Highlights of the Danish Village: Windmills, Towers and More
Approximatelyfour blocks by four blocks in size, Solvang is truly pedestrian-friendly with wide sidewalks and benches for restful viewing of the colorful village scene. Consider spending an hour or so seeking out the four windmills in the village and other landmarks.It’s an easy stroll and encompasses most of the town, passing by uniqueshops, bakeries, restaurants and wine tasting rooms.
Begin on the corner of Mission Drive (Highway 246) and Alisal Road at the 1/3-sized replica of the famed “Little Mermaid” sculpture. Turn south on Alisal Road and walk two blocks to the first windmill. Located above The Windmill Loft, the blades of this windmill spin when there is a breeze. Behind the windmill is a small plaza, one of many hidden throughout town, and a1/3-sized replica of the famous Rundetaarn (Round Tower). The original literally towers over Copenhagen, Denmark, built by King Christian IV inthe 17th century. A plaque describes the rebus (word puzzle) that appears on the tower.
Continue south on Alisal Road and turn right (west) on Molle Way, which is called “The Alley” by locals. On theright at the next corner is King Christian Tower, another replica of a famous Copenhagen landmark. Turn right (north) on First Street for one block and turn left (west) on Copenhagen Drive for one block. Another windmill comes into view on the south side of the street at the corner of Second Street and Copenhagen. The Blue Windmill in Hamlet Square is now the site of the popular Heidelberg Inn, which offers outside dining on a patio beneath the windmill.
South on Second Street is the Solvang Festival Theater built in 1974; this 700-seat outdoor theatre is partially visible from the street. Itis the summer home of PCPA Theaterfest (Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts). Continue on Second Street, then turn left (west) on Elverhoy Way to discover the Danish Elverhøj Museum of History and Art, located in a beautifully restored Danish-style home.
Retrace your steps and stroll west on Copenhagen Drive, passing shops and eateries. Look for the large red wooden clog – a Solvang landmark outside the Solvang Shoe Store (1663 Copenhagen Drive). Turn right (north) on Atterdag Road and one short block brings you to Mission Drive; cross and turn left (west). YOu will see thelovely windmill, which actually forms a room in this building, home to the Solvang Brewing Company (1547 Mission Drive). The final windmill on this walking tour is a bit off the beaten track. Proceed west on MissionDrive, continue across Fifth Street for a few hundred yards and be rewarded with a view of the fourth windmill in town.
Ready for a respite? Take a minute and rest on the Sladerbænken or “Gossip Bench” in front of the Solvang Inn & Cottages (1518 Mission Drive). Danish ladies love to chat on similar benches across Denmark. Don’t miss the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Solvang Park before experiencing more shops before returning to your startingpoint at the corner of Alisal and Mission Drive.
Wine Tasting and “Sideways” in Solvang!
There are more than a dozen wine tasting rooms in town, all within steps of each other. The Academy Award-winning movie “Sideways” was filmed here and highlights the region’s wines. A map with complete listings of local tasting rooms is available free from the Solvang Visitor Center or www.SolvangUSA.com
- Carivintas Winery – 476 First Street
- D’Alfonso-Curran Wines – 1557 Mission Drive
- Dascomb Cellars – 1659C Copenhagen Drive
- Lion’s Peak – 1659A Copenhagen Drive
- Lucas & Lewellen – 1645 Copenhagen Drive -(“Sideways” featured their Reserve Pinot Noir)
- Mandolina Tasting Room – 1665 Copenhagen Drive
- Olive House – 1661 Mission Drive
- Presidio Winery – 1603 Copenhagen Drive at the corner of Mission Drive
- Royal Oaks – 1651 Copenhagen Drive
- Sort This Out Cellars – 1636 Copenhagen Drive
- Tastes of the Valleys Wine Bar-1656 Mission Drive -offering premium, boutique wines
- Vin Hus – 440 Alisal Road -featuring gourmet foods, cheeses, beer and liquors
- Wandering Dog Wine Bar – 1539C Mission Drive -pet friendly
Wineries Welcome Tour Buses/Groups
Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard6200 Foxen Canyon Rd., Los Olivos, CA 93441, (805) 688-1545, (800) 841-1104, www.fessparker.com.
Firestone Vineyard5000 Zaca Station Road, Los Olivos, CA 93441, (805) 688-3940. www.firestonewine.com.
3950 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez, CA 93460, (805)688-0558, www.gaineyvineyard.com