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Living a Biking Lifestyle in Solvang, California

Solvang, a charming town founded by Danish settlers, is about 30 miles up into the Santa Ynez Mountains from coastal Santa Barbara. The town is a very popular tourist and weekend destination for bikers, who come here for the clean air and beautiful scenery. There are all kinds of great rides through this wine country. Although there are some hills, there are long flat stretches. A number of wonderful B and B's make for a comfortable stay after a long day's ride. Or stop at a winery like Gainey and have a taste. The popular movie "Sideways" ("I don't want any %^&*(!!'n Merlot") put Solvang on the map. Nearby towns like Los Olivos or Santa Ynez make for a great place to visit or live if you like biking.

Where to Retire in Solvang and Home Prices

Real estate in and around Solvang is very expensive, being a close neighbor of pricey Santa Barbara.  Small condos sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars and larger properties typically cost in the millions.  Although there are some nursing homes in the vicinity there do not appear to be any 55+ developments. You can live in town in several attractive neighborhoods or in the surrounding countryside.  Real estate is not for the faint of heart: according to Zillow, the median home value was $679,000, in mid-2018.

What is special about Solvang

Mission Santa Ines is the oldest building in town and an interesting and beautiful place to visit. Nearby Lake Cachuma offers an outstanding recreational opportunity. The region’s wineries attract tourists and clubs who come for the tastings.  The upscale shops and restaurants make it a great place to visit.  There are a number of horse farms, including one for miniature horses that welcomes visitors. There are several golf courses including the River Course at the Alisal in downtown Solvang. The scenery is exceptional. Cycling is enormously popular on the many bike trails and wide shoulders of local roads.

What is not special about Solvang

Real estate is very expensive.  While this is great place for  weekends or a vacation, it might be too small of a world for some people to live here full-time.  Car and pedestrian traffic in downtown Solvang on summer weekends can be overwhelming.

Climate and Physical Environment

Solvang is in the Santa Ynez Mountains about 35 miles northwest of Santa Barbara.  Winters can be rainy and cool. Summers are dry and can get hot, although it almost always cools off rapidly when the sun starts to go down. It might be in the 50’s in the morning and get into the 80’s during a typical summer day.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are a few small niche museums such as the Vintage Motorcycle Museum or the Hans Christian Anderson Museum. Nearby Los Olivos has a number of nice art galleries. Several restaurants get top reviews such as Dos Carlitos (Mexican) and the Ballard Inn. Wine tasting at the dozens of local wineries is a local cultural endeavor.  There are numerous festivals during the year including the Old Mission Festival and  Danish Days. The Solvang Festival Theater offers several performances during the season, including one celebrating  the work of Hans Christian Anderson.

Crime

Crime rate is extremely low (index of 84 vs. national of 319).

Medical facilities

Nearby Santa Barbara is probably the best bet for any medical concern other than emergency.

Transportation

There is a small airport at Santa Ynez. There two good roads connecting Solvang with Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara’s convenient airport is being replaced by a modern facility – it has good connections to LA and San Francisco.

Valuable Links

The Wikipedia page for Solvang is quite informative and has other links.

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