California: A danish village & cows

My dad's side of the family is Danish (as in they're from Denmark, not a pastry. Though the Danes make some FINE pastries). For all I know, I'm probably more Scottish or Irish than I am Danish, but I fully exploit my Danishness.

I think it was my great great grandparents that immigrated from Denmark. My dad told us the story of my great great grandpa who was fluent in Danish. He was making a delivery of some sort near a dock and noticed a girl with a note pinned to her. It said she was straight off the boat from Denmark and didn't speak a word of English. A Danish speaking boy who just happened upon a girl who only spoke Danish. What are the odds? I don't know the full story, but she learned English and they got married. How cool is that?? The Danish heritage is still very much alive in my family. Every woman must know how to make aeblskivers, and my great aunt even works at the welcome center in Solvang.

A lot of Danish settled in the area for whatever reason about 100 years ago and formed the town of Solvang, and it's now the Danish Capital of America. Every building in town is built in traditional Danish architecture. There are tons of incredible bakeries and restaurants. This has always been one of my favorite places to go, and I grew up coming here. It's so fun and unique, and it's perpetually plagued with Asian tourists with high socks and cameras around their necks.

My mom worked here in high school!

Solvang is part of Santa Ynez Valley, which is where my dad grew up. I love Santa Ynez. It's turning into a second wine country, but it's full of hills, pastures, vineyards, and sprawling ranches. Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is even out here.

My dad spent part of his childhood on a ranch in the valley. I hadn't seen it since I was a kid, so he drove us out, and I'm so glad he did. It was an extremely rare day in central California. The morning fog burned off only to be replaced by grey thunder clouds. As much as I love the California sun, it was cozy and fun to dodge raindrops and the cool breeze.

If I were a millionaire, I would buy a ranch here immediately. This is the place that makes me think maybe I'm not such a city girl after all.

We passed the little one room red school house where my dad's drum and bugle corps practiced when he was a kid....
...and the little church where my grandparents were married.

I wish I could have gotten more pictures of the valley. There's the little town of Santa Ynez (where my dad went to school) that looks like the wild west. Every building looks like an old saloon from a John Wayne movie. And there's Los Olivos, where many movies are filmed in the town square for the famous flag pole. It was so great to drive around and revisit the places I hear about all the time.

Ok, time to go back.


  1. That first picture of the cow should be in a magazine. Don't ask me what one, because I have no idea, but it just should be, okay?

    I know I ride my Italian high horse most of the time, but I'm part Danish, too. No idea how much; my mom is a mutt of EVERYTHING. But her mother used to bake Danish butter cookies that were amazing. Now, I need that recipe...

  2. I've never been to Solvang, but it looks so cute! So here's my question to you. Is it gimmicky? I was never sure if it was more kitschy or authentic. Either way, it's adorable, and it looks like a fun day trip! Just wanted to get your opinion since you've actually been there! Husband and I were just talking about Solvang! Have you ever heard of Leavenworth, WA? GOOGLE IT. Better yet, click here:


  3. I LOVE Solvang!!!

    and guess what...every Christmas my family makes abelskivers!! My dad is from Sweden, but somehow the abelskivers made their way into our traditions, hehe! I LOVE them:)

    beautiful pictures darlin! LOVE reliving all these great places with you!!! love Katie

  4. Stunning photos, I wish I had something sarcastic to say about your Heritage & Cows but I've got nothing.

  5. it's so amazing that you got to visit all of the places that have hosted important moments in your family's history! I love it!

  6. Found your blog through the Community post. I love your pictures. And seriously, I'm with Alissa and loving the cow pic :)

  7. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! I'm Danish! My nana was born there! We have Danish flags on our Christmas trees. We make Danish cookies. But my Mom's side is Irish and Scottish. Who are you?! Are you me?


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