Ventura, CA

26 July 2006


Solvang is located about 70 miles north of Ventura in the Santa Ynez Valley. Those of you who had seen the movie, Sideways, will know the valley as the location of the escapades of the two main characters. There are over 60 wineries in the valley with a greater number of tasting rooms. I like my wine, but am not big on going from one tasting room to another, although I plan to do some tasting when we get to Napa and Sonoma.

Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators. The name means sunny fields. The buildings are in traditional Danish architecture. It is certainly a tourist mecca, with lots of shops selling European products. The town also has it share of wine tasting rooms representing some of the local wineries.

One of the Danish traditions replicated in Solvang involves the cranes. In Denmark and some other European countries it is considered good luck to have a crane nesting on your roof. People put up wagon wheels as a base for the crane's nest in the hope of attracting this good luck. In Solvang, they don't have living cranes so the have carvings of cranes on a number of the roofs.

When we left Ventura, the temperature was in the low 70s with a low overcast. As we traveled north on US 101, which follows the coast to Santa Barbara and then to within a few miles of Solvang, the sky started clearing and the temperature rose a bit into the low 80s. On the way back we took a different route to Santa Barbara and then down the 101 to Ventura. The route goes over a 2,000 foot pass in the Los Padres National Forest. As we traveled through the hills the temperature reached into the mid 90s. As soon as we started down the long grade that took us to Santa Barbara, the temperature started to drop back into the upper 70s. The impact of the cool Pacific waters on the temperatures is quite evident.

Solvang Scenes

Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid
Visitor's Center