Eerie Footsteps and Unexplained Shadows in Century-Old Queen Anne–Style House
Albert Robinson and his wife, Margaret, opened the Queen Anne–style Hotel Robinson in 1897 in the tiny mining town of Julian, California. Margaret baked apple pies while Albert planted locust and cedar trees, often spending the night in the hotel’s room #10. A century later, Albert is now buried in a Julian cemetery, and the Hotel Robinson is now known as the Julian Gold Rush Bed & Breakfast and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But guests in room #10 have reported finding bed linens ruffled and the room's period furniture mysteriously rearranged. Some even say they can faintly smell the smoke from Albert's pipe.
If you follow the haunting sounds of footsteps to the second floor, you might see shadows pass over the windows before you enter your guest room. Several famous guests have stayed in these rooms, including Prime Minister Lloyd George, C.S. Lewis, and Robert Duvall. But it’s Albert’s presence that remains, as he sometimes pulls back the old-fashioned lace curtains to peer out the window. Period touches include wainscoted walls and colorful quilts draped over the beds. Some rooms have enough space for clawfoot bathtubs, adding to the vintage look.
A complimentary two-course breakfast is served daily in the dining room, which has hosted notable figures such as James Joyce and Lord Curzon. Dishes range from sweet to savory, and guests are invited back each afternoon for tea, coffee, or lemonade with pastries. But hold on tight to your menu—they've been known to suspend in mid-air without explanation.
Julian, California: Historic 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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