01 May AMTRAK to Solvang
Photos by: Joe Hilbers
Make a Great Trip Greater
Take Amtrak to Solvang on a Car-Free Journey
By: Ronnie Greenberg
Photos by: Joe Hilbers
Board Amtrak Pacific Surfliner at the Chatsworth* station, sit back, relax, and feast your eyes on the ever changing landscape on the way to Santa Barbara. Upon arrival at the historic Santa Barbara station be whisked onto a connecting Amtrak Thruway bus straight to downtown Solvang.
Off the bus stroll across the Square to the Solvang Visitors Center where you will be greeted with a promotional welcome bag (good throughout 2018)packed with information that includes, Free 2018 Destination Guide, audio ear buds, detailed maps, the Solvang Heritage Walking tour app which you can download at www.solvangusa.com/experience-solvang-mobile-app and special discounts for participating hotels, restaurants, wine tasting, museums and activities when you show your ticket. From here you are ready to start your adventure.**
Straight out of a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, Solvang cuddles at the crossroads of California’s southern central coast, in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country. Sunshine and robin blue skies embrace this Danish-American town that perpetuates the spirit of their beloved storyteller. Magic prevails in its quaint painted streets, tiled curio shops, and window-sill flower boxes. Fantasies appear from fanciful old world chimneys adorned with storks, thatch and weathered copper roofs, domes and spires. A sprinkling of creaking of the five country-style windmills, the beguiling Little Mermaid statue (the original is by the water’s edge in Copenhagen,Round Tower, the giant red clog, and the twinkling gaslit street lights that illuminate the town complete the enchantment.
Check into the magic of classic European elegance at the Mirabelle Inn set in the heart of town. Offering a rare retreat back in time, there are eleven individually decorated guest rooms and suites, all featuring antiques, fireplaces and art. Comfy beds are dressed with luxurious featherbeds, down duvets and plump pillows for the ultimate in sleeping comfort. On the more modern side a bottle of Ciquelicot Sangiovese is yours to enjoy along with complimentary WiFi, 40″ flat screen TV with premium channels and iPod dock. Guests are treated to a delicious gourmet breakfast that might include blueberry scones, fresh cut-up fruit, traditional oatmeal with apple compote; or specialty omelets with sausage. Owner Jonathan Rosenson and Manager Kelly will do all possible to make your stay delightfully memorable.
First & Oak, at the Mirabelle is where Executive Chef Steve Snook oversees his exquisite modern European, California Contemporary and French/American cuisine. Choose your own personalized tasting menu inspired by local fresh produce and ingredients. Hours are 5:30 to 8:45 p.m.
Located at 409 First Street (800)786-7925) or www.mirabelleinn.com
All around the town
Elverhoj Danish Heritage and Fine Arts Museum is devoted to the cultural heritage of Solvang and its early history. Located at 1621 Elverhoy Way,(805)686-1211 www.Elverhoj.org Hans Christian Andersen Museum features a large collection of the author’s books and art, with hundreds of first editions. Located at 1680 Mission Drive (805)688-2052. Old Mission Santa Ines, a National Historic Landmark, was dedicated in 1804 as the 19th in the chain of California Missions. Located at 1760 Mission Drive (805)688-4815 www.missionsantaines.org
Wilding Museum of Art & Nature is located at 1511-B Mission Drive, (805)688-1082 www.wildingmuseum.org The Copenhagen House featuring the best designs from Denmark, is exhibiting the Amber Museum with amber from around the world, and the Great Hall of Danes, a 6 foot tall Danish Village. Located at 1660 Copenhagen Drive (805)693-5000 www.thecopenhagenhouse.com
There are more than 35 restaurants around the village serving international and wine country cuisine
The Solvang Restaurant is owned by the personable Jeffrey Paaski,a member of the fourth generation of Solvang’s founding family. The decor is traditionally Danish with murals of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales and works by local artists. Booths are embossed with authentic crests of Danish villages. The restaurant was featured in one of the scenes of the movie “Sideways” and diners still ask to sit in the film’s famous booth. In addition to a menu featuring American hearty food, salads and specialty Danish dishes, Jeff is especially proud to be the home of Arne’s famous Aebleskiver served with powdered sugar and raspberry jam, a sought after Danish delicacy. Open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends Located at 1672 Copenhagen Dr (805)688-4645 www.solvangrestaurant.com Mad & Vin is the signature restaurant of The Landsby, a stunning 50-room boutique hotel. The restaurant’s lovely contemporary design with Scandinavian elements is inspired by the town’s Danish roots. It overlooks the lovely courtyard garden of the hotel, with access to the warm and welcoming lobby bar, all looked after by Barry Prescott, General Manager. Dining at Mad & Vin with Executive Chef Beto Huiitzen includes cuisine with specialized flavors from around the world and blending into foods native to the area. Dinner is served Tuesday through Sundays, in addition to daily breakfast. The lobby bar offers craft cocktails and beer, an extensive offering of local wines and a variety of shrubs made in-house by Chef Beto with spices and fruits such as mango, fig, blood orange and grapefruit. Daily Happy Hour from 4-6 has a menu including duck fat fries, Salumi with grilled cheese, calamari and Santa Ynez sliders. Located at 1576 Mission Drive,(805)688-3121 www.thelandsby.com Cecco Ristorante is a warm Italian cafe and patio where Chef/owner David Cecchini is famous for his thin crust pizza, pastas, and classic menu. Located at 475 1st Street #9,(805)688-8880 www.ceccoristorante.com Fresco Valley Cafe has Chef Matthew Raab showcasing American food with soups, quiche salads and sandwiches, alongside craft beer and wine. (805)688-8857 www.frescovalleycafe.com CHOMP owned by Aaron Petersen is a great place for burgers, fries and shakes. Located at 1693 Mission Drive (805)688-7733 www.chompsolvang.com Root 246 at Hotel Corque with Scott Gold general manager at the helm, is sought after by locals and visitors alike for delicious gourmet culinary delights. Located at 420 Alisal Road, phone(805)686-8681 www.root246.com
Savor the aromas of the mouthwatering Danish pastries and sweets from the village bakeries: Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery, Danish Mill Bakery, Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe, The Solvang Bakers, Mortensen’s Danish Bakery.
Stop in for mouthwatering world famous hand-made chocolate candy, marzipan, and an amazing assortment of ice cream and sorbets made before your eyes at Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolate Shop Personable owner Kim Jensen will be delighted to offer you samples. These awesome delicacies can be mailed and ship everywhere. Located at 1679 Copenhagen Drive, (805) 688-5612 www.ingeborgs.com
. Sample wine and beer at 20 downtown tasting rooms (125+ area vineyards.
. The local Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday
If you have not been to Solvang for a while prepare to bring your memories of the expected, right alongside the charm of the unexpected.
* Local stations on the way to Santa Barbara are Moorpark, Carpenteria, Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura.
**For general information contact: Solvang Visitors Bureau at 1639 Copenhagen Drive (805)688-6144 www.solvangusa.com open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For car free information go to www.solvangusa.com/getting-to-solvang/car-free-solvang