February 26, 2014

Solvang, California: Greenhouse Cafe; restaurant review

open-face sandwiches at Greenhouse Cafe in Solvang, CA

Greenhouse Café  487 Atterdag Rd., (805) 688-8408.  No reservations. 

Set within a remodeled greenhouse with plenty of windows, this bright spot also has a delightful patio offering a town view—my own choice in good weather.  When I visit this atmospheric town, I like to indulge in the Danish foods—for breakfast aebleskivers, and for lunch petite open-face sandwiches (the roast beef here is tops).  More menu options include the Nordic Combination (Danish sausage and Swedish meatballs with pan-fried potatoes, gravy, and red cabbage) and the Nordic Lobster Wrap (fresh lobster with avocado, tomato, and lettuce wrapped in a flour tortilla), and a cup of the housemade pea soup is especially nice on a cool day.

Green House Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 24, 2014

Solvang, California: Hamlet Inn; hotel review

bed in Hamlet Inn in Solvang, CA

Hamlet Inn  1532 Mission Dr, (805) 688-4413.  15 rooms; 2 stories.  No pets.  Free parking.  Free loaner bikes and bocce ball court. 

This gussied-up strip motel features well-priced large rooms decorated in Euro-chic contemporary style.  Beds are covered with a white duvet topped with a fleece cover bearing the white cross-on-red background Danish flag.  The minimalist decor pops with royal blue carpeting, a wood-block nightstand, and light bulbs hanging low via a squiggly cord.

image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 21, 2014

5 great bakeries in Solvang, California

raspberry buttercream pastry at Danish Mill Bakery & Coffee Shop in Solvang, CA
raspberry buttercream pastry at Danish Mill Bakery & Coffee Shop

5 great bakeries in Solvang, California

This tiny town has five busy bakeries.

Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe  460 Alisal Rd., (805) 688-8188.  Both cinnamon bread and cinnamon crisps are available here, and don’t miss the owl eyes cookies.

Danish Mill Bakery & Coffee Shop  1682 Copenhagen Dr., (805) 688-5805.  With charming architecture and a cozy interior, this cute little bakery is the perfect place to enjoy a cherry boat pastry and cuppa.

Mortensen’s Danish Bakery  1588 Mission Dr., (805) 688-8373.  Daily 7:30am-5:30pm, to 8pm in summer.  The popular pretzel-shaped Danish Kringle coffee cake here is filled with custard, marzipan (sweet almond paste), and raisins, and you’ll also find all-butter shortbread, napoleons made with real whipped cream, and chocolate eclairs. 

counter at Olsen's Danish Village Bakery in Solvang, CA
counter at Olsen's Danish Village Bakery
Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery  1529 Mission Dr., (800) 621-8238, (805) 688-6314.  Operating within a large, open room and featuring little atmosphere, this bakery is known for its butter cookies and breads (it makes the delicious pumpernickel bread used at the Greenhouse Cafe).  How can you go wrong with a fourth-generation master baker in the kitchen?

The Solvang Bakery  438 Alisal Rd., (805) 688-4939.  The specialty here is Scandinavian pastries and gingerbread.  Gingerbread houses are created for holidays year-round, and do-it-yourself kits are available.  Tables are provided should you want to sit for a spell and enjoy something right on the spot. 

More things to do in Solvang.

More information on Solvang.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips.

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 19, 2014

Solvang, California: Hans Christian Andersen Museum + The Book Loft; things to do

Hans Christian Andersen Museum  1680 Mission Dr., (805) 688-2052.  Daily 10-5.  Free. 

Located upstairs in The Book Loft--a wonderfully browsable bookshop with a delightful selection of books for children--this tiny museum holds the largest collection of Hans Christian Andersen books outside of Denmark.  You’ll see a 5/8-scale Gutenberg Press built by a local craftsmen as well as some original journals and artwork by the well-known author.  Don’t leave here without purchasing a souvenir book for tonight’s bedtime story, perhaps The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, or The Princess and the Pea

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 17, 2014

Love sites around the world

If you are still in a Valentine's Day mood, here is another LOVEly post! It depicts images of love from all around the world.  My favorite happens to by own picture, which was taken at a handicrafts market in Mexico City.

As I was reading the intro of the post, my long-time love--who gave me red tulips for Valentine's Day that I picked out at the grocery store while shopping with him--hollered up to me that he had "cleaned Polly's poop." Those were endearing words because it is usually my job to clean the cat's box. BTW, when he noticed the tulips on Valentine's Day, I thanked him and he looked at me quizzically.

LOVE + heart sculptures around the world.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips.

image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 14, 2014

Solvang, California: Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates; things to do

Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates  1679 Copenhagen Dr., (800) 621-1679, (805) 688-5612.  Daily 9-7.  

Chocolates and candies galore are made here with original Danish recipes and no preservatives.  Danes especially like the nougat logs and marzipan pigs.  Peek in the back to see an assembly-line machine similar to the one used in that famous, and hilarious, “I Love Lucy” episode.  Pick out a sweet treat or opt for something from the soda fountain counter with swivel stools.  Or, if you’ve been really good and it’s not too close to mealtime, maybe they should have both!  

video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 10, 2014

Introduction to Solvang, California

Honen streetcar in Solvang, CA
Introduction to Solvang, California

Founded in 1911 by midwestern Danes, the replica Danish town of Solvang is just 35 miles north of Santa Barbara.  It seems right out of a Hans Christian Andersen tale, and some people have described it as “more like Denmark than Denmark.”  Its downtown features authentic Danish architecture, complete with thatched roofs, hand-carved storks nesting by chimneys, and windmills.  This charm is now locked into new construction by town ordinance. 

It is a popular shopping destination, with hundreds of specialty shops offering a wide variety of gift items, and it is an especially satisfying destination around Christmas when seasonal decorations add to the festive air.  Many of the boutiques operate inside buildings that are themselves of interest, with beams and other architectural details.  With kids in tow, you might want to work out a trade where one parent browses while the other plays with the kids in a park, and vice versa. 

Many restaurants and outdoor cafes offer Danish menus, and four thriving bakeries turn out excellent breads, cookies, and pastries--meaning you’re never very far from a sweet and a cuppa.  Part of the fun is walking around and selecting an appealing spot to dine. 

Benches are everywhere in this clean little town, making a visit especially easy on elderly visitors and those with young children.  Pile the whole family onto a surrey-covered bike to tour the town, or ride the Honen--a replica 1800s Danish streetcar pulled by two blond Belgian draft horses.  Don’t miss touring the town again at night, when it is lighted up like a fairyland. 

image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 7, 2014

Nadi, Viti Levu, Fiji: Spice Market; things to do

Spice Market in Nadi, Fiji
Spice Market in Nadi, Fiji

Nadi Spice Market 

Also known as the Central Market, this is a simple covered market where locals come to sell their produce and hang out with their friends and family.  You’ll see tables laden (often sparsely) with just one thing—like pineapples, or coconuts, or eggplants—and many folks display their items on newspaper atop the dirt floor.  More . . .

More things to do in Fiji.

A collaborative post with even more markets around the world.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips.

image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 5, 2014

Visit animals around the world on your next vacation

Visit animals around the world on your next vacation

Love animals?  Need some ideas for animal-centric vacations?  Check out this inspiring blog post about visiting animals around the world.  That's me in Thailand on top of this massive elephant. More about my adventure.

More things to see and do in Thailand.

More animal attractions.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world

February 3, 2014

Atlantic City, New Jersey: Trump Taj Mahal (CLOSED); things to do

Trump Taj Mahal casino exterior

Trump Taj Mahal  CLOSED  1000 Boardwalk, (609) 449-1000.  Health spa.  Named after Donald Trump's favorite blues musician, the Trump Taj has the city's second-largest poker room (it was featured in the 1998 movie “Rounders”).  The Steel Pier amusement park is directly across from the casino.

steak plate at Robert's Steakhouse Atlantic City
Robert's Steakhouse Atlantic City
Robert's Steakhouse  (855) 500-ROBERTS.  D M-Sat.  Located just off the casino floor, this posh retreat is a branch of NYC’s premier steakhouse.  It has its own butcher and ages most meat on site.

Robert's Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
updated 1-14-18