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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

California Dreamin 2016 - On A Mission

Onward with vacation recapping - let's pick up where we left off - which would be on Wednesday afternoon! We (sadly) left behind the awesome expanse of beach that was home to hundreds of elephant seals and made our way down the coast to our next stop: Solvang!

Solvang is a Danish community in the Santa Ynez Valley and has bakeries, restaurants and shops that offer a taste of Denmark smack dab in the middle of central California. All the buildings in the town are done in a style known as "Danish Provincial" and the town boasts four windmills and a 1/3 scale model of Copenhagen's Round Tower. All in all, a really neat little place to visit!

The courtyard of our Inn.
I'm not sure about the 1976...Solvang was established in 1911...
We arrived in Solvang around 4 in the afternoon and checked in at our hotel - a quaint little spot called the Wine Valley Inn and Cottages and then we set out to explore. Unfortunately because it wasn't yet Memorial Day, Solvang hadn't fully come alive quite yet and most of the shops had already closed for the day. We took in some of the architecture and the unique little buildings while scoping out menus at restaurants all along our route. We settled on stopping in at Fitzpatrick's Tavern and we were not disappointed - the food and the staff were absolutely delightful - my Mom and sister got a chicken pot pie that was to die for! We wandered through town stuffed to the gills with delicious food and scoped out shops we wanted to check out the next morning before turning in for the night.

Amazing succulents that I couldn't not take a picture of...
Succulents are everywhere in CA...but these were amazing!
One of four windmills in Solvang...
Lindsey...posing outside the Viking Garden...
We started Thursday morning with breakfast at the Belgian Cafe (I've linked up below...but the website connects to a place called Paula's Pancake House...NOT where we ate, unless the name has changed in the two weeks since then...) and had some delicious waffles - mine were covered with apples and were divine! I do love a good waffle though! We weaved our way in and out of tons of little shops that had everything from Danish pastries and wee viking ornaments to lederhosen and fudge! We also hunted out a toy store that has been in Solvang for almost thirty years...and I know this because when I was just over a year old, my family was visiting Solvang for the day and I thieved a baby doll from the store, ha-ha! Fear not - my parents realized I'd gotten out of the store with the baby doll firmly in my grasp and went back and paid for the baby...and I still have it in my hope chest! 

Before it was time to head out, we went to a little corner of town and recreated a picture that my Dad took with my Mom and both grandmothers when they visited California over thirty years ago. I picked up a wee viking ornament for myself, among a couple other small things and shortly before lunch we headed for La Purisma Mission in Lompoc!

Cheesing in front of a windmill...ha-ha!
Viking Pose - GO!
Picture recreation - version one - my Mom is in the other version...
The La Purisma Mission was established in 1787 and was home to the Chumash Indians and Spanish settlers and the full name of the mission is: Mision La Purisma Conception De Maria Santisima (it's a mouthful...right?). The mission baptized thousands of Chumash Indians into the Catholic faith in the early 1800's, a water system was established and building were raised and a community grew and flourished at the mission. The property was reconstructed in 1934 after years of neglect and ruin and today there are ten original buildings that have been restored along with the aqueduct system and the mission is home to donkeys, horses, cattle, goats and sheep!

The main tower & building(s) at La Purisma...
Artsy fartsy shot...ha-ha!
A tree in the courtyard...
Columns on the walkways...
After exploring the Mission for about an hour, we resorted to Yelp and discovered a little sandwich shop called Al Fresco Picnic to grab some lunch before making a loooonnnggg drive in crazy California traffic to our families' house in Oceanside. I snapped a quick shot out the window of the car at some Southern California vineyards as we scooted away from Solvang and I've shared that below! 

Vines of wine (grapes) as far as the eye can see...



In Case You Wondered (Lodging & Food)

Wine Valley Inn & Cottages in Solvang: cute, quaint and perfectly in sync with Solvang; we all liked this Inn but the room was a wee bit small for four people...

Fitzpatrick's Tavern in Solvang: Delicious food for a really good price and the proprietors are absolutely lovely!

Belgian Cafe in Solvang: Yummy breakfast cafe with a host of waffles and crepes to try..unfortunately the link seems to be a bit wonky...

Al Fresco Picnic in Buellton: A little shop offering fresh made sandwiches and salads; everything we had was great and reasonably priced!

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