Hotel at a Glance: Julian Gold Rush Hotel
As its name suggests, the Julian Gold Rush Hotel harks back to the days of the California Gold Rush. Inside Queen-Anne–style building, you’ll find old-fashioned lace curtains and antique lamps and furniture. Elegant guest rooms boast heirloom quilts, clawfoot bathtubs, and cast-iron fireplaces. Built in 1897, it’s Southern California’s oldest continually operating hotel and even appears on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Famous guests: UK Prime Minister David Lloyd George, C.S. Lewis, and Robert Duvall
- Free two-course breakfast with granola, seasonal fruits, a housemade hot dish that changes daily, and date nut raisin toast from San Diego’s famous Dudley’s Bakery
- Afternoon tea with scones and cookies is served every day in the historic dining room.
- Best spot to sit a spell: The hotel’s breezy front porch is outfitted with wicker furniture and surrounded by colorful flowers.
- Play a tune on the inn’s 100-year-old piano, made from tiger oak.
Julian, California: Historic Gold-Mining Town with Famous Apple Pie
Julian’s position at just over 4,200 feet on top of the Laguna Mountains means that the town, unlike the rest of Southern California, enjoys four distinct seasons. Julian was the first and only gold-rush town in San Diego County, and as a result, the entire township is a historic district. Explore its rich heritage aboard mining trains or during the year-round History Hunts that send participants through downtown to find answers to questions about local sites.
Though gold mining may have put Julian on the map, the town is most famous for its apple crops, which began springing up here at the end of the 19th century. The area’s unique climate also makes it a prolific grape-growing region, and a handful of wineries dot the countryside. There’s plenty to do outdoors, as well. A 2.5-mile hike to the top of nearby Volcan Mountain reveals panoramic views of the desert and mountains, and Lake Cuyamaca offers trout fishing all year.