December 18, 2018

Great Sleeps: Hotel Emma, San Antonio, Texas


Hotel Emma  136 E. Grayson, (877) 801-6134, (210) 448 8300.  146 rooms.  Complimentary margarita at check-in; full breakfast included; 3 restaurants; 1 bar.  Full-service spa.  Situated inside a building originally designed by famed architect August Maritzen in the 19th-century as the Pearl Brewery, this hotel is named in honor of Emma Koehler, who ran the brewery after her husband died.  This creatively designed upscale property is riverfront and features restored old brewery implements that are blended attractively into the decor, including a front desk that makes use of the building’s original antique mailboxes.  Its clock-tower and storehouses have been transformed into atmospheric guest rooms, a library, a lounge, a craft beer pub, and fine dining spots. 

exterior of Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


lobby of Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
lobby of Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


lobby of Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
lobby of Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


front desk at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
front desk at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


guest room suite at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
guest room suite at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


guest room suite bathroom at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
guest room suite bathroom at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


guest room suite bathroom at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
guest room suite bathroom at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


guest room suite bathroom at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas
guest room suite bathroom at Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas


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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

December 5, 2018

Sights to See: Christmas Julefest in Solvang


I first heard of the replica Danish town of Solvang, which is located in California on Highway 101 in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in reference to it being a great place to go for Christmas shopping.  And though I have visited it many times through the years to enjoy its charming authentic Danish architecture complete with thatched roofs and windmills, it is just within the last few years that I made it there for its annual December Julefest.

Julefest Christmas tree in courtyard in Solvang, California
Julefest Christmas tree in courtyard in Solvang, California

The town’s hundreds of specialty shops offer unusual gift items year-round, but they add more goodies plus seasonal decorations and a festive air around Christmas.  An annual Tree-Lighting Ceremony is held in Solvang Park with live entertainment, caroling, and the arrival of Santa Claus, and a Julefest Parade features hundreds of participants marching, trotting, cruising, and strolling along festively decorated streets.  Additionally, the family-friendly Solvang Nativity Pageant is an elaborate stage presentation that includes narration, music, and live animals.  Visitors during this time also can win a prize while exploring the town in search of the hidden Jule Nisse (mischievous elf-like Danish figures).  When I visited, I witnessed Santa leave a bar, mount a motorcycle, and chug down the street singing “Jingle Bells,” although the singing might be a false memory.”

Christmas decor in Solvang Restaurant in Solvang, California
Christmas decor in Solvang Restaurant in Solvang, California


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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers