Our weekend in California started off with the charming town of Solvang. This community was established by Danish immigrants who brought a little bit of home with them to California and the generations of their families that still live here. This town is so wonderful to walk through, home to wonderful bakeries and shops, streets lined with the beautiful Danish architecture, and even home to a a couple of windmills.
Our first stop was at the Birkholm Bakery for some lunch, but more importantly for some pastries. The side of the bakery has a painted wooden sign with pictures of the long line of Danish royalty and a brief history of Denmark told in a classic fairy tale fashion.
And speaking of fairy tales, we next wandered through the Hans Christian Anderson bookstore and museum. The book store is a wealth of books and games in an atmosphere that would turn anyone into a bookworm. But upstairs they have a number of pictures and artifacts of the the man and the stories that he shared with the world. There are the fairy tales in the many different languages that they have been translated into and copies of some of his writings. Though small, this is a wonderful tribute to the man of fairy tales. And outside on the corner of the square is a recreated statue of ‘The Little Mermaid’ like what can be found in the bay of Copenhagen.
Our last stop of this tour of this town was the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art found a little ways off of the main square. This was once a home of a prominent Dane who built his house with the beautiful brick work, decorative iron railings, and a hand carved wooden door of his hometown in Denmark. When he passed away the house became a museum and a standing reminder of the heritage and people that have built this lovely town. The museum offers some original furnishings and artifacts of the immigrants who first came here. The museum houses art exhibits in one area and while we were there they happened to have some original sketches by Rembrandt.
Solvang is absolutely charming and well worth spending a day in. It is a popular place to visit but it is easy to see why so many people want to come here. I think I could happily wander this town every day eating pastries and exploring their shops. If you want to find out more about Solvang, check out :solvangusa.com