I love walking the city of Solvang in the morning. In the 2 ½ months I’ve been in the Santa Ynez Valley, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this Danish City and its inhabitants. It’s not the Disneyland I visited with my family as a child, and it has not been taken over by the wine industry. The people are genuine, friendly, and welcoming. It is one of the most walkable cities I have experienced. Not only are there bakeries (5), wine tasting rooms (19) and now Solvang Brewing Company (I’ll talk about the burgeoning craft beer scene in the SYV in a future blog), but great restaurants, shopping, parks and museums.
This morning, I find myself at Solvang Restaurant, enjoying a delicious corned beef hash with poached eggs and topped with freshly made salsa. If you come before 9am (Monday – Friday) you can get this or 4 other specials for 6 bucks (includes coffee and tax)! The owner, Jeff Paaske joins me and shares the rich history of the restaurant as well as Solvang. I highly recommend a visit to both the restaurant and Jeff.
After an engaging breakfast I take a 3 minute walk to the Wildling Museum. I pull on the door and it is locked. The window washer cleaning next to me lets me know it’s closed. Ah thanks, window washer man. I knock, the door opens, and I am greeted by the friendly Executive Director Stacey Otte. I step in and am at once a world away from Solvang and now in a modern gallery/museum. Wow, it’s spacious, clean, modular, and new, with cool lighting throughout.
Stacey proceeds to explain the Wildling’s mission, which is for visitors to enjoy, value and conserve wildlife and natural areas through art. We tour the different exhibits which are national, the store, and workshop/classroom/craftwork/meeting spaces. Next time you are in the Santa Ynez Valley this is a must experience. They always have crafts at the ready for the kids and should be considered for you next retreat or board meeting. Bring the whole family to their next exhibit entitled “Beguiled by the Wild-ling” which will feature the art of Charley Harper. Opening Day will be Saturday, October 25th and will feature free admission with a guided Exhibit Tour at 1pm, live Animal Ambassadors at 2pm, and Harper Storytime at 3pm. You can learn more at www.wildlingmuseum.org. I thank Stacey for her time and depart. Walking the 5 minutes to my office on Alisal and photobombing a few tourist pics along the way (most of them appreciating the interjection).
After my work day is complete, I walk to a Solvang Chamber mixer being held at the Solvang Festival Theater. I am once again reminded of the genuine warmth of this community. The theater grounds are whimsical and park-like with the theater being outdoors and the seats surrounding the stage. It is a great place to hold an event. I recently came with my family to watch PCPA’s production of Oklahoma. A very fun and intimate theater experience.
This was just one of many great days I have spent and walked in the beautiful Danish village known as Solvang.
About VisitSYV.com: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best Santa Ynez wineries, best places to eat in Solvang, Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at www.VisitSYV.com for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations. Email info@VisitSYV.com for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.