How To Spend 24 Hours In Solvang, CA and Santa Barbara Wine Country

How To Spend 24 Hours In Solvang, CA and Santa Barbara Wine Country


Sometimes you need to get the hell outta town for a quick recharge! Living in Los Angeles, I have a ton of options for mini vacations. Sadly, I rarely take advantage! I find myself traveling half-way across the globe instead of enjoying what’s practically in my own backyard.  So this year, I got a jump on my New Year’s Resolutions and took my husband on a romantic overnight trip to the charming and quite Disneyesque town of Solvang, CA.

When to Go:

Christmas is a wonderful time of year to visit Solvang, also known as Little Denmark and Little Copenhagen.  It is one of the top destinations in the U.S. to enjoy the holiday season and get a taste for being in Europe.  With windmills on every corner, Danish bakeries and clogs, you might even get confused for a second and think you’re in Denmark!  But don’t fear, you’re actually just 2 hours north of Los Angeles :)

We arrived in the afternoon and had a blast strolling the streets, checking out the shops, enjoying the festive lights and taking it all in!  They have a christmas parade, Smores Fest, live nativity scene and more.  And you can really visit any time of year.  Solvang always has fun events planned around the seasons, so be sure to check out this website for more info

Stuart Brazell in Solvang

Where to Stay:

There are tons of options on where to stay ranging from budget friendly, B&B to more boutique hotel experiences.  I was honestly quite surprised to find so many choices in this small town.  Seeing as it was a special occasion (we were celebrating 5 years of being in each other’s lives), I decided to splurge a little and booked a room at Hotel Corque.

We loved this hotel! It was recently renovated by renowned architect David Bury, who is known for his first-class architectural work with the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Plus it is right in the center of town within walking distance to everything and the staff is super sweet. I found a great last minute rate on Booking.com and even received an upgrade upon check-in.  Always remember when shopping around for last minute deals to ask for upgrades! If they need your business they are more likely to hook you up!  

Where to Eat and Drink:

When in Rome … but seriously, when in wine country it is about the food and wine!  There are tons of tasting rooms all within a couple of blocks of each other so enjoy! We spent the late afternoon bouncing around, but my two standouts were Calilove and Sort This Out Cellars.  Calilove has a cool music vibe and incredible guitars out on display.  My go to at this stop was the 2010 Spun Hunny, a Santa Ynez Valley Viognier named after the owner’s band.  And at Sort This Out it’s all about the labels!  Pinup girls adorn each bottle and they even have an annual contest to be the next featured girl! Here’s the label on their 2012 Muscat:

2012 Suited Muscat-2T

For dinner you simply must eat at Mirabelle Restaurant!  I had hands down one of the best meals of my life and I just came back from 2 weeks in Italy!  If you’re game to have an experience and try new things, order the Chef’s tasting menu with the wine pairing for each course.  Did I mention it only costs $80?? And they busted out a 1985 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill for the main course!

For brunch go to Paula’s Pancake House and order Paula’s Special (two thin pancakes topped with your choice of fresh fruit and whipped cream).  You guys know I don’t do carbs, but I straight up splurged and it was worth it!

How to Spend Day 2 in Wine Country:

The benefit of staying in Solvang is that you’re right in the heart of wine country.  If you feel you’ve seen and done Solvang, my suggestion is to take Foxen Canyon Road, enjoy the drive and stop at the wineries you feel like.  And I’m sure all my smart readers know to never drink and drive!

This was my 2nd time taking this wine trail so I stopped at new places.  My highlight this go around was Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyards.  They have freakin amazing wine, super cool staff, and a unique boutique.  I came home with an assortment of wines ranging from Roussanne to the Z 3 Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache blend.  Just typing this makes me excited to open one up on Christmas Day!

Stuart Brazell Foxen Canyon Road

Seriously though, you can’t go wrong in this area.  The choices are endless as you can tell from the pic above! And for all you Bachelor fans, you must stop at Firestone :)

Until next time!!! xoxo

Also read my tips on what to do in Marina Del Rey!

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