Like San Francisco in the mid-1800s, Murphys was one of California’s richest boom towns, but this appealing town in Calaveras County still feels closer to Mark Twain’s famous jumping frogs (celebrated yearly in neighbouring Angels Camp) than Michelin stars and über-prestigious wine tasting excursions. Located roughly halfway between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, this Mother Lode town still has a richly historic look, with handsome stone-walled buildings dating back to the mid-19th century and white picket fences surrounding colourful flower gardens. Guided walking tours are conducted every Saturday at 10am, starting in front of the Old Timers Museum on Main Street.
Yet with all these nods to history, it’s not hard to see that times have definitely changed since John and Daniel Murphy established a trading post and gold mining operation here. Stroll down Main Street to visit tasting rooms and restaurants featuring vintages from the more than two-dozen family-owned and operated wineries in the region. Sip an espresso and baked-that-morning croissants at Aria Bakery, and look for artisan crafts at the farmers’ market (Thursdays in summer). Visit the sprawling Ironstone Vineyards to sip wines, catch an outdoor concert with big-name stars like Sheryl Crow, check out gold-mining paraphernalia and period photographs at the winery’s surprising museum, then relax at sophisticated V Restaurant, Bar & Bistro.
Bumping up against the west side of the Sierra Nevada Range, on California’s eastern side, the Sierra foothills that make up the Gold Country are California classics.
Discovery of gold in 1848 sparked the largest mass migration in U.S. history, with more than 300,000 pioneers heading west.
Here, the state’s past, present and future merge into one unforgettable destination. Pan for gold like a pioneer, bike through meadow and oak countryside and raft a rapid filled river, then explore historic towns with Old West architecture and a new generation of pioneers, opening up outstanding wineries, farm to table restaurants, inviting shops and charming B&Bs.
Pluck a bit of gold from a riverbed scoured by the original ’49ers. Descend deep into the earth to check out unusual rock formations. Get your heart racing with a ride down whitewater rapids. For...
Elegant estates at the end of country roads lined with vineyards? Check. Low-key wineries housed in converted barns? Check again. Urban wine trails with hip in-town tasting rooms? Yup,...