Sunday, May 29, 2011
Memorial Weekend Jaunt
This weekend I'm in another beautiful place: The Santa Ynez Valley. Here, the rolling hills that surround me seem to stretch into infinity, and as I scan the landscape, with its abundant oak trees, every frame appears like a plein air painting. This valley, where the movie Sideways was filmed, spawns a multitude of vineyards. It's also horse country and home to cattle ranches and even an ostrich farm or two.
In the valley, you'll find a number of charming little towns. The most colorful is Solvang. Solvang was founded by Danes, and its architecture is true to the Danish style. Seeing Solvang for the first time since my trip to Denmark in 2003, I'm taken by how much this town, with a commercial area of just one-mile square, captures the flavor of Denmark. Being half Danish myself (on my mother's side,) I enjoy claiming Solvang as my own.
On this holiday weekend, Solvang is crawling with tourists, and I find the traffic and numbers of people a bit unnerving. But it is a tourist town, and one thing I notice are the many couples, young and old, walking hand in hand; and something else: all of them are smiling.