How to find Fall in southern California?! Just hop in your car and drive for an hour or 2 heading East and you’ll end up in the mountains.

Cabin by Lake Cuyamaca

It was my husband’s birthday and I decided to spice it up by putting together a very short trip that will give us a taste of fall and a breath of fresh air. We headed to Lake Cuyamaca near Julian where I had made a reservation for a cabin by the lake. I had previously shot a commercial there and had found the place very charming.

The landscape’s colors were so beautiful and the weather a real shock! 38 degrees Fahrenheit (a real difference compared to the 78 degrees in West Hollywood the previous day). We had a blast; hiking, relaxing, being mindful and making home-made meals on our little 2 stoves and using the grill outside the cabin. Creative cooking! And it was delicious!


Matt Sivertson Photography


The little and cute town of Julian is about 15 minutes away from Lake Cuyamaca, we wanted to make sure to get our apple pie; a Julian’s specialty!  As we were strolling the main street in the cloud we saw a sign indicating a Gold Mine Tour and decided to go on an adventure. And it was one for sure!


The tour claims 1000 ft underground hard rock tunnel, authentic tools and machinery of the period, and gold bearing quartz veins.  You see both the Eagle and High Peak Mine (1870) as you walk in one and out the other.  It’s amazing how they dug diagonally through the rock at points.  Dee, our tour guide, showed us how it was in the old days and we went lights out, she lit a candle to show what it would be like during mining days.


The mine was and continues to be family owned.  Matt got me a little souvenir from Eagle’s store: An amethyst jewelry stone! It’s shiny, I love it! Dee told us that a feature film called Beneath the Leaves is currently being filmed in Julian and that they used the mines in the shoot as well. What a neat location to film!


Did you know that the brand Levi’s was also created around 1870’s? Gold miners needed affordable clothes, but the pockets in the pants of the time would often rip with gold nuggets in them. Levi Strauss solved that. Also, The name “denim” derives from French Serge de Nîmes (a region in France). The contemporary use of the word “jeans” comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gênes),[1] where the first denim trousers were made. Denim has been used in the USA since the mid 19th century. It was introduced to California by Levi Strauss, who—in 1853, during the California Gold Rush—imported denim fabric from France and used it to create sturdy, hard-wearing trousers that would later become the ubiquitous blue jeans. Thanks Wikipedia!


Matt Sivertson Photography. P.S: Still laughing about that green hat! YES, it’s mine.

Local Brewery – Cheers!

We needed to dry up (we were literally in the clouds) and decided to stop at Nickel Beer Co., a local Brewery. The wood burning stove was so wonderful and the atmosphere warm there. My husband had a Volcan IPA and a Scorpion King IPA and myself a Pearfect Apple Pie Ale beer! It’s Julian after all! This place used to be a sheriff’s office. Thus, the photo behind the bars – ahah.


One of the many highlights was that my phone had no service (thanks T-Mobile) so it was a sort of intervention for me – ahah!


More info:

Lake Cuyamaca

Things to see & do:


Next time we are looking forward to trying: Jeremy’s On The Hill !

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