Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Personal Guide to Historic Julian

I recently shared my experience of an overnight stay at the Julian Gold Rush Hotel, Bed & Breakfast.  It ... was ... lovely!  If you hadn't had the chance to read the article, you can find it here.  
Leaving the suburbs for the hills.  We're driving through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  The drive was 1:17 hours from my home.
Any previous visits to Julian were of the drive-by kind.  You know, "since we're in the area, we might as well . . .", with visits lasting two to three hours.  So having booked one night at the hotel pretty much meant spending two days in Julian.  With a town this small, and it is small with a population of 1,502, I wasn't sure how Gerry and I would be able to fill our time. What is there to do in this historic gold mining town for two days?  Well, despite the fact that a few businesses were closed being that it's a Tuesday, we discovered quite a few treasures to bide our time.  Also, may I share with you that the town is slow Monday through Wednesday, and that is why some shops, businesses and museums are closed.  The owners take those days to rest and gear up for the busy weekend ahead, which is Thursday through Sunday.

Before I share my favorite things to do, I'm just going to throw it out there, that there is no longer a financial institution in town.  No bank, no ATM, no moola for you.  You need to arrive with cash in your pocket, or use your debit/credit card to make purchases.  So why is there no bank in town, you ask.  As told to me by a store clerk, "the bank was sold to someone who didn't understand the ways of the country life."  Not many people cared to do business with this person, I guess.  But not only did the bank leave town, so did the coffee shop, the hardware store and the feed store.  Some say the 2003 Cedar fire is to blame.  It wiped out 30% of the homes in the area.  Some of those affected by the fire chose not to rebuild and left town.  The early birds now go to the famous Julian Pie Company on the edge of town for their cup of coffee.

If you visit during the slow times of the week, may I suggest these places for your browsing, drinking and dining pleasure:  


We began our day with a light breakfast here at the Julian Pie Company.  Coffee and a donut.  Yum!  They don't show it on their website, but the shop sells donuts made with local apple cider, no preservatives, artificial flavors or sugars added.  They've got a new program called the "Frequent Pie-r Program".  Cute, right?  Buy 10 pies, get one free!  I bought the strawberry rhubarb pie to bring home.  It is my absolute favorite pie!


The Book House is a small place but the collection is large, and several genres are represented.  The shop accepts donations of books and vinyl records, so when you come to Julian, bring a box of your discards.  It will be so appreciated.


This restaurant exudes rustic and casual ambiance.  The tables are covered with red and white checkered tablecloths and the food is delicious!  Great service, friendly staff and delicious food.  Oh, I said that already.  I had the spaghetti with meat sauce, and it is so authentic-ly italian (so good) and the bread rolls are so soft and smell so good, they melt in your mouth!  This restaurant was came highly recommended by the locals.


Everything you need for your garden is in this large space.  Seeds, bird feeders, garden flags, insect catchers and so much more.  You can't come in here and not buy a thing or two.  A great place to spend an hour perusing the shelves, stands and walls for that special thing.


The Julian Cider Mill is a gourmet lover's delight.  The shop offers a huge selection of candy, especially the hard-to-find assortment of classic candies, honey, snacks and their specialty, homemade raw cider.  I left the shop with jars of apple butter and lime marmalade, and - wait for it - gummy bears!


After tea and scones at our hotel, we strolled to find three wineries in close proximity to each other.  We chose the Orfila Wine Tasting Room.  I was glad when Gerry chose the Orfila because it looked lonely from the outside, and I thought it'd be nice to give the Orfila some business.  It was obvious the other two tasting rooms had customers.  Wrong, the tables were occupied at the Orfila, so we took our place at the bar.  The sommelier was awesome! The white wine tasting list was so impressive.  Since we have mostly reds at home, we brought home a couple of bottles of the whites.  We also joined the Orfila Wine Lovers Club!  We enjoy drinking wine, so why not?

Photo credit:  wheresweaver.blogspot.com

This general store was a delight.  You're transported to another time and place when you enter the store.  It smells divine from the buckets of potpourri placed throughout the store. Shelves and shelves of perfumed and organic soaps and lotions, antique dishes, toys and housewares, and so much more!  The antique Frigidaires were not for sale, though!  This place was a feast for the eyes, and I took lots of photos with my iPhone - until I saw the sign.  Please, no photography in this store!  The sign was next to the cash register.  If I wasn't such a chicken, I would've taken a photo of that sign, too!

I hope you'll consider spending a good amount of time on your next visit to Julian.  While going there Thursday through Sunday means every store and museum will be open, it will also be very, very crowded.  Something to consider.

Happy travels,

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