Last winter we became intent on discovering Julian, a small town located in a remote section of San Diego County. Julian is at 4,000 feet, well within a snow zone between the Cleveland National Forest, Mt. Laguna, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It was an El Nino year and the weatherman was forecasting storms, storms, and more storms.
Prior to leaving, friends warned us to, “take chains.” Despite that we hadn’t owned a set of chains or snow tires in nearly twenty years, we chose to go ahead. We made reservations to stay at the Julian Gold Rush Hotel. Then, we watched the weather reports every day with crossed fingers and a lot of trepidation.
As our trip dates approached, our confidence grew. Snow wasn’t going to impact our “discovering Julian” trip—most likely. It took us a couple of hours to make the drive from home to Julian, so we had plenty of time to kill on our first afternoon. Our first order of business was lunch, but that was a bit harder than we’d anticipated.
The weatherman was wrong. There was no snow in Julian. Consequently, the crowds weren’t as heavy as they could have been. There were many people in town for lunch on our first day. It was Sunday and they’d all come up from San Diego to play in the white stuff at higher elevations. The reason they came down was for lunch and, of course, apple pie.
Julian apple pie
For those not in the know, Julian is famous for its apple pies. It’s also one of the few places I can go and have gluten-free apple pie. All I can say is OMG—so good.
Oddly enough, everyone in the restaurant seemed to know each other. We soon discovered a San Diego ski club had decided to invade Julian for the day. At least they were friendly—and there was pie left.
We walked to the Julian Pioneer Museum, where we learned the story of this small town and its development. They have a number of very cool antiques from days gone by, including one of the first permanent wave machines.
After the museum, we walked to the Julian Gold Rush Hotel. Perhaps you’re catching a theme here. When staying in Julian, pretty much everything is within walking distance. The main street is flat, but the further out you go, the more likely it is there will be a hill to navigate. Some of the hills can be nasty, but we could have avoided the worst if we’d planned our route a little better.
High Peak Mine
On our second full day, we visited the High Peak Mine. Again, we walked. This was kind of another mistake because the mine tour is about another mile on top of the walk from the hotel. As near as we could tell, we were the only ones to walk to the mine. Everyone else drove in. Walking through the High Peak Mine wasn’t difficult. However, it gave me a strong appreciation for the difficulties early miners faced.
The photos taken were all taken with my iPhone 5s. I hope you enjoy!