July 25, 2020
We decided it was time to escape the grid of Los Angeles and try a new adventure. I've always heard of Solvang, CA but until now it was just a myth! Honestly after visiting it's still hard to believe this place is real. It takes 2h30m of driving through mountains, fields of cows, and along the coastal cliffs to reach this fairytale town that looks as though it was dropped from the sky.
I mean, just look at these landscapes! Coming from New England, I have never seen anything like it so obviously I was taking pictures of the cows sleeping under trees (top right).
We finally made it to the outskirts and were greeted by adorable cottage houses and a few random windmills before driving through the main attraction itself: town.
Even the Subway is hidden away in Tudor style!
This was a little house we walked by a couple times, I thought it was too cute not to capture.
Our first stop was to find our friends who had arrived earlier in the day. It didn't take long and we found them at a nearby winery deep into a wine tasting. Too late for us to join, we wandered off in search of a quick bite with a promise to meet up after.
Our shared turkey sandwich was from Panino and had the *best* honey mustard I've ever tasted. I scraped off my onions and he ate my cucumbers.
We did meet up with everybody else (we were 6 in total) and tried for seats at the Royal Oak winery but they were full. Instead of finishing their wines and leaving, people were ordering food from next door and extending their tastings (big sigh). So after waiting for a bit, we went around back and bought a few bottles of fruit wine for ourselves.
Rachel got the blueberry wine, Bekah got a raspberry, and Paul chose Noir Blanc which features black currants.
We took our prizes to Dana V. and all ordered glasses of chilled white while we sat in the shade and people-watched.
After much deliberation and curiosity I went back to Royal Oak just before closing and ordered a bottle of the birthday cake wine. She said it tastes like funfetti with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla!
We left Dana V. and went around the corner to the nicest book shop. It was dark and cool with the perfect amount of nooks to wander through without getting lost. Everything was labeled beautifully and none of us could resist picking out a book. I chose a beautiful copy of Peter Pan with great illustrations, my childhood favorite. It marks the beginning of rebuilding my personal library!
Franklin and I skipped back to the car to grab sweaters and stow our purchases so I asked him to snap a picture without my mask. An ideal adventure buddy :)
I stole this shot on the way to dinner because it reminded me of Dad's old '58 Porsche, except his was fire engine red instead of black.
Dinner itself was a fabulous affair that took place at the sausage garden. Between the six of us we shared two platters of assorted sausages- the perfect amount of greasy paired with buns toasted golden. Two baskets of seasoned fries, a Bavarian pretzel with dipping cheese, someone got a schnitzel, a flight of beer crowned one end of the table alongside a towering cider, and of course 100 different kinds of ketchup, mustard and mayo. The curried ketchup was my favorite on fries, but the Creole mustard stole the show all around for smothering on sausage. No forks or knives in sight so we dove in fingers-first!
As you can see, we decimated/ demolished/ destroyed any trace of food in sight. I promise we cleared the table of all evidence in even less time shortly after.
Franklin and I bundled up and walked back to the car down the now empty streets of Solvang passing restaurants where the last few visitors were finishing up their own meals. The First & Oak restaurant and Mirabelle Inn were tucked away across the street from where we parked and looked like a great place to come back to.
We spent the next two hours in the car listening to podcasts and discussing the inner workings of a car engine. Actually it was more like Franklin was teaching me how cars work and I was in the passenger seat with phone in hand searching "car transmission for dummies video". (An actual search I tried) but I can now successfully say I understand car differentials and gear shifts :)