Plan a trip to the bustling little town of Julian to enjoy local wineries, restaurants, quaint bed and breakfast inns, a bluegrass festival and more.
- By Robin Dohrn Simpson •
Ready? Set your clocks back to 1849 and the Gold Rush Days. Go to Julian. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city and drive a short, scenic hour east of San Diego. Meander through the golden mountain, dotted with live California Oak trees, past new vineyards, past horse farms, past the Oasis Camel Dairy, past Santa Ysabel and the famous Dudley’s Bakery. Load up on delicious bread and make the final push through Wynola and into the little town of Julian.
Julian, a great place to escape for a weekend, comes alive in the fall with Apple Days (September through mid October). What started as a celebration of Julian apples winning the prestigious Wilder Medal in 1907 for outstanding service to horticulture in the field of pomology (apples) has grown in to a two-month celebration of all things apple. Apple pie, u-pick apple orchards, apple cider (spiced and hard) and even apple wine at J. Jenkins Winery. On Oct. 4-5, 2014 is the Julian Apple Days Festival, two days of apple fun for the whole family at Menghini Winery.
Food And Restaurant’s in Julian
The outback food scene is growing. The Julian Grille on Main Street, with its lovely outdoor patio, is a great place to relax on a summer or fall afternoon. Whether for a burger, salad or a lovely prime rib, there are many options for everyone.
Across the street at The Bailey Wood Pit Barbecue, you can smell the luring aroma of BBQ on the grill. Enjoy a Pulled Pork Sandwich or a Tri-Tip Sandwich with their famous Garlic and Parmesan Fries on their patio overlooking Main Street. Then walk down the street to Moms Pies for slice of Apple Pie or buy a whole pie to take home and enjoy. Of course you’ll want some apple cider also.
For a gourmet experience, enjoy Jeremy’s on the Hill in the nearby hamlet of Wynola (technically still in the city limits of Julian). Jeremy will tease your taste buds with a variety of locally grown and sourced meats and vegetables and he loves to highlight local wineries. The menu offers a wine or beer pairing selection for each entrée. Some highlights are his Lobster Bisque with Sherry and his Crispy Brussels Sprouts in Ponzu Sauce. If you’re a meat eater, try the Bison Burger with Bleu Cheese and Avocado topped with Garlic Herb Fries.
Wineries in Julian: From Apple Wine to Merlot and Chardonnay
Julian boasts two working wineries and three urban-winery tasting rooms. Working winery, J. Jenkins is located next to a pick-your-own apple orchard and proudly serves an estate grown Pinot Grigio and Pinor Noir. A fun wine to try here is their Apple Wine. It has a slight apple taste with a crisp white wine finish.
Menghini Winery, just down the road, is also surrounded by apple orchards and has a six-acre vineyard. Try their Chardonnay and their Julian Gold Muscat Canelli.
The first of three Urban Wineries, Orfila Winery, has its main winery in San Pasqual Valley, 30 miles away, and has a tasting room in Wynola to showcase their wines. Winemaker Justin Mund has been replanting the vineyards but always has a couple of fabulous Syrahs: Benign Neglect Syrah and Ambassador’s Syrah. Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy a Sangiovese or their Estate Merlot also.
Witch Creek Winery, with it’s roots in the Julian area, moved it’s urban winery facility to the lovely beach resort town of Carlsbad where it has a tasting room. But, as a nod to the winery’s roots, Witch Creek also maintains a tasting room on Main Street in Julian.
Another urban winery, Blue Door Winery, which is located in San Diego, also maintains a tasting room in Julian on B Street. Make sure you walk around the corner, off Main Street to taste their stellar Merlot in what was once the town’s old livery stables and is now a comfortable and charming tasting room.
Where To Stay in Julian: Quaint BnB’s and Inns
If Bed and Breakfasts and quaint inns are what you like, you can find them in Julian. Julian Gold Rush Hotel, Julian Lodge, and Eaglenest Bed and Breakfast are all located in town and within walking distance of shops, restaurants and other activities. All inns are small with personalized service, an abundance of history and friendly staff.
Things To Do in Julian: Shop, Hike, Explore a Gold Mine, or Enjoy Live Music
Locals love to browse the shops on Main Street, but there are other things to keep you happy year round. The Bluegrass Festival every September draws hundreds of people and takes place Sept. 20, 2014 from 1 to 8 p.m. at Menghini Winery.
For family fun, try your hand at panning for gold or sluicing for gems at the Julian Mining Company or for a caving experience try the Eagle and High Peak Gold Mine where you can take a guided tour of the old gold mine tunnels to learn the history of gold mining in the area.
Although fall is a wonderful time to visit Julian, you will find fun things to see, do and experience year round.
For more information on Julian go to: www.julianjournal.com.