General Area in Solvang>Question Details

J.P., Home Buyer in Tampa, FL

Can you describe how Solvang looks and feels for a person that has never lived here?

Asked by J.P., Tampa, FL Mon Apr 23, 2007

Do residents maintain their homes and lawns? Are there dramatic differences between different neighborhoods or zip codes? Is there a dominant architecture throughout the city?

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For some visitors, Solvang’s Danish roots are like real roots, in that they don’t see them at all. Tourists say “Look at those windmills! What a nice Dutch village!” Only a few towns in America started as educational communities. Solvang’s founders established a Danish folk school and built their town around it, largely with Danish immigrants already in America. They came from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, all across the mid-West, as well as Denmark. Founding fathers Nordentoft, Gregersen, and Hornsyld had searched the state for the right spot. After an attempt to buy land in Mendocino failed, they found the Valley in 1911. The fascinating Elverhoj museum at 1620 Elverhoy Way chronicles the tale. This is a town with a strong sense of community. Many residents still have ties to Denmark by blood or marriage. Kids attend schools their grandparents built.

Superb bakeries are reason enough to move here permanently. Descended from generations of Danish bakers, Bent Olsen of Olsen’s Danish Bakery and Torben Petersen of Danish Mill Bakery are up well before the sun, preparing mouth watering pastry and breads, fresh daily. Add Mortensen’s Bakery and Solvang Bakery, and you’re never more than a block from blowing your diet.

The Solvang shopping directory lists 190 businesses, some truly great stores. Marianne Larsen’s Gaveaesken (“The Gift Box” in Danish) at 433 Alisal Rd. is a local favorite. Born in Denmark, former Danish Maid Marianne specializes in hand made Scandinavian gifts. The Solvang Children's Shop at 1661 Copenhagen is great for outfitting the kids. Across the street, Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates at 1679 Copenhagen Dr. creates old-fashioned Danish chocolates and candy, which they ship all over the globe. Sweet! The Royal Copenhagen Shop next door clearly shows the impact of many buying trips to Denmark in the varied inventory, including a superb Danish cookware collection. You can get your own ableskiver pan across the street at Birgitte and Steen Pedersen’s Iron Art Gift Shop. Kathy Mullin’s Book Loft at 1680 Mission Dr. is a fine bookstore, with a Hans Christian Andersen Museum upstairs. They’ve inspired thousands of young writers with their essay contests over the years. The Solvang Antique Center collective at 486 First Street has an overwhelming array of fine antiques and kitschy esoterica. Phil Grant’s First Street Leather at 1634 Copenhagen is a model for retailers and a joy for buyers. An outstanding collection of coats, hats, belts, bags and more since 1972, plus Phil’s personable presence. The Jule Hus, Solvang’s Christmas store at 1580 Mission Dr., is ornament heaven. Owners Lauren and David Watts often travel to Europe to seek out unique finds. Don’t miss Pearls of Provence at 485 Alisal for a cheery “Bonjour!” and a quick idyllic trip to the lavender laden south of France, complete with period antiques and colorful linens. More tasting rooms are opening. Lucas & Lewellen is at 1645 Copenhagen Dr. Legendary Louis Lucas is one of the pioneers of viticulture in this area. Digital Instruments founder physicist Virgil Elings' Solvang Motorcycle Museum way down at 320 Alisal Rd is one of the best collections of classic and vintage bikes in the USA. For more info visit my website.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 9, 2011
Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish Educators. The heart of Solvang is still predominantly Danish architecture. Pride of ownership shines throughout this community.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 23, 2007
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