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Before you leave, you must try Julian's apple pies. You'll need to sample them all to judge whether the best pies come from Mom's Pie House, 2119 Main St. (tel. 760/765-2472; www.momspiesjulian.com); the Julian Pie Company, 2225 Main St. (tel. 760/765-2449; www.julianpie.com); Apple Alley Bakery, a nook on Main Street between Washington and B streets (tel. 760/765-2532); or the Julian Café & Bakery, 2112 Main St. (tel. 760/765-2712).

The special attraction at Mom's Pies is a sidewalk plate-glass window through which you can observe the mom-on-duty rolling crust, filling pies, and crimping edges. The shop routinely bakes several varieties of apple pie and will, with advance notice, whip up apple-rhubarb, peach-apple crumb, or any one of a number of specialties. There's a country cafe in the store serving soups and sandwiches (11am-3pm), as well as confections such as fudge and saltwater taffy. Mom's is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, 8am to 7pm on weekends.

The Julian Pie Company's blue-and-white cottage boasts a small front patio with umbrella tables, a no-frills indoor parlor, and a large patio deck in back where overhanging apples are literally up for grabs. The shop serves original-style, Dutch, apple-mountain berry, and no-sugar-added pies as well as walnut-apple muffins and cinnamon cookies made from pie-crust dough. Light lunches of soup and sandwiches are offered weekdays from 11am to 2pm; it's open daily from 9am to 5pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.