I went to Coachella for the first time and as a rookie, wound up discovering many do’s and don’ts. Even though I got lucky enough…
Day 1: The Journey
2:00pm: Leave LA before the Friday afternoon traffic mess starts!
During this trip, we started with a quick Friday afternoon jaunt up the 101 highway from downtown LA to Solvang, a cute Danish-themed village located slightly to the northeast of Santa Barbara, in the thick of the SoCal wine country! As we got closer to Solvang, we decided to catch a sunset at Hendry’s Beach near Santa Barbara.
4:30pm: Sunset Drinks at Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach
Lovely spot for a glass of white wine and some oysters!
7:00pm: Check into Hadsten House Inn
The Hadsten is perfectly located near the beginning of the Mission Drive strip, in the Danish Town of Solvang, making for an ideal walkable location into the village. The rooms and the breakfast are relatively standard. The property does include amenities such as a hot tub and indoor pool. Since most properties were sold out during the Valentine’s Weekend we visited, we were lucky enough to get a room at a property with this location. Costs vary but can be upwards of $100+ a night.
8:30pm: Dinner at S.Y. Kitchen
This restaurant was THE PERFECT night into Solvang. Loved everything we had there from the pasta, to the diavola pizza, to the olives. I look forward to returning to Solvang to enjoy this restaurant.
Day 2: The Wineries
A morning stop at one of the many Danish Bakeries in Solvang is all part of the experience! We stopped by the one closest to Hadsten House and grabbed a variety of treats to try.
Take this time to enjoy the various shops and vendors you’ll find in this quaint Danish town!
1pm: Picnic Run at Albertsons
About a 7-minute drive from the Hadsten House Inn is Albertson’s Grocery Store. As our first vineyard, Demetria, allows guests to bring in their own picnics, we stopped at the grocery and grabbed an assortment of cheeses, meats, deli goods, fruits, and crackers!
Address: 222 E Hwy 246 Buellton, CA 93427
The views from this Vineyard are SO worthwhile. The staff is friendly and provides a real Californian country sense of hospitality. Make sure to grab a reservation beforehand, as especially during the weekends, the place gets packed with couples and families alike!
Address: 6701 Foxen Canyon Rd, Los Olivos, CA 93441
Bridlewood was another gorgeous, if to say a bit more upscale, winery. The main house has a sumptuous Spanish colonial hacienda feel, and the welcome lobby boasts beautiful tile and a pleasant fireplace next to which you can enjoy your tastings. In the vast backyard is a members-only recreation area that, while barred from our entry, made for breathtaking outdoor hill views while we sipped the in-house syrah. A visit on a sunny day will make for great photos of the aloe-laden landscapes and spacious adjoining countryside.
Address: 3555 Roblar Ave, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
5:30pm: Happy Hour at Mad & Vin
Although the wineries all close at 5pm, that doesn’t mean the party needs to stop! Head over to the Landsby hotel right next to the Hadsten House in central Solvang for some happy hour cocktails. We found it loaded with energy, and enjoyed conversing with the bartenders while they laced up some fantastic cocktails. They mean business here!
6:30pm: Dinner at Mad & Vin
Hang tight for a bomb dinner in the room right next to the bar. The fresh catch fish of the day (this time, salmon), the dimmer lighting, and the comfy couch-like benches on the rim of the dining area were all a hit.
Day 3: Exploring Solvang
If there’s one thing you can’t miss out on your trip to Solvang, it’s Horseback riding at Vino Vaqueros. For $115 pp, you get a 90-minute ride through the stunning property. You’ll start alongside the vineyards and move on up to pass the cattle, and then to the hilltop to view the jaw-dropping Santa Ynez Valley. A visit on a blue-sky day will truly make you feel fortunate. For $10 more, you can add on a wine tasting to the experience.
Address: 2178 Mora Ave, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
12pm: Lunch at Pho 805
Even in this quaint Danish town, you can find a Vietnamese restaurant with excellent pho! And after spending a pretty penny over the weekend, a nice warm bowl of the rice noodles for $11 will do the job!
1:00pm: Gelato stop at Solvang Flavors
Across the street from Pho 805, you’ll find Solvang Flavors, a gelato and chocolates shop–perfect for that sweet kick after a savory Vietnamese lunch. Plus, are you really on vacation if you don’t get some form of ice cream!?
1:30pm: Ostrich Land USA
For $5, you will be entertained by these bizarrely intriguing large birds gawking around looking for us humans to feed them snacks (for $1 more you can feed the Ostriches). Watching these Ostrich go buck after the snacks is super entertaining and completely worth the laughs at the end of your visit!