Friday, September 3, 2010

California's Central Coast Vacation: Solvang

Solvang is a great little tourist town.  The entire town is built to look a Danish town and, as my daughter told us, looks like a "castle city".  There's even a Little Mermaid statue in a fountain in town and a Hans Christian Andersen museum (small and a little boring for small children,but you might like it if you like to look at old books!).  We started our second day of vacation walking around the village, shopping for souvenirs and looking in all the tourist shops.  My daughter picked out a snow globe for her collection and then we went down the street to the Mission Santa Ines.  It's a jewel of a little mission.  There are a ton of Madonna's throughout the art collection and the gardens were peaceful and lovely.  You only need an hour to explore the grounds, although I would have loved to spend some time there alone, sketching...

After a morning spent walking around shops and the Mission museum and being told not to touch anything, it was time for my daughter to get a much needed break.  We found a great park in Solvang, called the Sunny Field Park.  It looks a bit like the Danish village of Solvang and has everything from Gingerbread houses to Viking ships that can be climbed over and swung from.  We sat on a bench and watched my daughter run and explore for about an hour.  Once assured that we had worn her out, we moved onto a picnic lunch on the grounds of the tasting room of Buttonwood Farm Winery.  I packed a lunch of cheese, crackers, cold pizza and peanut butter cookies before we left and this was the perfect location to enjoy the meal. 

My husband and I split a wine tasting during lunch and my daughter chased butterflies and ran around the fruit laden peach trees.  The picnic tables are set-up under some lovely old trees, allowing for a picnic of dappled sunlight and light breezes. 

We then piled into the car for the next leg of our journey-our next destination was Cambria-a two hour drive away.  After a big picnic lunch and plenty of fresh air and sunshine, my daughter was ready to sit in the car a spell and rest.  We did make a quick stop in San Luis Obispo to have ice cream at the famous Madonna Inn.  After all, we couldn't deny my daughter, the queen of pink, a chance to view the outlandish decor of the steakhouse there!

Tune in tomorrow for our Cambria Adventures!

P. S.  Do I need to tell you that you shouldn't drink and drive?  My husband and I either had a designated driver or made sure that plenty of time had passed before getting in the car after imbibing.  Be sure to plan your trip accordingly if you plan to sample at any wineries.  Also note, minors are not allowed in tasting rooms.