On the Go: Day trip to Julian


Back in October, I took a day to visit the town of Julian. I thought I’d share my experience to encourage others to consider visiting this delightful little town.
Julian was founded in 1860, and what gives it its charming character is that it still has some of the original stores, saloons, wooden sidewalks and the old jail.
In case you are one of those rare creatures who haven’t been to Julian, there are many shops and bakeries for browsing, touching, shopping, tasting and eating. It’s a place where you can find an unusual gift for someone. For instance, I happen to go into a candy shop where they had lollipops that had little ants, scorpions, and worms, embedded in the clear candy, depending on your taste. Ugh!! That was not on my shopping list.
After some browsing, the group I was traveling with stopped at the Rongbranch Restaurant for a lovely lunch. I chose a chicken entree which was good, moist and tender. It came with mashed potatoes and a veggie. Unfortunately, the uber-overcooked zucchini was not appetizing, so it remained on the side of my dish. However, the best was saved for last – a piece of the famous Julian apple pie with some coffee. Yummy!
Then it was off to the 60th Annual Julian Melodrama, which is really weird, funny and a hoot! It’s a good thing we got our tickets early as the theater was totally sold out! This play, written and acted by Julian residents, was first performed in 1957. Like most melodramas, it featured a heroine in distress with a handsome hero rescuing her from an evil villain. The story is loosely based on actual events surrounding a property dispute that took place in the Julian-Cuyamaca Lake area. An evil doer was trying to acquire land through shady, illegal means and a brave surveyor who persevered to save the land for its rightful owners.
The play started with the audience participating in a rousing sing-a-long of songs such as “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Side by Side,” “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” and others. The play then started. Then time for a break. A gentleman sitting in the audience came up and sang a song – he looked somewhere between 85-90 years old. His voice was trailing and really he could not sing very well. The play then resumed, then another break, this time a man with a dulcimer played a tune, then the play, then a group of women would sing and do some comedic routine, then the play would start again. The play and interruptions continued till the play ended. It was not your Broadway Phantom of the Opera production but it was strange, different, and fun.
Back on the bus, our group stopped at Dudleys – famous for jams, bread, baked goodies. Naturally, I bought an apple pie for my family.
If you are looking for something fun to do on a weekend, Julian is a nice place to visit and it’s only about an hour’s drive from our area.