Here I go again with another repeater. It's okay tho, because when I did it a few years back I had a foot injury that kept me from really getting in there and experiencing it. The place is the historic town of Julian... When I was here back in 2013 with my oldest daughter and grand-daughter we mostly did a drive-by/drivethru of the cities of Ramona, Julian, Santa Ysabel and Escondido. On that trip we also discover Oasis Camel Farm and experienced Bates Nut Farm & petting zoo (during which time they had a food truck festival going on), this time we will not. Here are a few photos from that Adventure. And here's a little history on Julian. You can visit their website for fun facts and everything you could want to know www.julianca.com
On this our 2nd visit, I brought my husband with us and we are here for my birthday ! Our plans are to really encounter a little more in depth what this town is all about, enjoying the things to do and see and indulging in some food and their most delicious apple pie ! (really what I am here for) Being a Thanksgiving born baby, I enjoy apple pie on my birthday in place of cake, so what a better place than Julian known for their award winning apples ! Julian is located in the Cuyamaca Mountains area, known for it's little historic town, gold mining, they have vineyards, orchards, a general store, hotels, B&B's, shopping, camping, apple cider and beer brewing facilities restaurants, cafes and eateries, some are dog friendly too, stage coach rides, horseback riding, boating on the lake and so much more. Here's what we did while there.
I saw a post about Apple cider mimosas on their website and knew I wanted to try one of those ...
We arrived later than panned, around 1:00p, it's a few hours drive from our home. There are a few different ways to get to Juian, as you drive closer to Julian you drive past the Oasis Camel Farm (we didn't see any camels along the fence, this time around) there they provide tours and camel riding, if you get a chance, do it. ... next you begin to see marketing signs along the road welcoming you to Juian, then sparsely spread out individual stores, restaurants... then what I call the stateline (sort of like Primm to Nevada). Just a few minutes before you get to the center of town you find a large grouping of shops with tasting rooms from craft beer, wine and chocolate tasting, hard cider tasting, an organic taco bar, some vintage, antique, boutiques, collectibles and knick knack shopping stores and a kids play area all housed within a building called Julian Station. The first shop in this group is The Cooler Craft Beer Tap & Tasting Room with outside patio (a separate building adjacent to the the main Julian station building) but it was closed !
Next stop, The Miners Saloon / Julian hard cider tasting room in search of my apple mimosas !... Not to be found here, in fact it was laughable to the 2 men in the tasting room ! We sampled 5 of their award winning fresh pressed hard ciders on tap.. I immediately favored the Cherry bomb and baked apple, of course ! We bought 1 of each bottle, naturally gluten free. While sampling I talked to a man who said he was a partner in the business, who lived in Julian. He said that Julian couldn't make enough apples to keep up with their growth, so they co-rented ? an orchard of 1 million trees in Oregon to produce their ales... interesting stuff.
Read and learn more about the area : The Hops highway
There's a stamped yellow brick road swirl that sits between the two places, we followed it into the main building, past a yoga studio and straight into the store that read : Julian wine and cholocate tasting bar, newly opened, (no website, but you can find them on Facebook) seemed like a perfect place for a birthday girl to begin. The gentleman behind the counter heard my daughter say it was my birthday and right away I was invited over to begin my first ever wine tasting. We tasted wines from vineyards from the surrounding areas in San Diego. I am not a big drinker of wine, but was told that I was a natural and a very good wine taster, huh, who knew! I bought a chocolate tasting basket, for 5.00 filled with both raw dark chocolate sample bars along with milk chocolate flavored bars. I only tasted the raw dark chocolate bar at the end of my last sip of the last wine, so as not to spoil the tasting with other flavors in my palate, I suggested the idea of a palate cleanser for in-between wine sampling (like they do with perfumes with coffee beans) The gentleman there threw in a free 2.00 Julian wine glass and the heart shaped palm bowl that held the chocolate tasting bars, how nice of him. We bought a 30.00 bottle of La Serenissima cab Sav, crushed and cellared in oak, bottled when the moon was waxing and the wind calm... I suggested we do so, so that my husband can take back to our salon and share with some clients.
As we drove toward main street we passed more restaurants, a gold mining company (closed) Dudleys, B&B's and made our way to the main street, we drove up and down a small section past a restaurant I wanted to take my husband to... no smell of BBQ in the air, no rows of bikes... it was closed too ! We were able to find parking pretty easily, it wasn't crowded like the last time I was here... we walked along the main street in to craft and gift shops and decided to grab a snack and read up on a Julian tourist booklet of things to do. We landed at Miners Diner... being that we were in a gold mining town and we were here in search of ROCKS and minerals it seemed appropriate. The diner was full but we were able to grab the last booth. Hot cholocates ... American diner menu choices, decorated in memorabilia with a running toy train overhead. After lunch we checked out their candy mine, a downstairs store filled with candy of all kinds, at one point the room shook like a dynamite explosion was occurring, surprising and fun for us kids ! There are numerous choices for meals in Julian from diners to gourmet cuisine, American, Italian, BBQ, they have it all. As we made our way down main street we watched as the horse drawn carriage ride went by.
From the booklet we learned that there were 4 gold mining company, tours to be had, 1 was closed for good. So we had 3 to choose from... we chose Eagle Mining Company. Just 10.00 per person to tour and it's been that price since 1968. For your 10.00 you get a guided tour of the mines, 11 levels, 30 stories high. Actual tour is of the 6th and 5th level. Inside you walk along the cart tracks, you see veins and actual gold streaks in the granite. You also get to learn some history of mining, see tools and at one point get a peek at what it was like to mine by candlelight... back in the day men would dynamite and then manually haul 4 ' / 1 ton of granite, crush it with their crushing machine and the granite would produce 2 sugar cubes of gold per day, 12 hours of labor, 2 men per level. On the tour you enter 1 mine, go through the mountain and exit out another mine called High Peak. Next, you get to pan for gold... real gold = 1.200.00 per oz !, but you don't get to keep it ! There's a shop filled with specimen gemstones and modern jewelry of agate and crystals on silk rope made in china. I have sold some of these in my own boutique. We talked with the grandson there and he told us some info about the current mine situation and how they only mine commercially now. I think we all had a great time and it turned out to be the highlight of our day.
This is what I missed out on a few years ago.. getting some pie ! At Moms on main street, their famous pie store you can have your pie by the slice, whole. dumpling, sides of ice cream and toppings, brownies and cookies too. For my birthday I had a slice of their apple cherry flake (also in crumble) with a side of cinnamon ice-cream ! To die for ! My crew shared a browning with whipped cream and drilled with echolocate sauce. I also purchased one of their apple dumplings for a Thanksgiving treat, with a promise that it was good for 3-5 days. This place was busy ... on this slow day. There are 2 locations, 1 on main street and 1 coming into town.
We ventured into the City hall at one point where a craft fair was going on, lots of smaller stores were closed today. We never made it to the Pioneer museum,. found any gem stone stores... most stores close by 5:00p .. and it was already 4:30p and the temperature was beginning to drop quickly, so we headed out, we drove down by the nearby lake... and out escondido way, home and then off to Laguna Beach for a birthday dinner meal.
Little factoid : Julian gets SNOW !
*apple season (roughly september through december)
If you can go next weekend, there's a lot more to do and see,
get their early because parking is a challenge.
Who knows maybe we will go back this weekend again !
We will definitely be back to try all of the places we did not get to and that were closed.
GOLD RUSH DAYS
TASTE OF JULIAN
If you get there, let me know what you thought in the comments below.
I'de love to hear about what you did in Julian !