It is June. You tire of spending time in the city, in San Diego, so you decide to amble up the mountains to the northeast to visit the quaint town of Julian. You assume, it being in the mountains and all, that it will be cooler than the high 80s it has been in the city. You will be wrong.
After an enjoyable drive with your mother, who is visiting you, meandering around the gentle mountains, you arrive in downtown Julian half an hour before the stores open (which is 11 am, FYI). You and your mother decide to get coffee at Julian Cafe & Bakery, but then you change your order because you excitedly remember that they serve amazing hot apple cider with whipped cream and caramel.
You are not disappointed. But your hands get pretty sticky. That’s okay.
Hitting the Stores
After using the bathroom that comes with an authentic pull-chain toilet and washing your hands well, you and your mother wander across the street to The Warm Hearth, a delightful mercantile-style shop you both fondly remember from a previous visit. Immediately, you gather two candles to buy, then continue to wander through the nooks and crannies of the store, delighting in what you find.
After that, you continue down Julian’s Main Street, desperately trying to stay in the shade of the 100+ year-old buildings. You pop up to Julian Candy Basket because: candy. You smile with delight when two youngsters push past you and greet their grandma, who runs the store. You can’t imagine anything better than having a grandmother that runs a candy store, though the grandmother in question, Adelle, assures us that they are allowed to pick out only one treat. And she puts them to work, stocking hard candy sticks.
You and your mother reminisce about old-fashioned candy brands, and she picks out some licorice for her husband. You both hate licorice, but he loves it. You leave with a treat for your son and some chocolate covered almonds to share. You consider that you’ve done well to leave without buying more.
A Quick Stop in Wynola
Shopping and heat make you and your mother hungry, so you decide to head one tiny town over to Wynola for lunch. Wynola Pizza & Bistro, who has kindly offered you as a travel writer a generous gift certificate, is your destination. While the red barn-shaped restaurant is known for its pizzas, it’s too hot for pizza, and besides, you had it last night. So you opt to share a spring salad and caesar salad wrap to counter the big slices of Julian pie you plan to have later. You also throw in a homemade focaccia loaf for good measure.
The food is delicious and simple. You tell your mother the next time you visit, you would like to come in the evening, because the outdoor dining looks pretty fantastic.
After that, you cross the street (driving to avoid walking in the heat; no judgment) to Wynola Junction Antiques & Collectibles, where you proceed to spend over an hour perusing the amazing collection of — yep — antiques and collectibles. You recently converted a steamer trunk into a bar and are looking for some cool vintage bar glasses. You find more than you can ever need. You also find an awesome iron mermaid for your garden. You and your mother laugh at all the items for sale that she has in her house. You tease her about how you will bring Antiques Roadshow to her house to make millions.
When you check out, you see a sign announcing the sale of goat milk, far cheaper than you’d pay at your fancy-pants grocery store, so you buy some. Tracy, the owner, is happy to comply. She has more than a dozen goats, and often has milk or even goat cheese to sell. You think that alone is worth the drive up.
After you leave Wynola, you make one non-negotiable stop: Julian Pie Company in Santa Ysabel (another 5-minute drive). After ogling the full-size pies, you order one slice of traditional apple and another strawberry rhubarb. You will eat this pie happily for breakfast the next day.
You drive home, happily exhausted from the heat and entertainment of a day well-spent in the mountains.
The Candy Basket, Wynola Pizza & Bistro, and Wynola Antiques & Collectibles provided me with a discount or free products, but my opinions are my own.