About an hour's drive east and up into the mountains rests a city that is worth the drive - Julian. San Diegans consider this a local secret, and make the trip for some of the best apple pie around. But there is more to the city than just dessert.
The city was founded after the Civil War, where some Confederate soldiers headed west. While the first settlers tried their luck at gold mining, that gold rush in San Diego County did not last. However, the land and climate provided a perfect formula for growing apples. The population during the late 1800's was roughly 600, and today the census shows the population at about 1,500.
The main thoroughfare, Main Street, has 10 restaurants. If you are looking for great BBQ, The Bailey Wood Pit is the place to visit. You can have a go at the hard cider or any of the locally crafted beer selection. Mexican restaurant Poncho Villas is family owned and serves their famous Carne Asada. And of course, if you are looking for a taste of the amazing selection from the Julian Pie Company, you won't have to go far. Come when the pumpkin apple pie is in season for a real treat.
If you are a wine enthusiast, the 8 wineries in Julian are sure to please. Be sure to try the apple wine on your tour and enjoy the beautiful mountain views. Historical sites are also plentiful in Julian, including the Julian jail, a cozy two-cell jail built in 1914.
Julian makes for a great day trip from San Diego. Come for the dessert, stay for the destination.