I have been visiting Chumash Casino for at least 8 years; my mother and late father (he passed in 2015) made it our go-to trip for a couple of reasons.
For one, my mother’s two major forms of enjoyment are playing slot machines (not to worry, it’s a past time not an addiction!) and watching movies. My dad, who was on dialysis, used these days to rest in the room, walk around the casino, and check in on my mother throughout the day.
Secondly, it’s all about convenience. Chumash Casino Resort is a 5 minute drive to Solvang, a tourist trap that is nonetheless bucolic to the core. Adjacent to Solvang is Buellton (known as the site for the 2004 feature Sideways as well as Pea Soup Andersen’s).
Since I’m not into gambling (I fear an initial attempt will lead to a rabbit hole of addiction), I wile away my days watching movies in my room and blogging. Most of my “productivity,” when it comes to Chumash and Solvang, is done during the wee hours. If you are a morning person, here are a few tips to start off your day:
- Paula’s Pancakes opens at 6 am. Probably the most popular breakfast joint in Solvang, Paula’s Pancakes is packed to the gills in the morning, so I pull up to the counter a little after 6 am. After years of ordering the pancakes, I opted for a veggie omelette for something different. I wasn’t disappointed. There is free parking across the street, so it’s extremely convenient.
- After the food is consumed a minute down the street (Alisal Road to be precise) to Birkholm’s Bakery. Pineapple Cheese Danishes are my jam, so along with that purchase I order 6 tubs of their cookies for my Mom (she gives them out as gifts). The cookies are also delicious but, truth to tell, I have been stuffing Birkholm cookies down my gullet for so long that it’s become second nature (translation: my love for these cookies are definitely biased!).
The woman who served me moved to the area three years ago, and she noted that the cost of living in the Santa Ynez Valley is higher than Los Angeles. I asked her to name the biggest drawback about living in the area, and she couldn’t think of one truly bad thing (she seemed candid as well). She also added that the family that owns Birkholm’s Bakery is three generations deep.
Going back to Chumash Casino Resort, I don’t want to bother my mom so I use their Business Center. It’s a small room with two computers, but it truly gets the job done (I worked in the office for over 2 hours and not a soul in sight!). The lobby attendant (her name’s Cindy) was kind enough to point out the Business Center while I blogged away at the lobby. The Wi-Fi in the Lobby was good enough for working (very little lag in the morning), but if you want to get some deep work done, head over to the Business Center.
For years I wasted a ton of time in the hotel room channel and web surfing, but using the Business Center made this stay a much more rewarding one.
There are obviously so many things to do in Solvang and the Chumash casino, and since I’m a creature a habit I can only offer a few tips. The hotel’s proximity to Solvang, as well as its dinner buffet and food court, are the main reasons why I love traveling to this tucked away spot.
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If you live in Los Angeles, I’d also recommend taking the California 154 back home. It’s a scenic, lightly windy route that takes you through Lake Cachuma and spits you out right before you hit Santa Barbara. Solvang’s main strip often gets congested and taking this shortcut has saved me about 20 minutes on my drive back home to the San Fernando Valley!
Have you been to Solvang or Chumash Casino? If so, I’d love to hear some tips/advice about the area!!