Apple Pie and Nature Retreat in Julian


Sometimes, I really do feel the urge to leave the city rush behind and simply inhale some peace and quiet - aka be surrounded by nature. I love San Diego, but I all too often need some time to just — breathe. A couple weekends ago, Annelie and I decided to go up to Julian, a famous little mountain village about one and a half hours from Point Loma, San Diego, and do exactly that: breathe. 

After having gotten my competition training for the TeamFit by Proving Grounds Competitions over with in the early morning (the big day was 2 weeks ago and I will share a few great pictures and insights within the next few days with you), together with my fellow humanitarians (I am so glad to be part of the awesome CrossFit Humanity family since May), my lovely landlady and I packed snacks, grabbed our sunnies and backpacks and hit the road - up northeast. 

We left around 10 am when it was pretty overcast. However, the closer we got to the mountains, the more the sun seemed to burn off the clouds. 

Good thing I was driving. Those windy roads would have made me sick and that way I could appreciate the view without a cramping feeling in my tummy. I still remember the last time C. (unfortunately back on German territory at this point) and I had rented the badass Mustang for a day (for which I had to break the bank, more or less, but ‘experiences’, right?). I was getting slightly sick and thus had to take over the steering wheel. Plus, the fact that we were seriously running out of gas didn’t help make me feel better. Stress is killer — good times nonetheless. 

Anyway, I was driving us through the Cuyamaca Mountains, passing single houses, ranches, cabins tucked away behind hills, as the sun was starting to show full presence. 

We were both happily chatting away and eventually reached the little village of Julian (that even has a Chamber of Commerce), that is home to significantly less than 2,000 people but is all too often overrun by double the number of tourists. 

I can’t blame everyone; it’s too gorgeous up here. 

Julian is known for its pies and I can only imagine how much fun it must be to spend a day in fall, when apple season comes around the corner, going up here for apple picking with friends and family. It’s truly idyllic, a quaint, historic village rooting back in the 1870s — gold rush season. 

Now, back to the hot topic: apple pie! This is probably why most people make a trip up here, to sample the fresh, delicious crumbles and pies. Everyone goes crazy about the Julian Pie Company, which, without a doubt, has good pies, but  then you haven’t tried Mom’s. 

You have truly missed out. Holy mother (mother…mom), their pies are one of a kind and don’t sell anywhere else (in San Diego, other than Julian Pie Company). 

The earlier you get there, the better it is for you, because you will have to be prepared to wait in line. This, however, is also worth it. Long lines usually mean something really good awaits you at the end of it, right?

We decided it would be a good idea to get our sweet tooth on before our planned hike. Naturally. 

We walked around town for a little while, had a look at the little shops and bought pumpkin and apple butter (oh my gaaawd, so good with crackers or veggies; it’s called ‘butter’ for some reason but it is actually fudge). 

Speaking of fudge. Free? Can hardly resist that one. 

As the sun was fully out and we were ready for some active nature recovery, we went over to Volcano Mountain, about 2 miles from Julian. 

It was getting hot! Definitely more than 72°, that’s for sure, and it even seemed to be warmer with the sun out. 

And so we got our hike in. 

It’s a moderate 5-mile hike (although we didn’t go all the way), with loads of greenery surrounding you. Much needed and a good way to clear my head a little. 

We met maybe 3 - 5 people on the way, but other than that, had the trail to ourselves, which was very refreshing. 

Once back at the car, we made our way back to Julian.

Tired eyes but a big smile on my face. 

Because how do you best finish off a day in Julian, especially if you have burned energy before? Of course, give it a second round of apple-cherry crumble (with ice-cream on top this time — don’t fear the carbs!!), and take a whole pie back home with you. 

Because after all, Mom’s the best.