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 water gardens, secluded hammocks, and flower-lined hiking trails. The AAA Four Diamond–rated hotel features a craftsman-style lodge, and most of the cottage rooms have porches, fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs. The innkeepers can also arrange carriage rides, couples massages, or catered picnic lunches for fees.
Antique country furnishings and original art decorate Orchard Hill's 22 guest rooms and deluxe cottage rooms. Located away from the main house, the deluxe cottage rooms offer enhanced privacy and come stocked with fresh-baked cookies. The Annie Elizabeth cottage room houses a double-sided fireplace and wall-mounted vintage board games, and you can enjoy views of towering native trees from the whirlpool tub in the Bess Pool cottage room including local wildlife like deer and raccoons. Some lodge rooms, alternatively, look out onto the hotel's whimsical water garden, which shelters frogs, fish, and a number of birds.
In the morning, gather in the dining room for a complimentary country breakfast that might include apricot-and-pecan french toast or spicy eggs olé. The hotel also serves fireside hors d'oeuvres, house beer, and 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. Its position at 4,200 feet on top of the Laguna Mountains means that the town, unlike the rest of Southern California, enjoys four distinct seasons. Julian was the first and only gold-rush town in San Diego County, and as a result, the entire township is a designated historical district. Explore its rich heritage aboard mining trains or during the year-round history hunts, which send participants on quiz-based tours of downtown.
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 sumptuous variations of the hallmark fruit all over town. The area's unique climate also makes it a prolific grape-growing region, and a handful of wineries dot the countryside; enjoy complimentary tastings of pinot grigio and pinot noir at a number of award-winning vineyards.
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 partake in Julian's distinguished stargazing tradition at private astronomical observatories in town.
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