Exploring Solvang & Santa Barbara With Kia Sorento
Kia Sorento Road Trip With Teens
It’s been on my mind to want to take the kids to more places and do more exploring in our glorious state of California. There are many places the kids have never been and I’m making a min-bucket-ish-list of places to take them before they graduate high schcool and are on their own. Both are teens now and I know this time from now until 18 will zoom by. Once they are adults and in college and working I know there will be less time for this, and they might want to do more things with their friends instead as family trips.
On my list are Northern California, like Humbolt, Hurst Castle, Cambria, & Sacramento, Catalina, Pismo Beach, and more. The problem is my car has almost 200,000 miles and I try to keep it more local in case I have any problems. But sometimes the stars align perfectly. This week with a 2016 Kia Sorento SX I had for the week to review.
The car was extremely comfortable and seated 7, or in our case three plus luggage. Both kids (one over 5’10 and one over 6″) fit in the back seat and still had leg room. The stereo system was equipped with GPS, Sirus Radio and I was able to connect my cell phone to it to answer incoming calls.
It even had settings on the steering wheel for the phone.
So, with this awesome car we were off and did a road trip to explore California.
I took the kids up north about 1 1/2 hours to Solvang. It is a small Danish village with lovely shops and the friendliest people. Cars stop to let you cross the street. A lot of visitors go shop-to-shop on foot. If I needed directions everyone was friendly and helpful.
A shop of bowls and hanging lights
We stayed at the Atterdag Inn, a newly furnished hotel just off the main street. Close to all the shops but away from the noise of cars on the main road. We had a room that had a king-sized bed (for me) and a bunk bed the kids shared. There was also large windows letting in the sunlight, a mini-fridge, table and chairs and a nice sized bathroom. It also had a beautiful private courtyard.
Beautiful Red and White decor; Twin bed and table with four chairs.
King size bed with special gift bag for me from the City of Solvang.
(Yes, they made me feel extra special).
Besides Danish shops Solvang also has antique and tourist shops, a weekly farmer’s market on Wednesdays, five museums, some statues, five windmills and a mission. They also have American cuisine, where burgers and fries are on the menu.
Sunset on one of the Solvang buildings as we were getting ready to head to our hotel room for the night.
While there we tried to see it all, including the farmer’s market, the Hans-Christian Anderson Museum and the Santa Inez Mission.
Fresh produce, honey, candles, kettle corn and more at the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday.
Giant Red Clog that has its own hashtag. One of many beautiful windmills.
We also dined for lunch at the Green House Cafe, a modern Nordic bistro. Nordic foods are considered a blend of: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Traditional foods are are: seafood, pork, cheese and bread. The Green House Cafe is open daily for breakfast and lunch. We tried a variety of their most famous dishes, including the Nordic Combo, Open Face Combo and Kaela had a Nordic burger, which had a soft toasted bun and caramelized onions inside. I tried the first two dishes, and loved the variety of meats and cheeses. This is a great place to dine if you want a nice sit-down place to try traditional foods and still have items on the menu for picky eaters. They also had soups and salads.
Traditional Nordic Cold Plate of Open Faced Sandwiches
Traditional Nordic Hot Plate With Meat, Pan-Fried Potatoes, Red Cabbage and Gravy. Cheeseburger with Caramelized Onions and Fries.
We stayed over night at the Atterdog Inn and explored Solvang more the next day before heading home. The hotel even offered free bike rental for guests.
On our way out of town we stopped by the Santa Inez Mission. I thought it was a great way to add some hands-on education to our trip. We’d visited a few of the California missions a few years ago as a part of 3rd grade social science so the kids were familiar with them and their history. It cost $5 per person for a self-guided tour of the museum and outside grounds, which included a large garden and a cemetery. We also saw the large fields where orchards or olive trees used to grow. The mission would harvest olives and sell the olive oil, which they still sell in the gift shop.
Stone floors, tall ceilings, a cemetery, garden and even olive orchard at the Santa Inez Mission.
It was really windy standing over the top of the Mission’s Olive Orchard.
I was on a quest to get a ’13-16″ cheese danish by the big windmill’ for a friend, with no other directions and found it on the third windmill with help from the local shopkeepers. We also bought some baked goods to take home.
We made it home the next day, driving past the beach on the way through Santa Barbara and Ventura. When on the 154 highway I was reminded of an abandon castle in Santa Barbara. I took the kids up there a few years ago and we couldn’t find it. So on Saturday we drove back up there and explored the castle. With detailed directions and pictures found online we easily found it spent a few hours there. The castle is actually an abandon mansion that caught on fire a few decades ago and never repaired.
We had to park on the side of the canyon road, in the dirt and the car handled everything smoothly.
Gorgeous roads with trees sometimes meeting in the middle to create a canopy of shade.
The Kia Sorento took the bends of the road nicely as we drove a few miles into the canyon to get there and back. We were have an amazing adventurous week and created some lifelong memories.