as a wine destination as well.
While we found some pretty good vegetarian food at the only/biggest restaurant in town, we did not have enough time to explore. We missed out on the replica of the Little Mermaid statue, the bust of Hans Christian Andersen, the wine and pastries but the old world charm hangs thick and we did get a taste of that.