Channel 10 News, San Diego featured The Enchanted Lookout in their news story of great things to do in San Diego! (Non-Traditional Valentine's Day Ideas - (URL HIDDEN) KGTV ABC10 ...
We spent over a year lovingly renovating and remodeling this vintage fire lookout cabin into a luxury vacation rental.
The two bedroom, one bath cabin is just over a mile from the historic town of Julian, yet it’s a private sanctuary with panoramic forest and Volcan Mountain Preserve views.
THE STORY OF OUR CABIN
The Julian Chamber of Commerce describes the town like this: “Julian, a state Historical District, is a former gold mining village nestled in the mountain forest. Julian is San Diego County’s year-round romantic retreat.”
My children and I moved to San Diego five years ago, and one day my young daughter Samantha and I visited Julian. We were enamored by a sense of stepping back in time, and by the pristine beauty of the surrounding mountains and forests.
We stopped by the Chamber of Commerce, and noticed a tourism review of Julian written in 1870. Mary Morse, a schoolteacher from New England had arrived by horse and buggy and wrote:
“After passing a ravine and ascending a sharp and rocky hill, the city of Julian in all its glory burst upon us. The sun was just setting and shown with that golden light so peculiar to California. I could have shouted with joy at the very sight. The pines and oaks were a magic green and every cabin and shanty nestled amongst them had a strangely enchanted look.”
Samantha and I could not have described how we felt about Julian better, though nearly a century and a half had passed since those words were written. Later that day as we strolled past picturesque historic buildings and then down a quaint lane, my daughter turned to me and said, “Mom, will you always keep a cottage in Julian?”
After three years of searching, we finally found the right property. It's situated in a quiet forested neighborhood just over a mile from town. It sits at the end of a long drive on its own hillside facing Volcan Mountain. It's surrounded by by old-growth pine, manzanita and several types of oak, so it has a wonderful sense of solitude and privacy. Historically built as a lookout site for volunteer firemen, the cabin overlooks a breathtaking vista of forests and mountains.
The cabin itself was in sad shape, but still captured incredible charm and quality with its high-beamed knotty pine ceiling and picture windows in every room.
It took a full year of hard work extensively renovating and remodeling, including adding a new energy efficient roof 50-year roof, rain gutters, foundation work, beautiful new decks, gutting and total renovation inside, but the end result was worth all the effort.
Every time we return to our cabin, we are comforted once again by a feeling of traveling back in time to a simpler era. The songs of mountain birds and breezes rippling through majestic trees fill our ears. The beauty of forest and Volcan Mountain amaze us. It seemed natural to name our cottage “The Enchanted Lookout."
THE ENCHANTED LOOKOUT:
We recreated the home so that it looks like the historic home it is, yet contains every modern comfort and convenience.
Our two-bedroom one bath 600 square foot cabin feels larger than it is because of high ceilings, large picture windows and expansive views.
WE DESIGNED THE SPACE TO BE SAFE FOR THOSE WITH ALLERGIES OR CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES:
The new highest quality forced air heat and cooling system contains a whole house air purification system with HEPA filtration for the cleanest possible air. It also uses the newest chlorine-free R-410A refrigerant system that is ozone-friendly and non-toxic.
Likewise, our four-person Hot Springs Spa uses a mechanical ozonator, silver Ion canisters and others non-toxic water purification systems rather than harsh chlorine or bromine.
We installed new 3/4 inch thick solid oak flooring so dust mites or other allergens found in carpet will not irritate our guests.
HIGH-END APPLIANCES AND OTHER DETAILS:
1. A new Samsung range and convection oven with hood and counter-top microwave
2. A Bosch dishwasher makes doing dishes easy.
3. A retro red designer SMEG refrigerator
4. The kitchen is well-equipped with new cooking ware, blender, crock pot, electric tea pot and coffee maker. You’ll also find some rare antique utensils. Basic condiments, spices and coffee are included. Each group also receives a little gift of wine and chocolate (red or white, dark or milk chocolate).
4. A Jotul Norwegian wood burning stove decorates the living room if one wants to watch the flames dance and reflect off our new 3/4 ” solid oak floors, or push a button for forced air cooling/heat. Please enjoy our collection of vintage records!
5. A new apple-red LG brand stack-able washer and dryer is concealed behind sliding doors for in-house laundry convenience.
6. A gorgeous slipper style porcelain tub looks like an antique but it’s brand new and includes a convertible tub/standing shower feature.
7. High-end mattresses and luxurious bedding invite sweet dreams.
We have a California King pillow top mattress in one bedroom, and a full-sized memory foam mattress in the the second bedroom. Both mattresses have natural organic latex toppers for protection from allergens. Also all pillows use allergen blocking covers.
Sometimes people want to bring up to six people, so in the living room we added a beautiful leather sofa that pulls out to a queen bed with an upgraded jell memory-foam mattress.
8. A luscious five person Hot Springs Spa and sleek Saber grill wait to be savored on one of our large decks overlooking exquisite forest and mountain scenery.
9. High speed internet lets us stay connected, and wall-mounted flat screen televisions in both both bedrooms provide Dish Network with HBO, On Demand, and Showtime.
10. Last but not least, we filled the now beautiful space with art, classic books and antiques, many of which we had discovered and restored ourselves.
There is a $12 charge for each guest over two people. The maximum capacity for the cabin is six people.
A LITTLE HISTORY AND THE THE LAND:
Julian was founded in 1869 when a local rancher and former slave named Fred Coleman discovered gold. For thousands of years before that, the Volcan mountains, the area that is now Julian, and portions of the desert below were heavily populated by Native Americans, and evidence of their occupation is everywhere.
On hikes in the Volcan Mountains we have seen ancient and massive oaks sheltering boulders pitted all over the surface with myriad large mortars (bowl shaped holes in the stone once used by Native Americans to grind acorns and other seeds into meal).
The cabin overlooks the dividing line of where the high forest becomes the high desert. It’s almost a straight line down the face of Pechacho Peak (The highest peak in the Volcan Mountains)… to the left is forest, to the right is desert. Views from The Enchanted Lookout are of forest and mountain, but walk up the road a block and you'll see a fantastic view of the Anza Borrego Desert.
As a former student of Anthropology and Archaeology at UCLA, I was fascinated by what this geographic layout represents:
Indigenous people all over the world considered geographic boundary areas, where different elements met, (freshwater/saltwater, mountain/desert, etc.,) to be powerful places of healing, transformation and restoration. They were thought to be important places to make decisions or guide life choices, and Native American vision quests were often held in such places.
To get to the cabin, guests would take a short and well-maintained private road into an enclave of four houses that were all built historically as fire lookouts. The Enchanted Lookout is at the end of its own private drive, leading to a wonderfully secluded property.
The private drive is located off a shared upper parking area, though guests should park in drive and back in or out. If guests feel uncomfortable backing in or out of drive, they are welcome to park on Volcan View Drive above the house.
Guests are welcome to browse our beautiful woodland, and enjoy our decks.
I am happily available to speak to guests about any of their comments, questions or concerns. If there are any needs, I hope to address them immediately! I also have two wonderful property managers close by, and together, we are available for our guests.
The Enchanted Lookout is in a very quiet neighborhood off a seldom used street, only one and a half miles from town. It sits on its own private hillside overlooking woods and Volcan Mountain. The lot next to the house is only woodland, and on the right side woodland blocks neighbor's house from view; other than a glimpse of their deck. Please note that though the neighborhood is very quiet, occasionally one might hear people's voices or dogs barking.
I enjoy leaving a bottle of wine and chocolate as a little gift for my guests. Please let me know if you enjoy red or white wine, and dark or milk chocolate. If you have children, I'll leave lollipops, if it's okay with parents!
1. The person making reservation must be 25 years of older. If younger, please contact us first.
2. Please no candles in house.
3. No fires anywhere outside the house.
4. Help us keep our beautiful hardwood floors nice. After using spa, please dry off outside before stepping inside the house.
5. Please add two heaping tablespoons of spa oxidizer to spa per day for each person who will be using it. Spa can be used immediately after adding, or anytime after adding that day. The oxidizer is stored behind the spa in a white tub. Thanks so much!
6. We provide firewood two small logs, as well as fire-starters and a lighter. Please bring firewood if additional fires are desired. Please make sure the wood is cured or it will not burn properly. Please do not use wood you might find on the property as it is not cured and causes problems with the wood burning stove.
Hello, my name is Tamara Shure, and I will be your host. I enjoy saving historic homes that otherwise would be lost, and I'm proud to say that some have been subsequently designated California State Historic Landmarks. All of them, including The Enchanted Lookout, were in very poor shape, but I could see the potential. My passion is to save history and create spaces that inspire and nurture people.