If you’re looking to take a nice visit into wine country and are located in Southern California, I encourage you to make the day trip to Solvang. Located just 40-minutes or so from Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang is a little Danish village that looks as if it came directly from a storybook. This is fitting for a town that contains little nods and monuments to Hans Christian Andersen.
If this charming little architecture and small-village feel isn’t enough for you, the distinct shops will surely satisfy. There are little danish desert and chocolate shops, ice cream parlors, specialty wine and cheese shops, toy shops that contain vintage toys, and much much more. My personal favorite place is either the metaphysical shop or the old bookstore with the little museum dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen upstairs.
In fact, if you are on the lookout for old books, you must visit Solvang’s bookstore. They sell used books, and many are so old that they have their own exciting stories to share with you. While I was visiting with a friend this year, I found an old fairytale book that dates back to the early 1900s; unfortunately it was in Danish. So, I wasn’t able to read it. But it’s a place where you can be on the hunt for books of this nature for hours if you have the time.
All-in-all, the next time you have a day off and want to have a nice brunch, stroll through the park, and visit many independently-owned specialty stores, this is the place for you. I make an effort to head out to Solvang at least once a year.