After much deliberation we decided to spend a day of our MLK weekend visiting Solvang and Santa Barbara. We got out the door early Saturday and made quick time of getting to Solvang. We found a public parking lot that is a little off the main drag and were wandering the town within minutes. We did make a pit stop at the public restrooms, a feature I always appreciate about the public lots in Solvang....that and the fact that there is no charge for parking.
Solvang is a small town, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, that was originally settled by Danish immigrants. After spending time in Denmark during college it has been a fun day trip for me to get a Danish meal and a little Scandinavian flavor in my bones. I was a bit saddened this trip to see that the economy has forced more of the small Danish-themed shops out of business and more shops are being taken by mainstream strip mall type businesses. Really sad.
There were also many empty stores in the main shopping areas but it does seem that there has been growth in other parts of the downtown. It was a holiday weekend and by midday there were a lot of people shopping and eating ice cream and pastries on the streets. I have my fingers crossed that the town makes a nice Scandinavian comeback in the years to come.
We ate lunch at my usual lunch spot and then grabbed pastries to bring home with us for Sunday breakfast. I think next time I will try a new restaurant and one of the other bakeries in town just for fun. Those are the two businesses that seemed to have have stayed in business through the economic downturn: the bakeries and the eating spots. I did find a lovely shop that I had not seen before called Picket Fences. The Bug was very taken with the shop and had a great time looking at all the small details of this home decor shop filled with French inspired tin pieces and much more.
The little Scandinavian touches around town are fun -- like this etched window pane. Another classic shop to stop into is the shoe store filled with a fantastic selection of great shoes including many types of clogs. It's no secret I am a clog lover so it's always a fun stop for me.
It was a lovely little day in Solvang. I'll have a little more to share about our Adventure Day soon and two more stops we made. In the end we both ended up sick on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but it seems like The Bug was able to nip it in the bud very quickly and I have, I believe, finally, finally taken a turn for a complete recovery in the past couple of days. Feeling un-dead seems to be a very good start - haha.
all images by kalanicut