AAA Four Diamond Romantic Bed and Breakfast on Secluded Country Estate
Orchard Hill Country Inn, which Frommer's named "the most upscale lodging in Julian," might also be the most romantic. Perched on a hill overlooking the quiet countryside, the 3-acre estate is dotted with secluded hammocks and trails. Guest rooms—which feature country furnishings and original artwork—are housed in a handsome Craftsman-style lodge. For an additional fee, you can arrange massages or picnic lunches.
In the morning, gather in the dining room for a complimentary country breakfast that might include apricot-and-pecan french toast or eggs olé. The hotel also serves fireside hors d'oeuvres, beer, and house wine in the great room every afternoon. Orchard Hill's onsite gift shop, Twigs, stocks goodies such as scone mix and private-label preserves so you can re-create your favorite snacks at home.
Julian, California: Historic Gold-Mining Town with Famous Apple Treats
Julian is a pint-size mountain town located 60 miles northeast of San Diego. Since it’s located on top of the Laguna Mountains at an elevation of 4,200 feet, Julian enjoys four distinct seasons, unlike the rest of Southern California. The town was the first and only gold-rush spot in San Diego County, and as a result, the entire township is a designated historical district. Explore its rich heritage aboard a mining train.
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. Less sweet than traditional types, the apples are ideal for baking into homemade pies, brewing into cider, and using to prop open doors, and you'll find variations on the fruit all over town. The area's unique climate also makes it a prolific grape-growing region; you can enjoy complimentary tastings of pinot grigio and pinot noir at a number of award-winning vineyards nearby.
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, mountains, and sea. Lake Cuyamaca offers year-round trout fishing 9 miles from the hotel, and you can take part in Julian's distinguished stargazing tradition at private astronomical observatories in town.