Monday, January 14, 2008


Solvang, California is a Danish replica village located in the Santa Inez Valley north of Santa Barbara. You can get there via Highway 154 to the east of Santa Inez or by Highwy 101 that takes you through Buellton.

According to sites on the internet Solvang was established in 1911 by Danish settlers who had come to the US but relocated to California to avoid harsh midwest winters (smart move).

You can see the Danish influence in the buildings and decorative accents.

The first time I visited Solvang was when I was in college. My memories from that visit are of 'gooies', wonderful Danish pastries, and of Thumbelina, the historic Danish needlework shop.
The first year we were married, The Professor went to Solvang a couple of times. And through the years, every time we visited Southern California, we would make sure we ran up to Solvang for the day, just to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere (and the pastries).

Our friends MS1 and MS2 noticed the thatch roofs, but the focus of the conversation was not on thatch roofed houses in Europe but on the similarities between the Danish roofs and the palm frond covered roofs we were familiar with in Papua.

We ate lunch at a restaurant that featured a buffet complete with danish meatballs, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, and various American and Danish foods. I would happily recommend the restaurant if I could only remember the name of it.
I had to drop by my favorite yarn shop in the world:

If you ever visit Solvang you really must go to Village Spinning and Weaving. The owners are truly the nicest people and always very helpful. They sell Lendrum spinning wheels and since I own one and needed a new drive belt, they were able to explain which one was best and how to put it on, so now I have a working wheel again (thanks to The Professor, too, who actually fixed the wheel).
There is also a historic mission in Solvang. Old Mission Santa Ines. We didn't have time to visit the mission. That just gives us a reason to return!


Anonymous said...

Oh how interesting photos and glance on history.

The bridge on under is showstopping!

Heather said...

Oh that sounds like a yummy place to visit. We have a town in the North GA mountains called Hellen. It's a german/Alpine town. Lots of fun.

Barbara said...

Such beautiful pictures and interesting history. Lots of the pics look English. I knew you would come back with some treats.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been back to Solvang in ages. In my mind, it was a touristy place full of shops and restaurants. But your historical points pique my interest.

Willow said...

Solvang is a touristy place and most of the shops are focused on tourists. The city planners decided to make the town look like a Danish village to encourage tourism, but the original residents were indeed Danish. I think you have to look 'under' the tourist emphasis to see the real Danish influence.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Oh how I love those pastries! I think it's time to visit Solvang again. That was so interesting about the thatched roofs being compared to the Papuan roofs, not something many of us would think of. Such a unique outlook could only be shared with long time "war buddies" who with a shared past...

Bethany said...

That looks like the perfect place to visit! I almost thought you'd taken off for Europe when I saw the photos!!! I had forgotten that you do spin and I would LOVE to hear about that!!

Bethany said...'re so funny-- of course all the things you are doing "count" as creative!!! You are probably one of the most creative people I can think of! You're also one of the reasons I'm pushing myself to try to be creative every day :)

Anonymous said...

I love Solvang too. How fun for you both!
Miss you guys.

Aqeela said...

Hi Willow, thanks for the comment and for visiting my page, ive just read all your january posts and now i have visions of you over there in the USA side by side with a man in a white jacket and holding test tubes of bubbling, brightly coloured liquids, getting ready to travel somewhere interesting!! Of course im sure 'The professor' is nothing like that but thats the first thing which came to mind!
You seem to travel quite alot which is a great luxury, i hope to do the same when i can drive (hopefully another month or so). I find it incredibly inspiring to visit new places. Hopefully il be visiting your blog again,
Take care,

tina said...

I've always wanted to go to Solvang, thanks for the tour, it was wonderful!

Anonymous said...

What a fun place to visit! It reminds me very much of a nearby town that has Norwegian roots. I love that thatched roof.

Kiti said...

I have enjoyed Solvang when I've visited, while working out at Vandenberg AFB. I agree that the pastries are fabulous. There is also the famous candy shop, if I'm not mistaken. I do think that the quaint European-style buildings look rather funny in the California landscape.

As for thatched roofs, "Danish" and "Dani" are only two letters different. Coincidence? I think not.

Verification word: quevd. Some sort of Viking-inspired Danish dish?

Elizabeth said...

What a lovely cyber visit to somewhere different!
When we lived in LA, I always wanted to visit Solvang - it sounded so pretty.
Since I'm now in a hot place anything even a little Scandinavian sounds super.

Mama Mia said...

Ooooo Solvang is so great! Glad you guys got to go and have some fun. :o)


Knitting Linguist said...

Solvang has long been on my list of places to visit, but I've never managed it. It's now moved up to the top! Someday... But that spinning store pretty much clinched the deal :)

MsAmpuTeeHee said...

Great to run into your post! I am a knitter traveling to Solvang in March. I ran into your blog searching for yarn stores there (weeks ahead of time, I plot LOL).

Sheery said...

Your blog is so lovely! I found it by searching for yarn shops in Solvang. We are heading up there this week to go to the Mission. My daughter has a project on the Mission to do for school. Thank you for the suggestion on the yarn shop!