8 things you don't want to miss in Julian, CA

I know what you’re thinking... This isn’t food!?! You’re right, it’s slightly different!

I’m sure by now you already know about my passion for food, quality ingredients, and sharing them with all of you. Whelp… I’m equally as passionate about travel and adventures! This year alone I’ve been to Brazil, Cuba, Chicago, Denver, Indiana, Big Bear, and did some camping in Kernville, CA and near the Colorado River. I’d like to start capturing these adventures (even the little ones like this one) and start sharing them all with you.

Before I take any trip, I start out by doing my research (and lots of it), I’ve consolidated my findings and tips to save you time so you can get up and go!

I’ve found a couple of cool tools that have helped me stay organized and help with planning.

Yelp: Yelp is an incredible resource for finding restaurants and businesses and reading other user reviews. This is a great way to discover new restaurants in your hometown or for when you’re on the road. You can play with the filters to hone in on the types of restaurants or businesses that you’re looking for. You can do a simple search, or here’s a few techniques that I like to use.

  • Use the map view to move the map to the area you’re interested in.

  • Filter “Hot and New” to find hot new restaurants that are new and gaining popularity.

  • Use the “Open Now”, to find a business that is open at a particular time (think restaurants that are open late, or mechanics that are open really early).

  • Check-ins – when you find the business you’re looking for, check-in on Yelp upon your arrival, you’d be surprised to find that a lot of businesses have special offers or even offer things for free when you check in.

  • When I’m traveling I try to find healthy things and have found certain key words that have helped me find some really great spots: “healthy” or “organic”.

  • Bookmarks – you can bookmark businesses and access them later under your bookmarks tab.

  • And my most favorite feature of them all: This one is especially great for traveling! Yelp recently added a feature where you can add your bookmarks to a Collection. So if you’re headed to LA for the weekend you can bookmark a bunch of businesses and add them to your LA Collection and access only your LA-specific bookmarks when you get there.

- You can view your collection in either a list view or a map view. The map view is great for setting your route, and helping you to determine which order you should visit your bookmarks.

- You can even share a collection with someone else!

My list of destinations in my Julian Collection in Yelp, and the map view.

Google Maps: I recently discovered another cool feature with Google Maps, that does more than just get you from point A to point B. Similar to Yelp’s Collections, you can save a group of points of interest in a collection which make it really easy to share. See my trip to Julian below.

To create a new map, visit http://www.google.com/mymaps then click Create A New Map then just search for destinations and save them to your map.

One of the coolest features about My Maps is that you can color coordinate your trip, I organized my trip based on activities, food/drink, and orange for pumpkin patches. :) It's also really easy to share these maps with other people and let them view/edit, or in this case embed them on a website. You can click on the link below or zoom in to see more information about this map.

Now about that trip to Julian I mentioned….

I’ve been trying to get into the Fall spirit, but it’s been dreadfully hot here in San Diego. I’ve been in denial, I want so badly for it to be sweater weather, to cozy up in some cute fall boots, but it’s just not happening. Instead, I took a day drip to Julian with some friends to try and find some Fall feelings.

Julian is a really small town about an hour away from San Diego, there used to be booming apple orchards there, I’ve heard that many of them have closed down due to the drought over the past few years, but they still have really great apple pie.

The major activities for Julian are u-pick fruit from local orchards (during select seasons, check online before you go), antique shopping, dining, apple pie, and cider and wine tasting.

There are two ways to get to Julian from San Diego, you can either go up north through Ramona on the hwy 67 to 78, or heading east on the 8 and up the 7, but google it for detailed directions from your specific location.

I’d recommend going up the first route through Ramona and coming back the other way through Cuyamaca. If your trip allows for it you can stop in Lake Cuyamaca and rent a row or paddle boat on your way back.

The Barn Vintage Market – It’s just outside Julian and was a great place for my friends and I to meet up. The Barn Vintage Market is a really awesome antique store with some really great rustic finds. I scored horeshoe hooks which I plan on using for curtain tiebacks. Turns out they were hand made by an 80 year old local man who lives in Julian. How cool is that?!

Julian Station - This should be a must do on your list! Julian station is actually a giant barn filled with lots of little gems, there’s a camping store, a cute clothing store, an antique shop with all kinds of historic native American artifacts, a wine and chocolate tasting spot, Julian Cider and an organic Mexican food restaurant.

Julian Cider – Julian is known for its apples and apple pie, and more recently it’s cider. Julian cider is an awesome company that has been continuously growing. They now have 7 different flavors to choose from, including Pearspiration (which was my personal fav), hard root beer, apple pie cider, cherry, raspberry, and their original flavor Harvest. $7 will get you 7 different tasters. Pro tip: you get one free taster with Yelp check in.

Mr. Manitas Taco Bar & Fruteria – This place was amazing not only was the food organic and all of the meats grass fed, but the food was really, really good! Being born and raised in San Diego, I’m kind of a Mexican food snob, and this place definitely hits the spot. My recommendations: Carne Asada Burrito Bowl or Carne Asada Burrito… do yourself a favor and try out their homemade salsas, YUM!! Pro tip: Complimentary chips and salsa upon request. (I dove in too quicky and forgot to snap a pic...oops)

The Warm Hearth – This store is MASSIVE! It’s a really cute shop to pop in and check out, there’s tons of stuff, a great place to get in on your holiday shopping early.

Julian Cider Mill – We didn’t make it into this place while we were there this weekend, it’s really small and very crowed. If you find yourself in Julian on a not so crowed day, you should check this place out.

Julian Pie Company – This is my top pick for Julian apple pie. I know everyone has their favorite, and Mom’s is pretty popular, but Julian Pie Company does it for me every time. They’re slightly off the main path so the line isn’t as long, they have two patios for seating, both are shaded and super cute, and last but not least, they have absolutely amazing cinnamon ice cream that goes oh-so-well with their dutch apple pie.

Lake Cuyamaca – We stopped by Lake Cuyamaca on our way back to San Diego and rented a row boat. There’s a $7 access fee but its waived if you rent a boat. Row boats hold 8 people (I think), and are $25 for the day or $17.50 after 1pm. Since we were there around 4 and the parking fee was waived with a boat rental we only paid $17.50 and it was totally worth it. It was a great way to burn off some of the apple pie and get to relax on the lake before heading back to San Diego.

If you plan your visit in Fall and are looking to visit some pumpkin patches, Julian also has a few and there’s some good ones in Ramona, which could be on your way depending on which route you take.

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