Experience Denmark in the USA

in Pinmapple2 years ago (edited)

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Initial Encounters of the city of Solvang in California, USA

Nicknamed the Danish Capital of America, the city of Solvang in California is a travel destination worth discovering.

Kanelsnegle. Wienerbrød. Butter Cookies. Gabled roofs. Dormer windows. Half-timbered houses. Windmills. These were some of the welcoming sceneries that triggered me to ponder "Am I in Europe?" It was clearly like arriving in Denmark when we entered the portals of this charming village tucked away inside the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County of California, USA.

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Entering the City of Solvang in California

Map of Solvang in California (Western USA)

This time I was traveling with a tour group on a large bus along the west coast of the United States. Because we were with other foreign tourists, our schedule was tight. We didn't possess the luxury of lingering there forever (only more than a couple of hours), hence we made the most of our quick visit by simply accomplishing the basics. And as spectacular as the other American landmarks were, this exotic destination was enough to replenish our taste buds plus enjoy a sneak peek of this quaint little town.

The gorgeous attractions within this special locality were within walking distance from each other, thus a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood did the trick.

But before proceeding further, have you ever wondered how Solvang became the popular destination it is today?

Quick Peek of History

Translated as the Danish terminology for " Sunny Field", Solvang, now actually an official city, was the next exciting destination on our bucket list. The locality's humble origins began in 1804, during a period when Mission Santa Inés, a Spanish missionary organization led by Father Esteve Tapis, O.F.M., was established. This small community flourished during the Mexican period but was later deserted during the American conquest of California. By 1911, a fresh colony was initiated around the same mission by some Danish-Americans who invested in 3,600 hectares (9,000 acres)of the neighboring Rancho San Carlos de Jonata, to commence a Danish community far away from the freezing temperatures of the Midwestern winters.

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One of the Danish commercial establishments in Solvang

From 1947 until the present era, these settlers adopted their characteristic style of Danish architecture and have since attracted a lot of tourists, making this destination a vibrant hotspot for local and international visitors. No wonder lots of people from different walks of life pass through their busy streets, bakeries, wine stores, inns, boutique hotels, commercial establishments, and historic buildings.

Aside from our restless feet, my companions and I were also exhausted, feeling hungry and thirsty due to our hectic agenda. Solvang was not the first stop for the day, since we already came from other fabulous spots along the American west coast. Some portions of our physical energy were already drained. So naturally, guess what was the very next thing on our minds? Food! It was about time to try their local delicacies.

Sumptuous Gastronomic Delights

The Solvang Bakery was the first shop that caught our attention. This pastry shop was a family-owned business where we discovered most of the usual Danish desserts, cakes, bread, pies, and other mouthwatering treats.

This renowned company was well recognized for tailor-made gingerbread houses and similar creative products.

In fact, these original recipes were developed by the founder herself, serving avid customers for more than 30 years, plus have become personal favorites of famous celebrities and distinguished personalities.

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The Exterior Facade of Solvang Bakery

With my sweet tooth aching, I couldn't wait to try their tasty offerings.

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Solvang Bakery's delicious Butter Cookies

After filling our tummies, I had to stand for a while on the sidewalk to allow the food to sink in. I was full to the brink, and it was helpful to take a slow stroll to melt down the added calories. It was also the ideal opportunity to start exploring this small Danish community on foot. There was still so much to see around!

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Relaxing on a Sidewalk in Solvang

"Hey, look at that horse-drawn carriage! Isn't that a fun way to explore Solvang?" I screamed at my companions while pointing at the ride.

"Oh yeah, we should try that next time. We just don't have the extra time today," they replied with a bit of regret on their faces.

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Historic horse-drawn Trolley of Solvang

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Danish Community of Solvang, California

One of the major highlights of Solvang was its plethora of vernacular buildings, structures, and constructed environments.

This Danish utopia was truly similar to the real thing, replicating the local design flavors of the original nation.

As fabulous as this place was, it even had a clone of Copenhagen's Little Mermaid statue, the famous Rundetårn (Round Tower), including the existence of 4 spectacular windmills for the amazement of visitors.

Remarkable Danish-Styled Architecture

From an architectural perspective, Solvang initially built their infrastructural developments in the westernized style. Furthermore, the Lutheran church, constructed in 1928, was actually the very first monument that adopted the traditional signature of Danish architecture.

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Danish architecture at its finest in Solvang

And it was not until the 1930s that local residents commenced building their houses with the Danish medieval style which were particularly exhibited in half-timber facades.

For those locals who could not afford real wood, they cleverly mixed cement with a brown-colored substance or dye to mimic the appearance of authentic timber beams.

You can witness this distinctive character in most of their buildings. Isn't that amazing?

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Astounding Exhibits of Danish architecture in Solvang

We then stumbled upon one of their iconic windmills along Copenhagen Drive, the city's main thoroughfare. This prominent landmark was also close to Solvang Bakery which we visited earlier. It was said that until the 1940s, the movement to transform Solvang into a realistic Danish town took shape. A local woodworker, plumber, and metalsmith by the name of Ferd Sorensen took the initiative to install the first Danish windmill beside his home.

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Danish Windmill along Copenhagen Drive in Solvang

Walking around these admirable vicinities, we merely felt like being present in another generation, definitely outside of America, as each building contributed its share of the memorable experiences of Denmark. Every place we witnessed, from restaurants, shops, bus stops, and other edifices reinforced the Danish bindingsvaerk architecture.

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The vernacular Danish architecture in Solvang

The most common characteristics of Danish architecture included gabled roofs, dormer windows, tiled roof accents, and other elements that embodied budget-friendliness, practicality, and functionality.

Because the Danes were thrifty people, their houses were simplified, utilizing built-in gardens with large porches where they could bask under the sun. away from the cold and cloudy climates of Denmark.

This was the dominant hallmark of their residential styles. And these were widely evident across the geographical blocks of Solvang.

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Distinctive Danish architecture in Solvang

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Vernacular architecture of Denmark in Solvang

Even hospitality establishments, accommodations, and inns were named after renowned Danish celebrated public figures like King Frederick and Hamlet, plus actual towns in Denmark like Danish towns like Atterdag and Copenhagen. Famous restaurant brands and their signage such as Dominos Pizza and Subway were also subtly hidden from view due to the prominence of its architectural style.

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Solvang's local Danish architectural styles

Being overwhelmingly surrounded by Scandinavian architecture, we surely forgot that we were in the United States for a while. And that was fundamentally how our time was spent in Solvang. Although our unforgettable experiences there were short-lived, we planned to reconnect with this outstanding destination in the not-so-distant future.

Promising Landmark of Interest

If you're planning to explore Solvang in the future, here are some important travel tips:

  • The best months to visit Solvang weather-wise would be from March to November. While enjoying their popular events would be available all year round.

  • Every month of September, the Danish Capital of America would be celebrating its core culture, sculpted in Scandinavian fashion. Viking-inspired shows, traditional dances, a Lego playground for kids, plenty of food, and other exciting activities.

  • Celebrating December in Solvang is a festive occasion. With its Christmas Market Light Show, Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Julefest Parade, it's one of the best times to visit.

  • To be completely entertained in Solvang, check out the iconic Danish landmarks, explore the various museums of history, indulge in their delicious cuisine, and marvel at their natural outdoors like Solvang Park and Ostrichland to nourish their beloved pets.

As a result, this location was recognized by Sunset Magazine, a well-known American lifestyle magazine, as one of the "10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the Western United States. The city of Solvang in California is indeed a glorious paradise of history, culture, and tourism.

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Souvenir Photo in Solvang, California

Solvang's long-standing heritage has certainly made itself valuable to be globally known as the "Little Denmark" of the North American continent. Enjoying the flavors of Europe in this beautiful part of the world was an unexpected surprise, but definitely worth the trip!

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Wow, have visited Denmark and Northern countries never new there was such a place in America, what a stunning find being on tour.

So rich in original architecture, well maintained with all the yummy goodies to enjoy for lunch on a sunny warm day!

@tipu curate 2

Hello @joanstewart. I'm truly glad this post has made you aware of the existence of Solvang in America. This place may not be the 100% replica of the Danish nation, but it would certainly give you the feeling of being there. Lots of thanks for your wonderful generosity! 😊

Never realized Solvang existed, if I ever have good fortune to get over to America it would be on my bucket list.

Old or unique architecture, stilted houses or thatched homesteads, specialized styles, to me are more pleasing than great structures of metal and glass which in my minds eye is clinical. Always enjoy bridges, tunnels, dams where much thought in design was spent before build.

Thanks for sharing another great place, history and photography.

I agree. There's usually something special and nostalgic about historic/heritage architecture compared to their modern counterparts. That would include mind-blowing works of engineering as well that continue to challenge our technological know-how. If ancient, vernacular, and unusual buildings are what you fancy, I'll continue searching for them in my digital archive and publish more of these masterpieces from the past. It's my pleasure to share this interesting narrative. Cheers! 😊

Thought that goes into building in different places where most fear to tread let alone build always captures ones imagination. Trains being moved from A to B then station buildings all the workings to originally connect has always fascinated me. Will look forward to seeing your ancient works of moving water or in making life easier that has brought us to where we are.

Hello dear friend @storiesoferne good afternoon
What a great pleasure to visit your blog and see this beautiful place that you have called "Little Denmark"

As you know, I like well-preserved period buildings, I love the presence of wood on the facades of the buildings, but above all things, the history that the place tells

That bakery that you have visited has an enviable structure, its state of conservation is really beautiful.

It had been a long time since I had seen a transport pulled by Percherons; I appreciate the recommendations you have given us about this beautiful place

Thank you very much for sending us these beautiful images.
have a beautiful day

Thank you very much dear friend @jlufer for your sincere appreciation. Solvang is indeed an exciting place, offering foreign tourists and local visitors alike the impression of being present in Demark. Don't miss this beautiful location if you happen to drop by Southern California in the USA. Cheers! 😊

I see you really enjoy some of the best places in some beautiful countries, you always spend time walking around and visiting beautiful places, I want to do that someday, I enjoy your trip. :)

Hello @opick. Certainly, traveling to different countries helps you grow as a person. Time and budget-permitting, invest in touring to various locations that captivate, entice, and fascinate you. Thank you for your kind words. 😊

I feel the happiness that makes me comfortable when I see some beautiful countries for a vacation like you, I enjoy your trip, I also see you often travel to several countries, I envy you. 😃😀😜 thanks you!

Travel stories are there to simply inspire others to step outside their comfort zones and explore the world. And I do hope that my various journeys to international destinations would also offer you some tips and valuable information for your very own adventures someday. I wish you all the happiness you deserve in life. More blessings! 😊

Hello greetings friend @storiesoferne. Wow what a beautiful place you have visited and known. Beautiful architecture designs. It is amazing to contemplate every corner of that place like Denmark. Grateful that you share with all of us the wonderful trip you made, I imagine that this was a very nice and fun experience especially to know new places, new cultures and beautiful designs, not to mention the delicious and different exquisite food dishes. Wishing that the next time you come back you can enjoy much more, especially riding the horse-drawn carriage, it would be an unforgettable experience. Greetings and happy afternoon.

Warm greetings friend @carmary. So grateful to you for taking the interest to digest my publication. Solvang was definitely a memorable trip, and I wouldn't hesitate to revisit that splendid location in the near future. The fabulous tastes of Denmark in America were surely worthwhile experiences. Have an enjoyable weekend! 😊

I imagine it was a very pleasant experience. I hope you have a nice weekend.😄

Yes, it really was a delightful chapter of my travel life. Stay safe always and have fun! 😊

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Hello @bhattg @indiaunited, many thanks for your valuable support. Best regards! 😊

Impressive as always @storiesoferne, you never failed to make me feel that I am with you while I am reading your blog and make me feel and see the beauty of Solvang. Not only that, your blog is always educational just like your past blogs. I love it. Good afternoon and have a nice day ahead.

Hello @afterglow. Mere words are not enough to express my sincere gratitude to you. I truly appreciate all the valuable time and effort you've invested in following my personal stories since the beginning, this means a lot! And I'm glad you enjoyed my latest adventures in Solvang. Have a safe and enjoyable Sunday! 😊

To see a piece of Europe in sunny California is a wonderful discovery. I have never been to Denmark, but the architecture of the city of Solvang reminded me of the historical regions of Germany. An interesting story about how Danish-American settlers created part of their homeland away from home. It is impressive that the city has been preserved in such excellent condition and continues to impress tourists with its architectural, gastronomic and cultural attractions. Half-timbered facades attract attention, and a "Little Denmark" is admirable!☺️

Certainly @danny.green. The discovery of a "Little Denmark" in America obviously caught me by surprise! Solvang was definitely a slice of Europe as there were lots of authentic experiences in that exotic location that mimicked the real thing. Its distinctive architecture I'd say was the most influential aspect of the city as it truly mirrored the original design signatures of Danish society. Make sure you explore this fantastic landmark when you're visiting Southern California and you'll be simply amazed by its environment. Have a great weekend! 😊

Hi, dear Erne, I couldn't miss your magnificent post about Solvang, that small city "Gringa", as we Venezuelans call what comes from or is from the US, Danish in style.
Here in Venezuela we have a city in the state of Aragua, founded by the Germans in the last century, whose architecture and customs are entirely Germanic, called "La Colonia Tovar". I hope you can come, when the situation improves, to pay a visit to that small city and give us a post about it, with your knowledge of architecture and the world. Receive a brotherly hug

Oh yeah. How could I forget that German town in Venezuela called "La Colonia Tovar"? Because it was published in this community around a couple of times in the past, that familiar place has definitely resonated with me. And I'd love to visit that location someday, time-permitting. And who knows, you might be my personal tour guide and travel buddy too, right? Thank you for enjoying my publication about Solvang. Have a wonderful week ahead! 😊

Dear Erne, have no doubt that it would be an honor to accompany you as a guide and travel buddy on a tour of Colonia Tovar. Have a happy and productive week too.

I look forward to that and appreciate your kind invitation. Cheers, dear friend! 😊

I wasn't aware of this place until I read this post. Thank you for this post dear ,Erne. If I ever get to visit the US in definitely visiting this place.

Oh yes, Andrea. Now that you're aware of the exotic location of Solvang, you definitely won't regret visiting the place in the near future. 😊

Hello dear Erne @storiesoferne I wonder what gems of places you have still hidden in your memory card! I would love to see more of your explored piece of world.
To start with Thanks for shedding on some details on Danish architecture, Its beautiful. The whole city looks like a film set which is clean and just adorable. Their rich historic culture is worth understanding. It is amazing that you followed the tour guides because they usually makes the best out of one's trip.

I would love to try the amazing ginger bread from the famous bakery. Also the entire city is giving cowboy movie kind of vibe LOL! It's just admirable.
Have a great start to the week. Cheers!

Hello dear Sahiba @sahiba-rana. You're right, there are still a lot of hidden treasures lurking within my personal archive waiting to be unleashed to the world. Pictures, images, and videos, in today's life and age, are extremely precious hallmarks of travel memories. Thus it simply pays to take good care of these files as part of your digital legacy. Thank you so much for your detailed observations about Solvang. It was definitely like a movie set, a surreal environment, where you might forget that the architectural pieces were just replicas. Even the culinary experiences were magical and transported you directly to the original tastes of Denmark. Next time, I'd surely take along my cowboy hat and ride a real horse to make the travel adventure more authentic, haha. 🤣 Take care always and have a lovely week ahead! 😊

Looking forward to more of your fun and exciting travel collections!😊😊😊😊

Oh yes, me too dear. Happy to share them with you soon. 😊

Wow! That's treat to the eyes. Hey Dear @storiesoferne I am amazed at the calmness and beauty of this place. Just forgot how exciting it is to travel and thanks for reminding.
This place looks surreal the Danish Architecture is worth exploring and understanding. Considering how beautiful it is to know about certain different cultures of the world. The bakery shop was all classy and memorable experience I bet.
I am eager to learn more about your enduring adventures.
Keep flourishing.

Hello dear @praditya. It's indeed an awesome thrill to experience a place such as Solvang, something I initially thought didn't exist in that part of the world. Regardless, it was a truly memorable adventure, most especially with my authentic immersions in their delicious food, friendly locals, and magnificent architecture. Loads of gratitude for your fabulous remarks. Stay safe, healthy, and productive as always! 😊

the place looks pretty nice

Thank you @nicolasbernada for your beautiful compliment! 😀

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Hi @storiesoferne How nice its architecture reminded me of Colonia Tovar in Venezuela. I loved the bakery and the mill, it looks like a very cozy town.

Here I leave you this link to my publication of Colonia Tovar, a little piece of Germany in Venezuela so you can see that there you will also feel in Europe.😊

Hi @storiesoferne How nice its architecture reminded me of Colonia Tovar in Venezuela. I loved the bakery and the mill, it looks like a very cozy town.


Here I leave you this link to my publication of Colonia Tovar, a little piece of Germany in Venezuela so you can see that there you will also feel in Europe.😊

Hello Vicky @cvnuitter. Definitely, I've heard lots of fantastic feedback about Colonia Tovar from other Hive authors too. That exotic place must probably be the European pride of Venezuela. So kind of you for sharing your travel story about that iconic location, thank you so much. I'm also truly grateful for your immersion in the wonders of Solvang. Cheers! 😊

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Dear @hivewatchers. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. Historical, cultural, and tourism data is an important aspect of any travel story and needs to be properly indicated as part of my post narrative. So I had to consult other websites to obtain the accurate information about the said location. However, as much as these online sources were readily available on the web, I absolutely had no intention of spinning, rewording, or rewriting their content. If I had used their data in my publication, it was for the sole purpose of stating the facts about the mentioned place.

I completely understand the consequences of plagiarism and the damage it renders to my professional reputation. I do not want to be a plagiarist. Again, thank you for your understanding.

Your explanation about "Historical, cultural, and tourism data" makes no sense. Just because the information is related to history, cultures or tourism does not mean that it gives you a right to copy someone else's writing about these things.

Okay understood. Again, I have no intention of plagiarizing content but if you say I've committed this offense, my sincere apologies for this honest mistake.