“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Since we were camping nearby in Santa Barbara on El Capitan State Beach, we thought we'd take a day trip up to Solvang. It was pure charm. When I was just a little girl, around the age of two, my mom brought me here. I visited again when I was six or so, when we brought my baby sister.
If you've ever been to Solvang, CA you will know that everyone who visits must take the obligatory Dutch shoe photo. I now have three of these photos. One at two. One at six. And now one at thirty one.
Solvang is a town that celebrates the culture of Denmark. The architecture, food and even it's residents, hail from the small European country and it transports you from the seaside to the charming historic city. I didn't have high hopes for finding gluten-free or paleo eats, so I had packed a lunch just in case, although I was pleasantly surprised!
When we arrived, full from a campfire breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon, we set out to shop. We found an adorable pet shop where we picked up some treats for our fur babies and spent most of the afternoon taking photos with the various buildings and windmills and taking in the cute trinkets at the giftshops.
One of our favorite shops was the toy shoppe! It had SO many toys from our childhood, including a Skip It, silly string, old Hot Wheels cars and collectible dollhouse items. We became big kids again and played in that store for quite a while.
We spent almost five hours in Solvang, which makes it worth a day trip, and started to get quite hungry abou halfway through our visit. I spotted some adorable cafes when we arrived and parked and told Mr. Charming I wanted to scope them out before I ate what I brought with, and I'm SO glad we did!
There were actually quite a few restaurants that offered allergen-free & gluten-free options, and we decided to dine at Fresco, because it has a gorgeous patio with courtyard view and a great salad selection. Mr. Charming sipped on an Arnold Palmer and I ordered a hot water for the organic peppermint tea I brought with. When the salads arrived they were definitely photo worthy. YUM!
The lettuce mix was SO fresh, and it was topped with fresh tomato, avocado and carrots and I drizzled it with fresh olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
I had packed a gluten-free brownie in my bag that Mr. Charming and I split for dessert. It was the perfect lunch.
All in all, a perfect day in one of the cutest cities on our travels thus far! Have you been to Solvang and have any memories or good eats to share? Or have any questions about an up-coming visit? Leave it in the comments!
A Guest Post by Karly
I adore Mexican Food. Tamales, Carne Asada topped with fresh guacamole – and there I go.. I’m making myself hungry again. It’s hard to find a great Mexican restaurant that makes fresh food and is friendly to those that have gluten sensitivities.
My husband and I recently went on a family vacation to Colorado as I wanted to see family and show my husband some of my old stomping grounds as a kid – I also wanted my children to experience some of the same fun activities that I had in the past. We were joined by some of my husband’s family on our first day as we made our way into the Rocky Mountains. One of my favorite towns as a child was Georgetown, which sits nestled in the mountains, surrounded by fresh streams and an 1890’s steam engine that still runs to the different mines in the area for tourists. Our group walked along main street in downtown Georgetown stopping in at the cute antique shops, boutiques and a homemade candy store. The majority of the buildings are the original buildings in town, which made the view even more beautiful. The weather was a crisp 55 degrees out and while it was chilly, we couldn’t help but to explore. We finally opted to find something to eat as it was getting close to the lunch hour and our tummies were grumbling.
We were lucky enough to discover Lucha Cantina – (there are 3 locations in Colorado). Their website boasted about their menu, how they use no lard or MSG, and use free range chicken and grass fed beef… I thought this was too good to be true. When I sat down and looked at the menu, nearly EVERYTHING had a GF option. The majority of their items are made out of corn ingredients (including their to-go containers which are compostable!). The veggies are all fresh from local farms. I had such a hard time deciding where to even begin.
Our group ordered the El Rancho Quesadilla because we just had to try their homemade tortilla chip – they were light, fluffy and delicious. The mixture included grass fed shredded beef, mushrooms, spinach (spinach on a taco? yes!), onions and broccoli (no joke!). It was heaven on a chip – they were delicious and my group of friends and I couldn’t get enough. For lunch I opted for the Wahoo tacos with a side of sweet potato fries. The tacos were delicious – made with fresh slaw, spinach, homemade guacamole and cilantro dill salsa on gluten-free white corn tortillas. My mouth was bursting with flavor –yes this sounds cheesy but there is just no other way to describe it. The staff was informative about everything on their menu, and was very proud of their reputation for making FRESH Mexican cuisine.
We left with full bellies… but still managed to make a stop at down the street at Georgetown Valley Candy Company!.
Karly is a true southern girl through and through. Wife and mama to two sweet boys, she is also a professional event planner and publicist and has traveled with her littles more times than she can count. The sweet tea loving Granola Mommy is a first time blogger on Nosh & Nurture and plans to continue writing on topics on various platforms to help mama's make healthy choices for their children.
I think we all reach a point where we take our "here & now" for granted. I've been feeling an overwhelming sense of wanderlust lately, not sure if my soul was pulling me to simply travel or to pack our bags and relocate all together. But it's been something. Strong and fierce.
And while things aren't always that simple, and it makes the most sense for us to be here, now, I needed to take a breath and make the most of the weekend and go on a date with my own city. Sometimes, right where you are can charm you if you let it.
So I picked out an outfit to set the tone for the weekend, packed some snacks for the day in case we couldn't find a safe eatery and we were off!
Mr. Charming was on board to be a part of the day, as weekends are our longest, most wonderful hours together in a week and so we mapped out some places that we'd never been before. (And they were only 20 minutes away!)
In Phoenix, close to downtown, there is an adorable street of shopping known as the Melrose District. Mr. Charming's aunt & cousins actually own a shop down there, Melrose Vintage, that has the CA-UTEST things and vintage shabby chic furniture. If you go, tell them Mandi sent you! Two of our favorite new stops we scoped out were Pearly Mae's (where I found a 1930's Stardust tea set) and Zinnia's at Melrose (where I fell in love with a pair of Ruby Slippers). Mr. Charming and I adore antique shopping so we spent a good couple of hours browsing.
After shopping we were getting hungry and I had heard of a marketplace on Instagram called Luci's Healthy Marketplace. I. Fell. In. Love. Not only did they have a quaint market STOCKED with some of my favorite Paleo & gluten-free products (I stocked up!) they also had a charming retro coffee shop and cafe.
The coffee shop offered an assortment of beverages including almond milk & rice milk lattes! However, having had my pre-natal B-12 smoothie in the morning, I was feeling a buzz and I was in no need of more energy stimulation. So instead I opted to try a new drink. It was carbonated water infused with ginger, vanilla & lime by Sipp. Pure, simple & less than 5 ingredients? I'm in.
Lunch was fresh & delicious. I had a salad topped with fresh turkey & avocado (of course, because avocado goes with EVERYTHING.) And Mr. Charming enjoyed a chicken salad with fresh tomatoes and toast on a bed of greens (which can be made 100% gluten-free! All their items can be!) We finished our meal with a little plate of gluten-free, vegan chocolate chip cookies that we shared as a weekend treat. We decided we are going to make this a date place for sure and come for breakfasts. After this visit I was feeling refreshed and I was already loving my city a little more.
After Luci's we headed to REI and a tactical shop so Mr. Charming could get in some camping shopping. Ladies, remember it's all about give & take. He perused shops with me and dined in my dream of a vintage cafe, so I enjoyed looking for all kinds of cool camping stuff with him for our next outdoor adventure.
After our tummies were fed and we were all shopped out we headed to another nearby shopping district closer to home called City North. We'd driven through it a couple of times and Mr. Charming had had work meetings there before but we wanted to check out a shop I had heard of called Pinspiration.
Yes, Pinspiration. It's a place where you bring your friends, drink champagne and do projects off of Pinterest! I of course bonded with the girl at the shop (she actually stated to Mr. Charming that she believed her and I were practically the same person, haha) and I made a mental note to bring all my girlfriends here with me. Whether they want to come or not. It's happening.
After a long successful outing we came home to play with our fur babies and crack open my newest find, the cookbook, Paleo Takeout by Russ Crandall, which after trying just one meal has pretty much changed my life of me longing for traditional takeout food of the past. The review is forthcoming - once the food coma subsides.
Until then, for those of you lacking a love, or even a like for the city that you call home, schedule a date. Go on Instagram, Pinterest or Google and look for a couple of new places you've never been before that fit into things that interest you. Scope them out, give your city a shot. Worst case, the date goes badly and you have a great story to tell the next city ;)
Do you have any great "date your city" stories? Or do you know of somewhere I need to check out in AZ to keep our relationship going? ;) Seriously, I've lived here a LONG time and haven't been to many places. I usually travel out of state to sight see. Leave it in the comments!
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.