Solvang Danish Village
Two beautiful Solvang pieces of art by Eric Dowdle — what could be better?
Pick me! I know! What if he adds to them a radio and TV show to reveal to you this quaint Danish village nestled in the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains of central California? Done! Solvang encapsulates Denmark as if it had been plucked out of the old country and place in California’s own wine country.
In 1911 a group of Danish immigrants from across the country, purchased 9000 acres from the Mission Santa Ines as a refuge for people of Danish descent. With specific building codes and a love of their shared heritage, they built a city that felt, looked, and tasted like Denmark. Solvang Danish Village has maintained its relationship with Denmark and has hosted members of the Danish Royal Family on many several occasions, including their 100th anniversary. Today the town is loved by the tens of thousands of visitors who come for the beauty, baking, biking, wine tasting rooms and heritage of this marvelous community, whose people are as warm and welcoming as a Danish hearth in winter.
This beautiful Danish village has received a lot of attention from the Dowdle family. Eric and I traveled there about 15 years ago, strolling the nostalgic streets lined with Dutch windmills and Danish architecture. We sampled way too many sweet danishes and a few traditional pickled delicacies. I remember riding a surrey cycle down the streets, watching folk dancers, visiting antique shops, sampling chocolatiers and soaking in all the charm hidden in a protective bubble for everyone to enjoy. And the whole place was framed in vineyards! How enchanting is that!?
Years later we returned to Solvang when Eric decided to paint the city. In the end, it also became the first location where his TV series, Painting the Town with Eric Dowdle, was filmed.