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Solvang, California

Solvang is a delightful Danish community located in Santa Barbara County in California. Danish bakeries, smorgaasbord restaurants, windmills, and folks in authentic native costumes give visitors a taste of “old country” Danish life. Solvang, which means sunny fields in Danish, dates back to 1911 when settlers moved out to the fertile fields and rolling hills of the Santa Inez Valley. These Danish educators built a Danish folk school, which soon relocated to Attertag College, which included Danish culture in its curriculum. Danish Days are celebrated every September and you’ll find many other events and festivals in this charming town all year long.

Enjoy a complimentary European breakfast buffet when you stay at the Inn at Petersen Village, an award-winning (4-Diamond AAA) property. Located in the heart of Solvang, you’re close to dining, shopping and other activities. Relax in their garden area, read current newspapers in the sitting area and dine in their exclusive Café Provence. Sleep in traditional canopy beds in their guestrooms or reserve the Tower Suite, a three-level suite with a fireplace in the living room, a two person Jacuzzi and a king bed in the bedroom.

Reserve a room at the Meadowlark Inn just a little ways out of town and situated on two peaceful acres with giant redwood trees and views of the adjacent mountains. Here you’ll find guestrooms ranging from cozy rooms to suites with full kitchens. All their rooms include coffeemakers, telephones, cable TV, king/queen size beds, and some are equipped with refrigerators and private outdoor hot tubs or Jacuzzi tubs. There is a swimming pool, lawn area, picnic tables and lawn chairs. Your well-behaved dog is invited to join you.

Sample pastries and breads from the Danish bakeries in Solvang and try the aebleskiver - jam-coated, powder sugar-dusted pancake balls. Savor medisterpolse (sausages) and frikadeller (meatballs) which are served in some of the local eateries. And, don’t forget to look for Danish (and European) chocolate.

Take a tour on the Hoven, Solvang’s horse drawn streetcar. It’s about 20 minutes long, leaves from the parking lot at Copenhagen Drive at Second Street and is a great way to see much of Solvang and enjoy its ambiance. Or you might rent a bicycle or a four-wheeled "surrey cycle" and cycle around town on your own.

Add to your Christmas ornament collection when you visit Jule Hus, Solvang’s Christmas House on Mission Drive. This charming holiday store has been delighting locals and visitors alike for over 40 years. They feature Old European Christmas ornaments, European blown glass ornaments, and other European collectibles. You’ll also see a large selection of Nativities, German wood nutcrackers and smokers, and a spectacular Bethleheim village. Spend some time browsing in Solvang’s many interesting shops – an olive shop, several woodwork shops, antique stores, toy shops and other unique boutiques. There are also art galleries located throughout the community.

Check out the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum where you’ll find vintage to current models of motorcycles including BMW, Ducati and others. They’re open on weekends and by appointment during the week.

Go take a hike at Nojoqui Falls Park which is south on Alisal Road about ten minutes from Solvang itself. The trail to the falls is an easy walk and takes about 15 minutes. There are also picnic areas and barbecue grills at this park.

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