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Julefest Table Decor
I spent a week in California’s wine country in Solvang, Denmark, and it took me to Europe.
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Founded in 1911 by three Danish immigrants, Solvang was named after the Danish word for “plain of the sun” (very fitting for the Golden State) and, according to Elverhage, the city’s history museum, from the U.S. and abroad Attracted Danish settlers.
Now known as the “Danish Capital of America,” Solvang’s cuisine and architecture have made it a popular tourist destination.
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Since I haven’t been to Europe during the pandemic and I’m eager to cross the Atlantic, Solvang seems like a good stop for a trip close to home that’s a world away.
Solvang’s location makes it an easy day trip or weekend getaway for Southern California residents. She was even featured on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “Vanderpump Rules.”
It can also be combined with a trip to the beaches of Santa Barbara or nearby Montecito, where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry live.
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The fact that the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees in December has made lists like “The World’s Most Charming Christmas Towns and Villages,” “America’s 10 Best Christmas Towns,” and “Best Christmases” ever. Solvang did not stop at underground places. Cities that are going to be on your vacation bucket list.”
With the holidays around the corner, I planned a weekend in Solvang to see if it was the perfect combination of Denmark and the Hallmark Channel Christmas classic.
One of the first things I noticed when I started walking around Solvang was its famous windmills.
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Denmark has long been a leader in wind power and renewable energy, and at one point thousands of wind turbines were deployed around the country.
Solvang honors this history with its windmills. You’ll find four within four blocks of each other and are popular photo opportunities for tourists.
Below are some of the souvenir shops, others make a wonderful backdrop of the city’s brewery.
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Solvang is about embracing “hygge,” which is not a Danish word, as a national mood. Hygge is all about embracing comfort and warmth, like a cup of hot chocolate with the family or curling up on the couch while watching “on vacation.”
Walking through Solvang at night and watching the windmills light up the city, I couldn’t help but think of the word and feel its spirit—even in my sundress and flip-flops. .
Charming hotels and small boutique hotels are named after Hamlet and King Frederik or Danish cities such as Utterdag and Copenhagen.
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And everything from the restaurants and shops to the public toilets and bus stops has the typical Danish Bondswark architecture, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Or at least outside the US.
You probably won’t see a chain restaurant, although I did see a very nice Subway and Domino’s sign.
My parents, who visited me after Thanksgiving, said the town reminded them of Disneyland—but without the rides.
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We made it our mission to find all the replicas of famous places in Denmark that have been recreated in Solvang. These included the statue of “The Little Mermaid,” which pays homage to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name, as well as the Rondtharn, a reimagining of the 17th-century tower that still stands in Copenhagen.
City tours are also made by horse, similar to the Danish tram from 1915.
I haven’t visited Denmark yet, so I enjoyed trying many Danish things over the weekend, especially the food.
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After reading a number of travel blogs, I decided to have lunch at a Solvang restaurant, where my family tried the Telsit ham and cheese sandwich, Danish-style meatballs, and sausage plate.
For dinner we went to But Odenmark, which was also highly rated, and had Flaskestag (stuffed with pork) and Frikadeler (Danish pork meatballs) – two words I had never heard of before this trip. did not hear — with Wienerschnitzel.
Our plates were often loaded with red cabbage and potatoes and always topped with gravy. The food at But Odenmark was particularly delicious, with every dish full of flavor. The mashed potatoes were so good and the meat was so good that I want it for every Thanksgiving dinner.
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Five authentic Danish bakeries are located within five blocks of each other, making it super easy (and fun) to indulge in the many incredible pastries on offer.
My family and I tried Olson’s Danish Village Bakery, one of the most popular bakeries in town, and were impressed with every pastry we ordered.
The curling slice was so perfectly fried that it immediately hit my tongue. The Apple Danish was crisp and fresh while the Princess Mocha had a crunchy and sweet stroopaffel base with a delicious light mocha cream filling inside.
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Ebelskever are small and delicious Danish desserts that are often topped with raspberry jam and icing sugar. They’re a lot like donut holes, but better.
The Solvang restaurant is famous for its Ebelskier version, and there’s almost always a line of people waiting to get something from the drive-thru window. Trust me, the wait will be worth it.
According to the bakery’s website, members of the Kardashian clan are regulars, and Kylie, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and Kris have all posted gingerbread houses on social media.
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You can also buy individual gingerbreads (I tried one and it was delicious) or classic bakery products like bread, traditional Danish in different flavors and cakes.
What surprised me most about Solvang was all the shops. The whole city acts like Europe’s biggest Christmas market.
The only thing more than baked goods in Solvang are the hundreds of socks, jewelry, and nutcrackers you can find for sale year-round.
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It seemed like every other window I passed by was full of displays of smiling Santas, cute hand-painted scenes, and Christmas trees.
But the crown jewel is Joule Hoos, where you can buy Christmas decorations every day of the year.
Walking into Joule House – which has been open for 54 years and celebrates Christmas every day – was magical with 15 Christmas trees (yes, I counted), twinkling lights and lots of tinsel. And the shop was full of people happily debating which jewelry to buy for themselves or their loved ones.
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From the tree-lighting ceremony (held on Dec. 3) to this weekend’s Jollyfest parade, the city is working hard to “bring more harmony to your holiday season,” as the city’s website proclaims. .
Santa’s Village is held every Saturday in December in the main park, and holiday food tours are available on weekends.
When I left, Christmas trees had already been put up all over Solvang, and every night the town was lit up with beautiful lights between the trees and along the storefronts.
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During December, a wonderful little Ness (the Danish term for smell) hides in the city and inspires tourists and locals alike to try to find it.
The “Nice Adventure” is part of Jollfest and another element of Solvang that brings some European Christmas charm to the city (and lets you win special prizes).
Even though I was 30 years old, I saw a deer behind this tree in the courtyard of the Alwar Hodge Museum that made me squeal with joy.
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I wouldn’t be surprised if she does holiday magic all year, because Solvang fully embraces her legendary spirit.
I loved how Solvang was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen. Just look at the park entrance that bears his name.
There are also references to his fairy tale throughout the city, from the “Little Mermaid” statue to the beautiful “Princess and the Dwarf” and “Finger” murals painted on the walls of a Solvang restaurant.
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After a long day of exploring the city, it was time to relax at my hotel – which was as charming as the city itself.
I spent the night at the Mirabel Inn, which has been mentioned in several travel blogs I’ve read about Solvang.
I paid $225 for my room on Sunday, but if you book Friday or Saturday nights the rates go up to $300-400.
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The boutique hotel — which has just 12 rooms — feels like an intimate bed and breakfast.
As I entered the lobby decorated with an elegant chandelier and an antique grandfather clock, the only sign that it was still 2021
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