Off to Julian
We have adopted a motto for the times that we take off on a one-day staycation excursion and that motto is, ”Go where the wind blows.” Even with a set destination, every so often something can catch our eye and side track us off into a different direction or on a new adventure.
Such was the case as we decided to go to Julian for the day. Julian is a small mountain community in Southern California about 50 miles northeast of San Diego. I have only been there a few times and each time it is the same agenda, eat lunch and for desert… apple pie!
Julian is known for their delicious apple pie which is evidenced by the long lines of people that flock to this town to buy one or two of these culinary delights. The apples are grown locally and over 10,000 pies are baked in the month of October alone. Tourists are lured to this small city to enjoy the cold weather or snow, fall colors, the historical atmosphere, or to attend one of their many festivals. The most notable being the annual apple festival.
The small town offers cozy and comfortable restaurants as well as gift shops, boutiques, and horse carriage rides.
On our way into town we saw a sign that said Gold Mine Tours and in keeping with our motto of going where the wind blows, we decided to bypass town and check what this was all about.
The Gold Mine
The Eagle Mining Co. offers one hour tours of the old gold mine with an expert tour guide showing you the way through the 1870 mining operation. The guide will teach you about the original mining and take you through a series of tunnels before you exit higher up on the hill. Once outside, they give a demonstration and let you participate on how to actually pan for gold.
Although we didn’t take the tour on this visit, I am still glad we took the time to investigate this attraction. This is something I definitely would like to do in the future.
The town of Julian was put on hold again for a few more minutes as we all decided that we had never seen a live and actual apple tree in person. With the help of a local citizen we were directed to the Menghini Winery about two miles away. We happily found our tree, in fact many of them! At first we couldn’t see any apples because we had it in our head that the trees would be covered with dozens of the bright red fruit. It took a closer inspection to finally see the apples on the trees as they were smaller and not quite the vibrant red we were expecting. At least we saw an apple tree! While walking around the winery, a few apples were on the ground and close to the road. One of our nutty and brave souls decided to taste it and reported back that it was actually quite good. Now, we are not sure if this was legal but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.
Back in town, we sat down to lunch and enjoyed some comfort food and of course dessert featuring apple pie a la mode. The alluring aroma of apples and cinnamon in the restaurant was worth the drive alone.
As we explored more of the area around Julian, we were amazed on how pretty it was. In fact the drive up to Julian is beautiful with its trees and green meadows scattered about along the way. Old and unique farm houses dot the area as well as cabins hidden behind the tree tops. It is a relaxing drive in the country and provides some great photo opportunities.
Surprisingly, there were quite a few wine tasting rooms on the way back from Julian. Grapevines could be seen sharing the land with the soon to be harvested apple trees.
Julian is a wonderful one day excursion if you need to just get away for the day. There are also hotels as well as bed and breakfasts for longer stays.
It can get crowded on the weekends and parking can be scarce but we found a big lot that wasn’t too far from the shops and restaurants.
Besides the beautiful drive itself, take a gold mine tour, check out the wineries and apple groves, have a yummy lunch, and if that isn’t enough, finish it all with a warm homemade slice of apple pie and vanilla ice cream.
On that note, I am signing out. All this talk about pie has made me hungry.