Monday, July 10, 2017

Making the Best of a Bad Situation - Solvang, California - Part 2

Click to see Part 1 of this report...

“This reservation is for March.”

Not what I want to hear while standing in the lobby of the Royal Copenhagen Inn in February on a busy Solvang weekend. It is my fault, though.  I didn’t thoroughly check my reservation as I tell all of you to do. I was certain it said February 23 but it was there in black and white on the printout…March 23.

It’s a rare weekend getaway without Tim for Letty and I. Getting someone to stay with him is not easy to arrange. There are less than a handful of people who can do it and last minute family problems meant we really had to work some magic to get it to happen. Timing it so our replacement caregivers would have to do the minimum of lifting, getting the workings of the van and lift down (which would prove a little balky as we spent many times on the phone trying to talk them through the operation), and making sure enough provisions and money were provided for them to get by over the weekend.

Now, we’re finally away and my boneheaded mistake finds us here with no place to sleep for the night.

“I have one room left,” the desk clerk says. “It has two queen beds.”

It’s not the two-level, romantic, loft suite I’d reserved for March, but it’ll have to do. We cancel the March reservation, take the basic room, and sign on the dotted line.

“You’ll have to find something else to do until two o’clock while we clean the room. You’re welcome to leave your car here in the meantime.”

OK, beggars can’t be choosers. I may have found another room in town if I’d looked but we’re on a tight schedule here. In the meantime, we’ll explore this kitschy little town.

About an eight square blocks of shops, restaurants, wine bars, and bakeries make up the heart of town.  Easily walkable from the hotel, every square inch of the downtown area is no more than a five minute walk.

Some shops are high end and high quality. The extra large wooden clog marks the entrance of the Solvang Shoe Store where a large inventory of superior footwear is sold for not too expensive prices.

You have to wonder what you’ve wandered into such as the outlet store we found behind a fake windmill, underneath a western wear museum where clothing went for under ten dollars.

After sampling some great fudge at a bakery on Alisal Road, my wife spends some time browsing among the yarn at a knitting store nearby. Kids are in awe of the great European toys available in a number of great toy shops. We grab some freshly baked pretzels and sample butter cookies at another bakery.

Every other shop seems to be a winery tasting room. We are in the Santa Ynez Valley, one of the state’s more well-known wine areas thanks to the movie “Sideways.” It’s not cheap, though. Most of the tasting rooms charge north of $10 for tiny tasting sips and are not willing to apply that to your purchase…although one said they’d knock $5 off of the $16 tasting fee if we didn’t want to take the logo glasses home.

Better yet, just go to one of the several wine bars or cocktail lounges and buy a whole glass for less than the price of the taste.

Greyhounds are everywhere. Groups of the dogs are walking on leash throughout the town. We’d seen more earlier during our hike up to Nojoqui Falls. We’re thinking they really love their greyhounds here in Solvang until we go back to the inn to claim our room…a sign in the lobby says “Welcome to Greyhound Fest ’13!”

Each year the dogs and their owners gather in town for a sort of greyhound convention. This is the weekend and the town is crawling with these gentle, race bred hounds.  I can’t turn around without some pooch sticking his nose at me and wanting a scratch under his neck.  They’re great dogs, well behaved, quiet, and their owners are picking up after them, keeping things clean.

The last room of the inn is up a dark set of stairs in a corner of the hotel. Our room is the only one up there and has no other room on any side. At least it will be quiet.

The room itself is a basic, no frills motel room with two queen beds, a couple of balky windows overlooking a side street, a bathroom with a shower and a toilet that won’t flush. (Wheelchair rooms are available here but we didn't need one this I made a big booking error)

The chain is broken on the flushing mechanism. I’m about to call the front desk but Letty has already Momgyvered a safety pin fix for the chain and all is working.

The hotel has wifi but the signal doesn’t reach this far corner and we’re out of luck for an Internet connection.  They do serve a decent breakfast with goodies from a nearby bakery (there’s always a nearby bakery here in Solvang) and have a nice pool area.

For dinner, we head to Solvang Brewing Company, a few doors west of the hotel. It’s busy and a sign says to seat ourselves and to let a server know. We do but the server seems to forget. After sitting for several minutes at a table waiting for menus, we give that up to sit at the bar where we get immediate attention from the bartender.

We split a sausage platter and a cheeseburger. Both are delicious as is the house-brewed beer. Decent prices but weird service at the tables.

A bottle of wine from Presidio Winery, across from the hotel, a couple of glasses, and we’ll retire for the night.

We’ll end this in the morning…

Copyright 2013 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Be sure to enJOY the little store with all the music boxes !!!! :-)