Sunday, March 24, 2013

Road Trip: Solvang

The list of downsides to living in Southern California is short, but even the most devoted local must admit that termites rank up there among the earthquakes, wildfires, and floods. Every October, the little terrors swarm about, establishing hungry colonies that quickly eat their way through rafters and support beans. So once a decade, Southern Californians must double-bag all the items in their pantries and medicine cabinets, round-up their pets, and vacate their homes for 48 hours while a fumigation company pumps critter-killing and potentially cancer-causing gases into their homes. 

For a 400-unit condo complex like the Windemere, fumigation is an especially complicated ordeal. Last week, the Merry Family decamped to Redondo Beach while we awaited word that it was safe to return. On Thursday afternoon, I was disappointed, but not surprised, to hear that there would be a 24 hour delay in removing the giant circus style tents from our building. 

California is a car culture. Faced with a day of endless possibilities, many of us choose to begin by filling up the gas tank. So it was that the Merry Family drove two hours up the 101 and found ourselves in Solvang, a town founded by Danes in the Santa Inez Valley of Santa Barbara. 

"Solvang" is Danish for "sunny fields."
I have never been to Denmark, so I cannot attest to Solvang's authenticity. To my eyes, the place looks quintessentially Southern Californian. It's squeaky-clean imitations instantly bring to mind Disney's version of New Orleans in Anaheim or Getty's version of a Roman Villa in Malibu. 



Replica of the Little Mermaid Fountain in Copenhagen





Since the success of the movie Sideways, the region has become well-known for its wines. The streets are dotted with wine-tasting bars where you can ask for a Pinot Noir and snobbishly reject the Merlot. Solvang is also extremely dog-friendly - almost every restaurant has a comfortable outdoor patio where your pooch can join you and perhaps help you finish the giant apple pancake that suddenly seemed like such a great idea after all that wine.

5 comments:

  1. Ah, haven't been there in ages! When I lived in San Luis Obispo, my roommate and I used to occasionally pop down there for beers and kitsch. Doesn't look like it's changed much except for now being "wine country."

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    Replies
    1. This was my first time back in about 10 years - I really don't think much has changed!

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  2. This is a fascinating town. I love going to wine bars for some wine tasting.

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    Replies
    1. I do too! Any excuse for a good drink. :)

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    ReplyDelete

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