Visiting Julian in San Diego

soup

Surprisingly, I’m not a fan of celebrating Valentine’s Day but, my bf likes it and had made plans for us to go to Julian for the day. He thought I would actually like the town and since I’ve never been before it was a perfect getaway for both of us.

Julian is about a 2 hour drive from Orange County. It is a gold mining town, with approximately 1,000+ population, and 1 hour east of San Diego. The town is famous for its apples which explains the amount of options to find apple pies and apple ciders in town varies.

Downtown

We arrived by noon in downtown and the traffic was already visible. Even though there were a ton of street parking, our luck was not on our side and opted for a paid parking lot for $5 (not too bad). After we parked, we walked through downtown perusing through stores and restaurants. I was surprised of how busy it was in town. I saw people crossing the streets everywhere, lines formed outside the restaurants and car jams on the streets. It seemed that everyone had the same idea in coming to Julian that day.

The downtown area itself had a ton of restaurants to choose from. We saw various types of shops that sold soaps, guns, clothes, jams and food. If you want a quick order of an Apple Pie go to Julian Cafe. There’s a to-go order section where you can buy a whole Apple Pie or slice (they have other flavors too), drinks and other types of food. I am not a big fan of pies in general so I can’t speak for the taste of their pie. However, this was the only place we saw that didn’t have a very long line in compare to other places nearby.

Julian Grille

Finding a restaurant in town was tricky because everyone was busy and had a wait of 30 min. to an hour long. Also, I was picky in wanting an outdoor dining with a quieter scene, good food and with a shorter wait. We looked at a few places and decided on Julian Grille. They seemed to have the shortest wait, definitely an outdoor dining option and had great reviews online. As it turned out, we were not disappointed.

Julian Grille is a mix of French, Italian and American classics with a bungalow style restaurant. I enjoyed the ambiance there and the food was pretty good! We ordered their Trout special with mushrooms and caper sauce, a starter with a Butternut Squash Soup and an Apple Cider to drink. I definitely enjoyed our meal and I can’t seem to stop thinking about how good the hot apple cider was.

Eagle Mining and Co.

After lunch we decided to do the mining tour. It was located a few minutes away from downtown, through narrow streets and hidden behind a few residential areas. The overall tour took about 40 minutes long that started with a bit of history, followed by a walk through mining tunnels and finally the tour ending outside showcasing how they used to dig for gold. The mining tunnels were cool and probably the best part of the tour.

One thing to note is to double check the admission fees prior to visiting the site as the website may not reflect the current rate. We were lead to believe that it would cost $10 (as promoted on their website) but, once we got there it was actually $15 pp. That part was disappointing, although, not the end of the world.

Lake Cuyamaca

Our last stop was Lake Cuyamaca. We decided to do a mini picnic here for the rest of the day and we were well prepared for it with a basket full of foods and drinks. The lake was quite a beautiful scene. The water was serene, birds were chirping, kids were playing, the trees all around us reflected in the water and there were fishermen at the small dock waiting to catch fish. We were ready to relax ignoring the fact that there was still snow and the weather was very cold. A few minutes into our snacking we started shivering under our sweaters and tried to brush off the cold except it was unbearable. Sadly, our picnic outside ended and had to move everything back in our car. We finished off our picnic in warmth of the car heater and eventually headed home. All in all, I’d come back again to Julian on a different day and try out a few other restaurants. I think the town is not enough to explore in one day.

Visiting Oceanside, CA

oceanside california

Another day another beach town visited. I arrived late afternoon seeking for a few hours of sunshine at a beach that’s open which I found at Oceanside, CA., a coastal city located in San Diego county. San Diego was among the first counties in California to reopen their beaches, parks, and a few businesses since the “Stay At Home” order was lifted last week. To me, seeing an open beach for the first time in a month and a half felt quite strange. There seem to be a huge unspoken uncertainty in the air as I watched a few people at the beach surfing, swimming, bodyboarding in the water and people rollerblading, jogging, walking or riding bikes with or without masks worn.

Signs about social distancing and staying home were still seen in the area. Despite the beach being open, activities were limited from tanning, bringing chairs at the beach, to anything relating to gathering of any kind. Police patrolled the scene a few times in a given hour to insure that people were following the social distancing rules. Those that didn’t were told to keep it moving.

Much of my time was spent walking around the neighborhood. There seem to be new apartment buildings built in the area with a hefty price tag attached to it. I found a few coffee and juice shops in the area. Since nothing else was open I decided to head home.

The Sunset Sea Cliffs, San Diego. (Video)

sea cliffs in san diego

I have seen my share of sunset views and I can tell you that watching it from the Sunset Cliffs is quite a unique experience.

I came without too many expectations, but it turned out to be more than I expected. Initially, I thought I would walk along the cliffs and see the sights. I was able to look over and enjoy the view as I walked. I was quite mesmerized by the expansive views of the ocean and the dramatic formations of the cliffs. 

In the distance, people were walking down a staircase that led to the water. Curiosity got the best of me and I followed them. There was a tiny cove with the waves of the ocean literally moving under your feet at the bottom of the stairs. In this area, surfers made their way into the water, which didn’t look safe to me. However, they were pros at this and made the process look seamless. After a short stay in the area, I decided to return to where I started.

sea cliffs in san diego

After returning to the top, I walked even further down the coast, which led me to another area where I could descend to the bottom. This time, I thought this path was more risky than the staircase route I had just taken. After seeing people reach their destination, I decided to do the same.

In essence, you have to walk through large boulders of rock and then you have to make your way down to a beach area by pulling a rope. I do not recommend this at all, but I did it to find a cave I saw online. I thought I would find here, unfortunately I didn’t.

What I did find was a secluded beach area and tide pools that allowed me to have a closer look at the rock formations. That part was pretty cool.

On my way back, there was a bit of traffic using the rope. Please note that this is the only way back up; which is what makes this beach so secluded. Once I made it back up I decided it was time to go. At this point, the amount of visitors had increased in preparation to watch the sunset. I stayed for a few minutes and then, decided to head home.

See my previous posts on Visiting Sunset Sea Cliffs, Visiting the Skyline & the Gaslamp District, Staying in at Hotel Del Coronado and must see spots in San Diego.

Staying at Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego.

Me in San Diego

It took me about 2 hours tops to wander around Seaport Village before I decided it was time to check in to my hotel at the Hotel Del Coronado.

I arrived around 4pm and the hotel property was full on busy. Entering the hotel required elbowing past tourists and the line to check in was long. Luckily, I was able to bypass all of that through a digital check in method. My room wasn’t worth discussing on here but, customer service provided a voucher for dinner to compensate for the issues and I made sure that I used it.

Dinner was at Serea restaurant conveniently within a few steps away from my hotel room overlooking the beach. Yes, it was quite a nice view with the sunset and all. I ordered mushrooms as my starter and the lamb chop plate with potatoes as my main dish. It was more than enough food for myself and it was ok. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with it. Although, the view won me over.

After dinner I walked around the hotel. I liked that the hotel has a history with famous celebrities who’ve stayed here and they’ve done a great job of restoring the building. The rest of the night I explored the hotel and went through the shops downstairs, passed the ice cream parlor at the end of the hallway and then came back up to walk around the hotel room hallways.

The creepiest story in this hotel that I heard is about this woman who killed herself. Her name was Kate Morgan and to this day, her room is the most requested guestroom in the hotel. Would you stay in a room knowing that someone died there?

The next day I strolled down the beach with a coffee in my hand. That was one upside to my hotel room was that the beach was just a few steps away from me. I took an hour or so to take a walk and then decided it was time to leave. I only stayed 1 night as this trip was a quick weekend getaway. I packed my bags and checked out.

To be continued…