Whenever we want to get a collective groan from the children (as though Imo and I are ever in short supply), all we have to say is "Let's take the scenic route!" or "Let's go to Solvang!" We've only ever said these lines jokingly these past couple of years, and so we would laugh when we'd get the expected reaction. However, recently, we were actually serious about going to Solvang -- just for the heck of it, a road trip, to a "Christmassy" place, on a free weekend, one which we hadn't had in so long -- and Imo and I had to practically drag the kids with us and deal with hours of sulking afterwards.

arriving in solvang walking in downtown solvang hamlet square

But ANYWAY we sucked it up. We got snacks at the Danish Mill Bakery, and walked around to take in some Christmassy sights.

snacks at the danish mill bakery imo & christmas tree christmas lights waiting to cross the street horse-pulled trolley christmas stuff

Solvang hasn't changed much since we were there last (in 2013?) but we managed to venture out to other places we hadn't visited before, like the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art. The museum is in a historic building that used to be a family home, built in the style of an 18th century Danish farmhouse with handcrafted details by the original owners (who were artists).

elverhoj museum fireplace original hand-painted walls what danish immigrants brought with them to america child's room

We got to learn a little bit of the history of Solvang. Even though a lot of it feels rather Disneyfied to me, Solvang is in fact a legit Danish town founded by actual Danish immigrants. Here is a beautiful old photo of a group of settlers from the 1900's:

beautiful old photo

And here is a photo of my unhappy children:

what imo & i had to put up with

Haha. Anyway, we checked out a few shops and walked around until it started to get dark.

actor's corner solvang festival theater was closed miniature ceramic fruits & veggies dusk at 4:50pm still walking walking to dinner walking to dinner

We ended up at The Landsby, a boutique hotel, which made us hesitate at first because it seemed too nice for our shabby selves. But we walked in, and I am glad because it was like walking into Pinterest if you had searched "modern Scandinavian interiors." If I could crawl into a website to hide, it would be Pinterest under "modern Scandinavian interiors."

lobby of the landsby lobby of the landsby someone was totally digging the mad & vin interiors

We had dinner at Mad & Vin, which made Imo's and my five-hour struggle with sulky kids -- and, correspondingly, the kids' five-hour struggle with boring parents -- fade away. We ate very good food.

our dinner

Yumi's herb roasted Jidori chicken with wild mushrooms and cipollini onions was my favorite.

jidori chicken with mushrooms

We had dessert too. (Yumi is looking much happier already, see.)


Needless to say, everyone was in much better spirits after dinner.

outside the landsby

And these three actually indulged my requests for cheesy touristy photos!

in better spirits no longer sulking, after 5 hours here. last photo op before driving back to LA

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