Jaunt to Julian – A Bargain Pie-scursion

I love Fall! It’s my favoritest season of all. The cool crisp air, the changing leaves, the apple harvest….yes, I do live in Southern California where all these are rarities but they do exist. One just needs to look for them. And look I did when, on the first Saturday of Autumn, I headed to the quaint town of Julian.

A small mountain community east of San Diego, Julian was initially a gold rush town. Unfortunately, the gold rush didn’t last long but, lucky for us, the town did. All of the historic structures remain and are in use today.  If it weren’t for the cars and the modern dress you would think you stepped back in time.

Now to get to Julian is quite a trip. The freeway will only take you so far. After that it’s windy mountain roads for about an hour. The last time I’d been to Julian I was a toddler and I did not remember this! Of course, I wasn’t driving then. Although the road is a challenge for a city dweller like me it does serve as a reminder that Southern California isn’t all urban sprawl. There are open spaces, farms, orchards, and wildlife – you just need to branch out a little to find them.

Just when I thought the journey was never going to end, we arrived. It was around 10 am and already the place was getting crowded. We were all pretty hungry so we headed for the Miner’s Diner for a bit of breakfast.

Now this is no Ruby’s or Johnny Rocket’s. This is the real deal. The building has been in continual use since the 1800’s and the soda found has existed since the 20’s. Eureka! I’ve found my historic gold.

Luckily, they were still serving breakfast when we arrived. We were able to load up with tasty vittles and refreshments for under $10 each. Not to shabby!

no breakfast in Julian is complete without a glass of local cider

After breakfast, the hunt began for Julian’s greatest treasure – apple pie. Julian is not just a gold rush town; it’s also know for its apples. Yup, surrounding the historic town are apple orchards. And these orchards produce Julian’s most famous export. Pie! In the few blocks of the town you will find not one, not two, but five different apple pie sellers. On this bright fall day it was our goal to sample all of them.

First stop, The Julian Pie Company.

This place was exactly what my pie dreams are made of. Super cute interior, friendly staff, and a wide variety of apple pies in various incarnations (apple pumpkin, apple berry, apple peach…). For under five bucks you can get a slice of pie and a drink. Not bad, not bad. My companions dug right in, but trying to pace myself I stuck with an apple cider donut. It was quite tasty.

I guess I couldn’t wait to take the picture before digging in.

My companions went for a slice of apple berry and apple peach with cinnamon ice cream. I, of course, sampled both. Apple berry – a little too sweet for me. Apple peach – yummedy yum yum yum.

After this deliciousness we walked around and looked in some shops to work off the calories. Pretty soon we happened upon pie shop number two – Mom’s Pie House. Where the other pie shop was quaint, this one was all about production. They had a large window in front where you could see all the baking going on and the inside was all hustle and bustle. Again, I opted for the non pie option – Mom’s Apple Pie Freeze, a blended drink. Yup, you heard right. I was feeling adventurous. One of our group was down for the count but the other soldiered on and went for pumpkin pie.


The pumpkin pie, which I just had to sample, was nice and spicy. The drink…well it was sweet. Very, very sweet. But, it was really made out of apple pie ingredients. I could tell by the chunks of apple in it. Not a bad thing in my book.

After this we looked in some more shops and soon came upon pie shop number three and…we were done. We took one look at the pies on display and realized that our lofty pie goal would never been realized. Julian, you got us!

So, if you’re keeping score, you noticed I did not have one slice of pie. But no fear, we grabbed some for the road.

mama’s on the left, julian pie co. on the right

Hooray! Fall is here!

Miner’s Diner                   Julian Pie Company               Mom’s Pie House
2130 Main Street             2225 Main Street                  2119 Main Street
Julian, CA 92036             Julian, CA 92036                  Julian, CA 92036

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