By: Ronnie Greenberg
Photos: Joe Hilbers
Navigate your way through regions where the melding of an earlier time moves on to the vibes of the present. Mix and blend in sumptuous food and wine and be assured that a grand journey lies ahead.
A rustic mountain retreat in the heart of San Diego’s backcountry, Julian is surrounded by state parks, mountain trails, open meadows, fresh clear creeks and lakes. Bordered by historic Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Mount Laguna to the south, Volcan and Palomar Mountain to the north and the magnificent Anza Borrego Dessert to the east. Julian is surrounded by thousands of acres of wooded wilderness offering limitless outdoor activities. A wonderful year round destination for natural beauty, recreation and adventure, and easy to see why the locals love their lifestyle.
Rich in history with a small town charm, Julian has grand legends to share. Following the Civil War in 1869 a group of veterans headed west and captivated by the beauty of the land settled in what was to become Julian. Within a month of finding gold in a small creek the town was flourishing with commerce and trade and homesteading. Unlike most gold mining towns of the time, Julian didn’t disappear after the mines were depleted. After the gold played out, the pioneers planted apple orchards to fill the economic gap caused by the loss of mining. Today, during the fall harvest the apples continue to provide the basis of a thriving local economy.
Where to stay:
Dedicated to the highest standards of graciousness the Julian Gold Rush Bed & Breakfast is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California. Built in 1897 by a freed slave, Albert Robinson, and his wife, Margaret , the hotel was often called the “Queen of Back Country,” and was a frequent stopping place of Admiral Nimitz the Scripps, and the Whitneys. The hotel was originally named the “Hotel Robinson” and operated by its namesake until his passing in 1915. His wife Margaret ran it until 1921 and then Martin Jacobs renowned mining engineer and foreman of the Stonewall Mine, and his family ran it for forty-seven years.
Now Steve and Gig Ballinger and daughters Lisa and Radne own the elegant Victorian Julian Gold Rush Hotel B&B, a living relic of Julian’s gold boom history. It follows in the Victorian spirit of genteel hospitality, and the 16 guest rooms including the Patio Cottage and Honeymoon House are authentically restored in the style of the period. Guests are invited to “share in a gracious afternoon tea” and a two course gourmet breakfast.
Located at 2032 Main Street, (800) 734-5854 www.JulianHotel.com
Main Street- you can walk everywhere in Julian so poke around or bring home a treasure. A leisurely stroll reveals a diverse selection of shopping from antiques, crafts, books stores, and bakeries and cafes where along with hearty country fare, delicious apple pie is served.
The Eagle and High Peak Mine, registered in 1870 is located on “Gold Hill” and tours are given daily. Guides lead you through the intricate path of tunnels in the hard rock mine, and share tales from the past. Check out the two cell jail built in 1913 with wood pigpen style cells (the jail has not been used since 1954); Town Hall originally from 1913, the present building is the fourth structure to serve Julian; Town Cemetery, where many of Julian’s first citizens are buried; Witch Creek School from 1886 and is now a public library; Brewery from 1876 now the Julian Museum; Julian Drug Store, a great place to sip an ice cream soda at the old fashioned marble soda fountain; and the Menghini Winery, 6 acres of vineyards surrounded by apple orchards.
For more information contact: Julian Chamber of Commerce www.julianca.com
A booming town with a fantastic history, Temecula has emerged into a world class destination with over 30 award winning wineries, vineyards that dot the rolling hills, tasting rooms open year round and great dining venues
For an ideal look into the past history, visit the Temecula History Museum in Sam Hick’s Park that chronicles life in the area through time and different cultures. On view are artifacts preserved from Western civilization, including Luiseno Indians, Mission Luis Rey, citrus fields, and a replica of the town’s beloved son, Earle Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason novels and TV series.
Dining is a treat here:
Cafe Champagne at Thornton Winery has recently embraced a bright new exciting redesign. Thornton Winery at the start of the wine trail, family owned by John and President Steve Thornton proudly serves award-winning Gold Medal Country French contemporary fusion cuisine. Executive Chef Ceasar Solarzano’s menu with imaginative dishes uses only the freshest seasonal ingredients sourced from the region and exclusively focused on quality and presentation Featured appetizers are brie en croute and the mouthwatering Thornton salad, while entrees include salmon, filet mignon, chicken and steak flatbreads. Wine Maker David Vergari’s wine list highlights the award winning collection of Thornton wines along with other special selections for pairing. Add to this amazing attentive service for an experience of delight.
Check website for ticket information on their fantastic Concerts.
Located at 32575 Rancho California Road (951) 699-0099 www.thorntonwine.com
Bailys in Old Town is a beautiful large facility perfect for casual dining on the first floor, or on the veranda or expansive patio. A more formal atmosphere will greet you on the second floor and in all the perfect place for gourmet California–Continental cuisine.. Entrees include: tequila shrimp; chicken schnitzel; baby-back rigs; baked salmon; filet mignon; ribeye steak and the mouthwatering asparagus bruschetta. Leave room for the brownie sundae or creme brulee. There’s entertainment weekends in their upstairs lounge, and a live music brunch every Sunday. Located at 8699 Old Town Front St. (951) 676-9567 www.baily.com
Blue Water Grill is a delight after a day in the sun’s rays, enjoying their mouthwatering dishes. Be seated indoors in the casual nautical themed dining room or on either of the two outdoor patios. There are daily selections, as well as classics such as oysters Rockefeller; Ponzu sashimi; sea scallops; rock lobster tail; Alaskan king crab; chilled seafood platter; mussels with Spanish chorizo; steamer pot of clams; sand dabs; Mahi Mahi: or a large variety of steaks and pasta. Top it off with a yummy mud pie or the signature key lime pie. From the beautiful bar enjoy the handcrafted cocktails each one made with house made sour mix and organic agave nectar; or choose from an impressive selection of beers and wines.
Located at 26700 Ynez Court, phone (951) 506-2899 www.bluewatergrill.com
Pechanga Resort and Casino
Send your cares packing at Pechanga Resort & Casino, a destination in itself, and a perfect mix of chic and excitement offering one of the largest and most expansive resort/casinos in the United States. Owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the newly expanded Four Diamond property by AAA now offers their newest Resort North Tower in addition to the Casino Towers for a total of 1,090 hotel rooms and suites, a championship golf 18-hole golf course called Journey at Pechanga; the luxury two level Spa Pechanga a luxurious full service venue; entertainment in the Pechanga Summit, Pechanga Theater and in the Comedy Club, and a total of 20 bars and restaurants from fine to casual dining. The casino features over 4600 slot machines, 154 tables games, a non smoking poker room with a brand new off track betting facility, and ultra modern 700 seat bingo facility and the High Limit Salon and private gaming rooms.
New, too is robot named Buddy who moves up and down the lobby floor to insure that all goes smoothly. Outdoors checking license plates is another robot called Rudy.
The 4 1/2 acres of outdoor delight surrounded by fire pits, whirlpools and cushy daybeds, is the kind of place that invites you to catch the rays, recline poolside and sip a glass of crisp local wine or beer. The Coveside Grill who has walls covered with living plants, is a full service restaurant tucked away at The Cove serving salads, sandwiches, and fresh faire to be eaten at the grill or served to you poolside. Cabanas in a variety of shapes and sizes are scattered throughout the oasis.
Located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula 92592 For reservations phone: (877) 711-2451 www.pechanga.com
For more information on the area contact Temecula Visitors Bureau phone (888) 363-2852 www.visittemeculavalley.com