A fall visit to Julian is a given. That’s when the historic mining town, which surprisingly does experience cold weather that’s ripe for apple trees, is replete with apple-picking, apple pie, and hard apple cider. I had been just once before for the typical autumn adventure of hiking plus pie, but recently, my friends and I decided to make a spring trip up, to see the flowers in bloom, walk the town in warmer temps, and indulge in some pie. (Fall or not, pie is a Julian staple.)
A little more than an hour east of San Diego, Julian is set within the Cuyamaca mountains and its “downtown” is a charming throwback to pioneer style with a touch of the Wild Wild West. Going there is so transporting; the beaches and trendy juice bars feel far away. Beyond hiking, there are breweries, wine tasting, and quaint boutiques, with cute bed and breakfasts to make for a mountain getaway. Just how much of a getaway? Well, one house proudly posted a Confederate flag. So there’s that.
A closer look at springtime in Julian:
Food in Julian leaves something to be desired, but Granny’s Kitchen—are you getting the down-home vibe of Julian yet?—was good for a classic sandwich. I didn’t get to try it, but they also make a mean-sounding Nuts & Bolts drink with espresso and nutella.
Wine tasting at Orfila Vineyards & Winery.
If charming kitchenware, classic candy, handmade soaps, and by-the-pound potpurri are you jam, head to the E. Barrett General Store.
Pie from Julian Pie Co. for takeout to Nickel Beer Company, a brewery set amongst the mountains with great outdoor space. Loved that they served their tasters in cupcake tins! We ended up sitting next to the friendliest people who also happened to be San Diegans. They were in Julian for the weekend and invited us to their beautiful vacation rental, where we joined in on some beer pong and more drinking.