I’m blessed to live in a small tourist town. Murphys is set in California’s scenic Sierra foothills, Gold Country. I like my little town and feel compelled to tell you all the reasons you might visit, thereby helping to keep our wonderful family/small business restaurants, shops and outdoor adventure folks afloat. Murphys is also home to many local wineries who offer a robust selection of wine tasting and activities. Our downtown is technically below the snow line, though we’ll see some each year. We’re a popular place to stay for folks skiing at Bear Valley as we’re just a hop, skip and a jump away with great food and more activities. There truly is something for everyone out here.
Murphys has many excellent resources for me to direct you to, here are a few. Each of them also has a Facebook presence, if you prefer to get your happenings that way:
Murphys Business Association keeps our best events calendar. They highlight our three biggest events here. This site also has pages for What to do, Where to Stay, What to eat and more. Every restaurant listed on What to eat will give you great food and service. Since you know a local, I’ll tell you my all time favorite restaurant is Grounds with V’s (listed under places to stay as the restaurant is within the B&B) running a close second. They also offer a nifty 2 page brochure here.
For history buffs, Wikipedia states: “The Murphys Hotel in Murphys, California is one of the oldest hotels still operating in California. Copies of the original register show such signatures as Mark Twain, John Jacob Astor, Ulysses S. Grant, John Bidwell, Charles Bolles (alias Black Bart), Henry Ward Beecher, Horatio Alger, J.P. Morgan and Thomas Lipton”. The hotel will allow you to tour the facility, has a working restaurant and continues to take guests. It’s located in the heart of our scenic little downtown.
Calaveras County Visitors Bureau is also a wealth of information with a top-notch website containing lots of pictures and information on all the fun things to do in this area. Big Trees state park is one of the “must visit” locations.
Calaveras WineGrape Alliance always has something going on in their events listing. The biggest is our annual Grape Stomp celebration. You can also peruse information local vintners and their stories. They used to advertise 25 Tasting rooms and one stoplight, but we’re considering putting in a second so I notice that’s off the new brochures and they now just say 25 tasting rooms. The majority of the wineries have a tasting room in downtown, and many of our inns and B&Bs are walking distance from downtown. No drinking and driving, just leisurely strolling through shops, restaurants and tasting rooms.
Ironstone Amphitheatre offers fantastic outdoor concerts with top names, available through Ticketmaster, over the summer months. I sincerely love these evening concerts, under the stars and highly recommend them. In recent years they’ve hosted Crosby, Stills and Nash, Sheryl Crow, Chris Isaak, George Thoroughgood, B. B. King, Al Greene and Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Sugarland, ZZ Top, and many more. Ironstone also features a calendar of events happening in their beautiful venue throughout the year. They’re a winery with tasting room first, and beautiful gardens you can tour anytime.
Finally, if you are heading out this way, you should reserve some time to explore Columbia State Park (it’s a town not forest setting). Murphys is quaint with many older buildings, Angels Camp (15 to 20 minutes down the road) also has an area that looks like it was pulled from an old west stage set, but by and far the center of Columbia is a State Park because the Gold Rush era town is original. It’s one of those destinations for busloads of school kids – it’s that historic. My favorite places for lunch there are Kate’s Tea House and El Jardin. I never go through without stopping at the Columbia Candle and Soap Works as they always have something that would make a great gift or should be in the arsenal of any respectable crafter. You can take a horse drawn buggy ride around the town or pan for gold (for kids – stocked with bits for them to discover). I get many of my hummingbird feeders at the Farmer’s Friend shop there as well. My first link sends you to their events page (gosh, I just missed the Poison Oak Festival!). Their miscellaneous pictures page gives you a good idea of what you can do there (each building you see houses a shop, antique bowling alley that visitors can play or antique fire vehicles and so forth).
To see my posts about Murphys, click here.