Murphys , California – Our Holiday Open House

Unknown Mami has a linky in her blog for Sundays in My City. She’d begun writing about her wonderful city, that I also lived in for many years, San Francisco. She then opened it up to others globally to share their pictures of their cities and towns on her linky every  Sunday so we could all explore. Write and post any day of the week, but link on Sunday.  Have mentioned before, I love my little town. I’ve wanted to get in the habit of highlighting some piece of it every week, but just hadn’t made the time.  It seemed every time I’d think to do it, I was in town with my phone, not my good camera and I just wasn’t getting the shots that do my lovely little town justice.  Well, I’ve decided to put perfection aside and just jump in with what I have,  promising myself I’ll remember to get better photos as time goes on.

Check out my Murphys page that has background information, links for what to do, where to stay and so forth. Murphys also has a Facebook page (as do many of our businesses) where you can find out things like “Don’t miss Paws & Claus at the Masonic Hall this Saturday – Pet photos with Santa from 10 am to 4 pm. Gifts and baked goods for sale, raffle tickets and pet adoption opportunities will be available.” Of course, poor Santa would look like he’d been thrown in a cage with hungry tigers if I tried to put my kitties in carrier, drive them down and have a stranger hold onto them for photos!

Our annual Holiday Open House was Friday night with the local wineries’ Holiday Open Houses continuing through Saturday.  The Friday Open House has a parade with Santa around 6pm. I went to town earlier (our small town post office closes at 4:30, isn’t open weekends and delivery doesn’t extend to my house – I mentioned I’m rural, right?) and again, didn’t bring the good camera. However, I was able to take quite a few photos before things got rolling and packed.  We close off our main, tree lined street for the evening’s activities.  

Guess who I ran into at the Spice Tin?

I swear, when this guy looks you in the eye and says hello, your little brain starts singing “ohhh, I’m going to get my wishes”. It’s as though he’s surrounded by the magical  aura of belief of all the local children and he just exudes that happiness and magic spirit. I caught him pre-parade (small town so the highlight of the parade other than Mr & Mrs Santa is all the kiddies on decorated bikes and wagons that follow him down the street).  

The Spice Tin (perhaps with the Harbinger gallery across the way) had out three firepits with seating so you could pause with some hot cocoa and warm up while listening to live Christmas music. Inside they were offering small plates so you could sample sauces on vaious kinds of pasta and a spinach salad. They also had some lovely dips. I frequent their shop for their fantastic selection of fresh spices, salts and so much more. All you foodies out there should definitely give their web site a peek. You can see townies and tourists alike get in the swing as about every other group has folks wearing Santa Hats. There are more pictures of the band, singing and shop on the night of the open house on the Spice Tin’s Facebook album of the event.


Murphys is a bit of a foodie Mecca. Not only are there fabulous wines to sample and buy, Lavender Ridge (left below) tastes locally made artisan cheeses with their organic wines and olive oils and we are home to the Marisolio Tasting Bar (right below) for olive oil and balsamic (and champagne) vinegars. Check out the vinegar/oil parings on their website.


Milliare Winery is our oldest family owned winery (I believe in Calaveras County). They’re an always upbeat bunch with lots of laughing at the tasting bar. A few of my friends prefer their port above all others in town. I’m including 2 posed shots as Jana was goofing about and liked that shot best (and being a Milliare, she’s in charge J ) while my neighbor Terry (who generously keeps me supplied with marvelous eggs from her chickens, so I certainly want to see her happy) liked the other shot. Photos Rachel, Terry, Jana and Wendy.


Milliare at night

If I don’t stop in and say hi to our effervescent Jill at Sierra Nevada Adventure Company  (known to locals as SNAC) I would never hear that our local bear has been up on her porch or had her cubs chased up a tree by a neighbor’s dog (actually, we do tend to send an email about to let our cluster of folks know when our bear is prowling the area again, but I just like to say hi). Jill and her hubby Sean used to regularly hike to the top of the hill we live on and when I’d first moved in, they reached out and invited me to join them. They’re really sweet folks and have a fabulous store. That hike is now a favorite of some of my bay area friends. Which reminds me – I have to put those hiking poles they carry on my Christmas wishlist. You can keep up to date with SNAC by liking their Facebook page. Photo Elena, Jill, and Suki

Barbara at Creative Cookware (mentioned in my Women Giving Back post as the place to go for most things kitchen) is another stop I can’t miss when I go through town. I rarely leave empty handed. She has so many wonderful things there and she’s knowledgeable about every item she carries.


Remember, foodie Mecca? Well, in addition to our FABULOUS restaurants, we have the best bakery in Aria. Friends an hour away mentioned the bakery as a must go to when I first moved here “when we go t Murphys we always stop at Aria”. I have to say their piecrust is truly the best I’ve ever had – and that’s saying a lot!  Aria always has a wonderful selection of breads and focaccia that I stop for quite a bit. Do have to ration myself on indulging in their sweets. In celebration of the Open House, I did nab one of the lovely mini cupcakes they were offering – the cake was perfectly moist and the frosting rich and chocolatey. I’m trying without success to wipe it from my memory so I can stick to my guns and not end up looking like that pufferfish I mention a few posts down.

This post is only a minor introduction to my lovely town, I have many favorites not yet touched on. But, I have to save something for next week’s Sundays in my city, right? Don’t forget, if you’re interested in sewing, food and crafts posts (plus more on charming little Murphys) just subscribe to  for email, Facebook, Twitter or RSS feed notifications.

This post is participating in the linky parties noted below.

10 comments on “Murphys , California – Our Holiday Open House

  1. BLOGitse says:

    What a tasty post.
    Greetings from the REAL Santa’s home country – Finland! 🙂 He lives in Korvatunturi…

  2. Cinella says:

    Wow!! Looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing,

  3. What a lovely town. It looks like such a warm and loving place to live.

  4. Tara R. says:

    Your town open house looks so festive, and a great way to start the Christmas season.

  5. You have a lovely and charming town all dressed up for the holidays! Your Santa friend is pretty awesome too!
    Thanks for the fab tour. Happy SIMC, jj

  6. Wow! You really do have a cute town! Thanks so much for showing us a little of your life!

  7. Kristin says:

    It’s a pleasure when your rural area has food and fun all wrapped up into a little package! I’ve been to rural places where the best place to eat was 100 miles away. I’m so glad you joined in SIMC even though not everything was perfect 🙂 You sound like you love your town and your enthusiasm shows it!

    Kristin _ The Goat

  8. Unknown Mami says:

    Oh, I’m so happy you shared with us! I don’t need to look at perfect pictures, I need to look at lovely places like this.

    I swear I was mesmerized by that “Santa”.

  9. Wow…everything needed for holiday spirit is in this post! And that Santa is great. He really does exude “the look,” doesn’t he? Thanks for linking to my party. Hope to see you each week.

    Please be sure to come by and enter my fantastic year-end giveaway. Click the picture in my sidebar for details.

    Blessings and a very Merry Christmas!
    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  10. Stumbled across your page this morning looking for news about Murphys. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, and I haven’t been there since 2001. I see all sorts of fabulous changes there, and you have inspired me to make plans soon.

    Just thought you might like to know that “draiocht” also refers to oaks and Druids. Makes sense when speaking of enchantments.

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