Dear Diary, my name is Dayle and this is what I did for my 47th birthday…
I’d originally wanted to go to Catalina Island for my birthday,* because you get to go free on your birthday. But my birthday actually fell on a Saturday this year, and I’d rather go during the week, and, perhaps most importantly, my birthday again fell on the same day as a nearby SCA event, King’s Hunt. So I decided Catalina could wait.
The event was near Solvang, a pretty little Danish village, so I thought it would be lovely to make a weekend of it. We headed up Friday afternoon, stopping in Santa Barbara to have a random dinner at a Thai restaurant, then continued on and checked in to the Solvang Gardens. Because they have English gardens, and are eco-friendly, and all the rooms are a little different. I didn’t get pics of our room, which was small but very pretty. We booked late so we didn’t have a room overlooking the gardens, but that was okay.
The next morning we had breakfast at this little hole-in-the-wall place in Buellton that had the best corned beef hash I have ever tasted. When I told them that, they told me about how they marinate the beef for three weeks, etc. Holy bejeesus, it was good. Once a month they do locavore dinners, and I so want to go!
King’s Hunt and my birthday have shared the day before, and last time, I brought cake. Cake, I learned, was not the best plan, as it was a hot day and the fighters didn’t want sugar in the middle of fighting, etc. Cake Fail. So this time, I thought it through, and splurged on an enormous Edible Arrangement of fruit on a stick. Success! I wandered around the event and walked up to people (whether I knew them or not) and said “It’s my birthday! Have fruit!” I ran out of fruit before I accosted everybody, sadly.
One friend had brought champagne! for me, but she had only a little and Ken had only a little and Morgana doesn’t drink, and about a third of the way into the bottle I realized if I didn’t find someone else to share this, I was going to spend the rest of the event snoozing on the dayshade floor, so I set off across the field to where Albra was merchanting, because Albra has plied me with champagne on many occasion. I lounged on the daybed in the back of her merchant booth and got whapped in the head with the back wall because it was very very windy and we polished off that bottle, mmm yes we did!
We spent the rest of the afternoon in our friends Rod and Collette’s pavilion, because, as I mentioned, it was very very windy and the dayshade was threatening to become the farmhouse from The Wizard of Oz, despite being staked down. After that, we bundled Morgana and Brian into the car and drove back to Solvang, and went out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. We drove them back to the event site and then curled up in our room for a movie and snuggling.
Now, here’s the thing. Solvang is smack in the middle of wine country. It’s surrounded by vineyards. What I wanted to do on Sunday, however, just goes to show what type of person I am.
Vineyards? Feh. Let’s go visit us some miniature donkeys, baybee!
Okay, first we meandered through Solvang in search of breakfast. Our intended destination was packed, so we backtracked to a little place in the center of town and ate in the courtyard. I had an omelette with lobster and Havarti and avocado, OMG, and tried to take pictures of a little bird I was feeding toast to.
We went back to the hotel (by way of the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and at least one thrift shop as well as a hat shop because Ken needs some kind of bowler but they didn’t have the right style) and lounged in the gardens for a bit. The breeze was soft, the sky was blue, the trees whispered. Mmmm.
And then we went in search of miniature donkeys.
I’d been tempted by the ostrich farm, but I’ve been to an ostrich farm in South Africa and I was a little tired so I had to triage my animal visitations that day. The miniature donkey farm has a petting zoo of rescue animals (as well as miniature donkeys): chicken, rabbits, a giant tortoise, goats, turkeys, etc.
(It was hard to get a good photo because the wee beastie kept moving around…)
And they had a zonkey. I didn’t know until I read the brochure at the hotel that such a beast even existed. It’s a cross between a zebra and a donkey. It was unimpressed by our presence and attempts to take pictures. Did I mention its name is Zeeyore?
After that, we went to a miniature horse farm, but it was hot and the miniature horses were even less unimpressed by our presence than the zonkey was, and we weren’t allowed to pet them. I did discover that miniature horses are frighteningly well endowed. There. I said it. Move on.
We had a lovely drive home; instead of sitting in traffic on the 101, we cut through Ojai (sadly, we were too late for the Ojai Raptor Center’s Open House, although I’d already resigned myself to that fact), and then stopped for Indian food in Ventura before making our way home.
It was a perfectly lovely way to spend my birthday weekend.
*If possible, I like to have adventures on my birthday. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the loot, but the memories are what make things truly special. In the past, I’ve gone to the LA Zoo, played with meerkats, hung out in a tiny bar to watch Styx’s drummer play, stayed on the Queen Mary, gotten a tattoo, held 80s flashback parties…