On the Road: Wynola, More than Just a Stop En Route to Julian
Julian Station is neither in Julian nor an actual station. It is the hub of Wynola, three miles outside of Julian and was once a boarding house, store and post office. Later it became an apple packing plant and cider house in the early 1940s.
Wynola might be a tiny blip on the map but it's a friendly and welcoming place worth a stop, look and see. Julian Station has numerous boutique shops, antique stores and local art galleries; four different wine, beer, mead and hard cider tasting rooms; and a yoga and learning arts center keep this place constantly bustling.
"We were looking to move from Ocean Beach out to the back country and the owners of this building made us an offer we couldn't refuse," said Albert Lewis, of the roundabout way he and his wife, Lydia, took from the city to the country. "I had a couple of businesses in town, but we just felt we wanted to be in the countryside." So they took the risk and moved their family to Wynola. Today, they have transformed the original apple packing facility into a successful backcountry public market with a mission of facilitating fun and making memories and dreams.
"I love the Station, but my real passion is winemaking," Albert says. "We're in the process of getting bonded and licensed. We should be ready to open our tasting room in the fall. We'll also sell our Hemp Love Chocolate and Righteously Raw Eclipse organic and local chocolate." Besides featuring his own wines, Albert plans to offer other local wines for wine tasters.
Julian Hard Cider anchors the front of the market with its new tasting room. If you haven't noticed, there is a cider revival sweeping the country and this business was on the forefront of its rebirth. Besides apple flavor, this extremely popular and successful cidery features cherry, blueberry, blackberry and apple pie flavors. You really have to taste them to see how good they are, and to take heed of the sign on their door, which says that cider cures excessive nagging, poor choices, bad hair, acute and chronic whining, selective hearing, ignorance and shortsightedness.
Another revival is mead, the oldest alcoholic beverage, dating back many thousands of years. Golden Coast Mead, out of Oceanside, has a tasting room in Wynola offering their locally fermented mead. It was referred to in the Bible. It has even been thought of as medicine," Frank Golbeck, co-owner of the meadery says with an animated smile on his face, reflecting a huge passion for his business. "Even Beowulf drank mead after slaying the monster known as Grendel, in the Old English epic poem." Frank laughs. "Shakespeare, Chaucer and Tolkien all refer to mead in their writings. We're just bringing it back to the modern world."
They offer four different flavors: Sour, O.B. Dry, Speak Easy and California Oak. Some say this light and refreshing drink starts like a beer and ends like champagne. "It is definitely sunshine and flowers in a glass," Frank says with a sly smile on his face.
Want a cold beer? The Cooler Tap and Tasting Room is a relaxed beer pub with a welcoming patio covered with red umbrellas. They feature locally crafted beers such as Stone, Nickel and Julian Brewing Ales.
Inside the market is Mr. Manitas Taco Bar and Fruteria. This 1940s food counter is a replica of food stands that you see down in Mexico with corrugated metal siding. They offer organic (when possible) and locally sourced ingredients for their barbecue taco bar, salsa bar and other Mexican favorites. Try their smoothies, acai bowls or homemade popsicles while enjoying live music on the outdoor patio.
Cook Pigs Ranch has a retail location here also. Owner Krystina Cook believes in her pigs. She allows them to be pigs and roam the pasture foraging for food. In addition, they are fed a special organic, non-GMO grain feed that is easily digestible. Cook pigs are never given hormones. Stop by on your way in or out of town to purchase premium-quality, locally raised heritage pork. You can get small amounts of pork and if you're lucky, some sausage too.
No visit to Wynola is complete without a visit to Jeremy's on the Hill. Chef Jeremy Manley has been working in a kitchen since the age of 10. It wasn't a surprise that after high school he headed to San Francisco to study at the world famous Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. In March 2008, Jeremy was ready to start his own adventure opening Jeremy's on the Hill.
Jeremy's is a destination restaurant luring guests from the seaside to the countryside, via Chef Jeremy's unique and tasty creations. It's working! He constantly changes his menu to feature seasonal produce.
"The local heirloom tomato BLT with avocado and the house garlic fries are my favorite," says Carmen Micheli on a visit from Temecula with her children. "Oh and the Julian Apple Salad. I always love the local selection of wines and beers.
Not to be outdone, her 7-year-old son, Connor, chimes in "Chef Jeremy is the coolest. He lets me watch him in his kitchen. He's friends with the farmers and even helps the kids at school eat better. He makes the best apple salad, carrot cake and crème brûlée in the whole world. I wish I could eat those every day. I want to be a chef like Jeremy when I grow up." Join Jeremy on Friday, September 11th for a special pairing dinner called "As Local as it Gets". Reservations can be made at JeremysOnTheHill.com.
This fall, when you head out to Julian for Apple Days and other fun events in San Diego's back-country, make Wynola a stop on your itinerary. And save space for a dinner at Jeremy's. Tell them Connor sent you.
Julian Hard Cider
4470 Julian Rd, Julian, CA 92036
Golden Coast Mead
4093 Oceanside Blvd G, Oceanside, CA 92056
The Cooler Tap and Tasting Room
4470 CA-78, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
Mr. Manitas Taco Bar and Fruteria
4470 Highway 78, Julian, CA 92036
Jeremy's on the Hill
4354 CA-78, Julian, CA 92036