"Denmark in Central California" Top 5 Page for this destination Solvang by RedEaredPanda
Solvang Travel Guide: 272 reviews and 693 photos
Along the central california coast, about 45 miles north of Santa Barbara or 130 miles north of Los Angeles, Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators from the midwest who were in search of a site for a Danish-type folk school. Solvang meaning "sunny field" is nestled between the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountain Ranges, on a portion of the sprawling Rancho San Carlos De Jonata.
Included amongst the first arrivals were farmers, carpenters and other artisans who helped construct the first buildings, homes, hotel and the original folk school (Atterdag College was built in 1914 on a hill on the north side of the town).
In 1928, the church home for the congregation of Bethania Lutheran chuch was completed on Atterdag Road. It was patterned after a typical rural church in Denmark with interiors handcarved and woodwork on the altar, pulpit and altar rail.
Role of Atterdag college declined over years and in the spring of 1970, building was demolished to make way for the Santa Ynez Valley Recovery Residence, a convalescent facility.
Solvang's many Danish American residents continue to perpetuate their heritage in Solvang. Danish and Danish American fraternal and social organizations are active in Solvang, including Danish Brotherhood and Sisterhood Lodges, Dania Men's and Ladies Lodges and a Solvang Chapter of the Rebild Natinal Park Society.
A Danish Custom which has continued in Solvang to this day is the rejsegilde, a celebration at the raising of the highest rafter on a new building. This tradition is observed with most new construction in the area, spreading throughout the non Danish population of the Santa Ynez Valley. Another tradition of Sovlang's Danish backgroundis found in the array of artificial storks gracing the chimneys and roof lines of many of the Danish Style homes and commercial buildings. People is Solvang believe a stork on the roof will bring good luck. There are street illuminations in the form of old fashioned gas lamps, many of which at one time saw service in Copenhagen. Lending emphasis also to the Danish countryside flavor are Solvang's quintet of country-style windmills.
Tours of the town are provided daily via Honen "The Hen", a replica of a Copenhagen street car of the early 1900's which is powered by a pair of large blonde Belgian horses.
Solvang has 2 museums. First is the Elverhoj Museum devoted to the cultural heritage of Solvang and displays information about early Solvang history, examples of Danish furnishings and rotating exhibits of art. The second is the Hans Christian Anderson Museum featuring a large collection of the author's books.
The varied population of Santa Ynez valley includes Chumash Indians who live on a nearby reservation in Santa Ynez (visit the casino) and the Mexicans and Spanish whose forbears came to Solvang long before it was envisioned as a Danish Town.
Legacy of early settlers, the chumash and the mexicans and the padres is evident in the OLD MISSION SANTA INES, which was dedicated on September 17, 1804 as the 19th in the chain of 21 CALIFORNIA MISSIONS.
From Los Angeles, It's one and half hour drive along highway 101 north.. Get to go through Santa Barbara so you could stop by and do some shopping or enjoy the beach meanwhile.
- Pros:Walking around shopping and dining (lots of choices to eat)
- Cons:Don't really need more than one or two days max to visit the little city
- In a nutshell:It's definitely worth stopping by for a day or even a weekend
A fun way to take a tour of the city other than by walking is to take a ride in the horse drawn car/wagon.. They call it... more travel advice
Mission Santa Inez still conducts Catholic Ceremonies every Sunday morning. They also conduct special ceremonies such as... more travel advice
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- "Denmark in Central California"
- "SOLVANG, AMERICA'S LITTLE DENMARK"
- "Solvang - The Danish Town"
- "Solvang, California"
- "Solvang - A taste of Denmark"
- "Solvang ~ The Danish Capital of America"
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