Julian, California is a gold mining town up in the San Diego Cuyamaca mountains, famous for its apple pie and apple orchards (though, interestingly, the apples in those pies are by and large not from Julian, the volume demanded being too great for those orchards to keep up).

We hadn’t been back to Julian in a couple of years, so we decided to take the kids up there. The town of Julian is very small, consisting of a main drag with restaurants and touristy shops, a museum, and of course, lots of pie shops. The two younger kids love this place called The Candy Mine, located in the drugstore basement.

Julian is also home to a Wolf Sanctuary (reservations needed) and at least one gold mine, where you can go on a tour and pan for gold. Because Little Girl was getting over a cold, and I’m still getting over that bronchitis, we figured getting wet wasn’t the best idea, so we still haven’t done the gold panning thing.

It takes a little over an hour to get up there, and the drive is picturesque and only goes crazy in winding for a short time.

Once we did the Candy Mine (the kids each getting 3 pieces of candy) the kids were DONE and wanted to go home. They weren’t interested in the museum or the antiques shop. Sigh.

Is the Candy Mine worth an hour drive, you ask? I’d say no. All the candy they have, even the Goldminer’s Gum, is available elsewhere (the gum, for example, we saw in Michael’s the next day), for less. But if you are in Julian, and you have little kids, they will LOVE the Candy Mine.

We did convince the kids to go over to the bookstore for a minute. It’s a used bookstore in an old house, with creaking floorboards and well-categorized rooms. However, we didn’t see anything we needed.

Then we went to pick up a frozen pie at the Julian Pie Company, which we took home and had with dinner. It’s cheaper to buy a whole pie for the whole family than it is to get 5 individual slices (and there’s extra, ha ha). My favorite is the Natural Apple, which has no added sugar. It’s plenty sweet.

But you have to keep pie away from my Eldest, because she ate, I think, half the pie in the end. I could barely get this photo in before it disappeared.

The local farmer’s market sells these pies, too, only 5 minutes away from my house. And they cost $2 less at the farmer’s market. Which probably won’t stop us from going to Julian again, because, after all, we have to do the gold mine. And all those antique stores we haven’t seen. We should probably leave the kids at home and bring them some gum from the Mine.