Although technically I was in the States on a business trip, I suspect that my San Diego based colleague Johann was rather enjoying the opportunity to play tourist guide, and as such (following a couple days of seeing many many of the local sights), we hopped into the car and headed out for a long drive to see the Anza-Borrego Desert plus the historic town of Julian, famous for its apple pie as well as its status of being the site of San Diego’s one and only gold rush.
Located in the heavily wooded and lush meadows found in the Cuyamaca mountains, the small town of Julian came about after the discovery of a fleck of gold in a creek by cattleman Fred Coleman. This kicked off the county of San Diego’s first and only gold rush, which ran for a relatively short 30 years, from 1870 to around 1900. Although a few spots of mining remained after that, it was farming that continued to keep Julian alive, with the fertile ground and cool climate proving to be the perfect mix to grow apples, and indeed, Julian went on to become quite famous for its Apple Pie and cider.
These days the small town, situated about an hour east of San Diego, is designated as an official California Historical Landmark, and with its drive to retain an historic feel in terms of both architecture and development, has become a popular spot for both holidaymakers and day visitors alike, thanks to its charm, hiking trails, fresh air, Spring flowers, and family friendly feel. It is an incredibly charming little place (you really can see from one end of the town to the other), and as we experienced for ourselves, gets quite packed over the weekend. Sadly, this large amount of people then did thwart our plan of trying some of Julian’s famous Apple Pie, but we did at least get to indulge in some of their fresh apple cider, and having picked up some sandwiches and supplies from a slightly less busy little shop, we continued onwards on our little foray to the desert drive.
So Julian. It’s a scenic drive to get out there, and indeed, one well worth making. The town is charming, the air is fresh, and nature is all around you. What more could you possibly want for a Sunday family outing away from the city?