Solvang – The Flavor of the Danish

When you are in central California, a fun town to visit to enjoy some “old world” flavor is the small. Danish-themed town of Solvang. The town is very visitor friendly and you can easily explore the town’s windmills, see and listen to the chimes of the local clock tower and see statues of Hans Christian Anderson and his famed “Little mermaid.”  Start your walking tour at the town’s Visitor’s Center to get maps and information on local celebrations and events. The town is filled with wonderful shops specializing in everything Danish from wooden shoes to chic garments to small trinkets that will delight young and old.  The Danish restaurants and bakeries have wonderful items for every palette and meals can be leisurely and relaxed either inside or sidewalk café style.  Explore the local history of the area at the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art or visit the Old, 1804 Mission Santa Inez. The annual “Danish Days” event takes place in mid September and is complete with parades, colorful costumes and plenty of Danish food and fun.

Enjoy the peaceful parks in the area such as Nojoqui Falls park or Hans Christian Anderson park or spend some time at the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. Tour the many, wonderful vineyards in the area and sample the vintages in the local wine tasting rooms. Visit the local apple farms or spend some time enjoying the amenities of Chumash Casino Resort. The rolling and peaceful countryside of the Santa Inez Valley is well worth a drive and a few stops along the way.

Getting Back to Nature in Big Sur

If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of big city life, there is a spectacularly beautiful spot just 120 miles south of San Francisco, California along Highway 1 where you can “get away from it all” and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest. Camping, hiking and just relaxing in the peaceful state parks located here. View the unique single-span concrete arch bridge towering 250 feet above the river floor. From graceful waterfalls to dramatic ocean beaches, Big Sur offers visitors great camping as well as opportunities to enjoy various forest creatures such as Bald Eagles, California Condors, Ring-tailed cats and graceful Monarch butterflies. The sea offers marine animals to include elephant seals, blue, gray and humpback whales, playful seals and sea otters who regularly sun themselves in the warm sands on Big Sur beaches or frolic in the cold Pacific waters just off of the rocky coastline. In addition to camp grounds, there are motels and cabins for rent in the area to accommodate all interests and pocketbooks. The area also offers several wonderful art galleries and gift shops for visitors to the area.