Julian sees more summer visitors as economy slowly reopens


JULIAN, Calif. — The pandemic put a big emphasis on staying home as much as possible, but as parts of our economy have slowly reopened, people are looking for a change of scenery.

Many flock to San Diego’s beaches, but others look for the quiet of the mountains in the small town of Julian. The town relies heavily on tourism, but this year visitors didn’t wait for apple season or for the snow to fall. It seems they were looking for anywhere that was open for that summer escape.

“Once things started opening back up, the tourists definitely did come back up here,” said Amanda Smith, manager at Julian Lodge Bed and Breakfast.

Smith says the town was not immune to the effects of the pandemic, with business in the hospitality industry plummeting in April. Now things seem to be bouncing back, even if they are a little different.

“Lots of guests that have been so thankful that we’re open just to get away. The quarantine has really affected the home life of people. They really need to get out of their four walls,” Smith said.

Hotels have limited capacity, but lately have had no problem filling what rooms they do have. Of course, it’s not a trip to Julian without the pie.

“When it comes to June, it’s usually very quiet because it’s summer, they go to the beach but now everyone’s finally able to get out of the house and so they’re all coming here,” said Hannah Hernandez, who works at Apple Alley Bakery.

The streets aren’t overly crowded and there’s a mix of businesses that remain closed and those that are doing all they can to continue to welcome visitors looking for a change of scenery to fill their summer days.

“They’re very happy to know that we are open and have somewhere they can sit down and enjoy the Julian time because the fresh air is always wonderful,” Hernandez said.

The city of Julian is one of the absolute lowest on the county’s website tracking COVID-19 data, reporting only four positive cases out of more than 20,000 county-wide.

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