It was such a lovely surprise when friends invited us to join them for a weekend away in Murphys and I needed no further convincing to go when they mentioned that the weather was looking warm and sunny, that the Airbnb we were going to be staying in had a pool and that there were plenty of wineries in the area!
Murphys is a three hour drive northeast of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada foothills and so is really well located for a weekend away, although leaving on a Friday afternoon was not such a great idea as the traffic getting out of the city and along the I580 was pretty awful, but once we hit the SR120 it turned into a lovely drive through orchards, rolling fields and vineyards.
Murphys is the most charming little town which has precisely two streets, from what we could tell from our jog around town on Saturday morning. You get a sense of its history as a gold mining town from some of the original goldrush-era buildings that still stand along Main Street which is also lined with trees, lovely homes with front porches, little shops, restaurants and at least a dozen wine tasting rooms. And then there is Church Street which is where (you guessed it) the church is situated.
Murphys is surrounded by caves, forests and lakes with Stanislaus National Forest, Mercer Caverns, Moaning Cavern in Vallecito, California Cavern at Cave City and New Melones Lake all within a short drive. After a divine breakfast in the sun on Saturday morning, we decided to take advantage of our surroundings and headed to Calaveras Big Trees State Park to see the Giant Sequoias. Unfortunately part of the trail that we wanted to walk was closed and there was an incredibly big, noisy group of visitors on the same trail as us but I’m glad that I got to see the immense trees and get some fresh air.
That afternoon we headed for lunch at Grounds where we sat on the patio in the back under umbrellas and paired burgers with a fantastic bottle of Chardonnay from Ironstone, a local winery (the wine was so good and so well priced that we actually popped into the vineyard the next day to pick up a case for ourselves).
We then decided to try a few wine tastings – picking which of the tasting rooms to visit would have been a serious challenge but luckily two members of our party had been to Murphys before and could recommend the best tasting rooms, so taking their lead we started at Hovey which has a lovely garden in the front where you can sit in the sun while sipping on wine (their Cinsaut was especially divine). Next we headed to Twisted Oak and then Milliaire both of which have patios out back and finally we finished at Locke Vineyards where we shared a bottle of their 2013 Sequoia. All of the tasting rooms that we visited were lovely and offered seriously good wine at very reasonable prices. We could have continued wine tasting all evening but by this time most of the tasting rooms were closing so we headed back to prepare dinner.
After grabbing a quick coffee at the local bakery and espresso bar, Aria, on Sunday morning, we headed back home but having enjoyed our weekend away so much, we promised ourselves that we would plan more weekend trips so let me know if you have any recommendations of where to go for weekend getaways.