Recently during a business trip to Santa Monica, I reading an article in Los Angeles Magazine entitled “WEEKEND GETAWAYS 2008,” which focused on a list of ideas for weekend escapes…..one in particular caught my eye, it featured a place in Julian, CA, named the New Artist Loft. The article mentioned Julian as the Apple Pie Capital of California.
Not being a big fan of apple pie, nor any pie for that matter; still the idea of spending a night atop a mountain in a town named Julian might be a little different (I also wondered what happened to the “old” Artist Loft).
I called the phone number and inquired as to whether there was space for two for one evening….the voice at the other end wanted to know if either of us smoked….we said “No,”…and the voice replied there was availability for the night in question. “Are you interested in a reservation?” I said we would think about it and call back.
The following day, we called back and spoke with Nan (whose voice had inquired about smoking). She accepted our credit card and gave us explicit driving directions (I wanted to use my GPS, but Nan suggested I simply follow here directions….they always work).
One of the prior postings in tripadvisor indicated the owners (Nan & Chuck) asked too many questions before accepting a reservation. Personally, I don’t think they probably ask enough questions!
If I owned the three cabins (using the term “cabins” tends to denigrate these accommodations), I would probably require a full background check by the Home Land Security before allowing just anyone to enter this tiny slice of paradise!
btw…their brochure proclaims this to be a Bed and…..”do it yourself Breakfast”……great concept…..they stock the place with more than adequate supplies for a great breakfast and you can fix it the way you want it or not fix it at all! We made the customary stop of Trader Joes on the way out of town and brought along a few extras supplies…..Oh yeah, we included a fine Rodney Strong Cabernet and an equally fine Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay….to fuel our dreams pleasures for the evening.
The refrigerator was well stocked with juices, bottle water, organic brown eggs, a fabulous loaf of locally baked apple bread as well as basic spices and even some fresh basil from the prior guests. Coffee beans (both decaf and high octane) and a grinder are set in place by the coffee maker.
The cabinets are fully stocked with a wide array of cooking utensils, plates, bowls and assorted dishes, as well as knives and flatware. So if you want to stop along the way or make a run into town and shop or just bring your own supplies along….there is no real reason to drive to a restaurant for dinner, if you care to cook.
Although there are some excellent restaurants within short driving distance, we decided to stay in for the evening. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fire up the 1952 O'Keefe and Merritt gas range with griddle and "grillovator"(similar to a stove my grandmother owned), and whip up some snacks for grazing.
We telephoned Chuck and Nan and invited them up for a wine tasting and some freshly prepared finger food…..Nan said she was tired and needed a shower after working outside all day……….but she would think about cleaning up and possibly making up a bowl of her award winning guacamole! Sounded like a plan was coming together….
There is no television at the New Artists’ Loft….perfect. We were totally honored and entertained by Chuck and Nan agreeing to visit with us and providing some history on the place….after a glass or two of wine, they even discussed some details of the terrible wild fire which devastated the community in July 2002 (including the original Artists’ Loft).
The evening passed all too quickly, the food and wine vanished as the conversation was most entertaining. Shortly after midnight, Chuck and Nan were headed out the front door and back down to their place.....after all, they had put in a full day of back breaking labor before we arrived and there was still more working to do in the morning.
It was a beautiful cool, clear and star filled night on the mountain……Chuck pointed to some lights in the distance and told us it was Tecate, Mexico (wonder if the cerveza night crew was busy).
Then we pointed skyward and identified the Big Dipper….Chuck, a self professed astronomer, immediately clarified we were in fact looking at Ursa Major and if we looked just a bit above the “dipper cup” we could see Ursa Minor (looked like the Little Dipper to us). Chuck suggested we come back again on another clear night and he would take us to a friend’s home who was a serious astronomer with an impressive telescope and would arrange a “night with the stars” for us.
As a rule, we don’t usually do repeat visits to most destinations, we tend to move on in search of something new and different……Chuck, Nan the town of Julian and the New Artist’ Loft will likely cause us to make an exception to this rule.
If your travels take you in the general area and you need some time to “disconnect” from the stress of everyday life….see if you can spend a night or two or maybe even a week at the New Artist Loft!
- Also Known As:
- Artists` Loft b&b - Big Cat Cabin, Strawberry Hill Cabin
- Artists` Loft Bed And Breakfast - Big Cat Cabin, Strawberry Hill Cabin Hotel