Murphys' Main Street has been beautifully preserved and still features many of the original stone and iron buildings which were built around 1850. Murphys lies in the heart of the Sierra Foothills wine region, where there are over 20 wonderful wineries. Most of the wineries have tasting rooms on Main Street, where you will also find wonderful restaurants, gourmet food stores, boutiques and galleries.
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The Mercer Caverns were discovered in 1885 by gold prospector Walter J. Mercer and were opened to the public later that year. The series of caves are enormous, stretching over three thousand feet into the surrounding limestone and reaching a depth of 192 feet. If you would like to see the beautiful interiors of the cave system you can join a guided tour – tours last around 45 minutes and are offered every half an hour. You will need to be reasonably fit to complete the tour as there are over 200 steps to climb each way, the equivalent of climbing 16 flights of stairs. (There is no elevator). However, there are many stops along the way where you can take a breather. Remember to bring your camera – flash photography is allowed in the caves.
Mercer Caverns, 1665 Sheep Ranch Rd, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-2101
2.Murphys Old Timers Museum
© Murphys Old Timers Museum
Murphys old General Merchandise store was built back in 1856 and managed to survive five major fires that destroyed many less-robust buildings. Saved from demolition in 1949, the store was restored to its former glory and is now home to Murphys Old Timers Museum. You can take a nostalgic trip back in time when you visit the museum, where nearly all the exhibits have been donated by local Murphys families. The museum’s collection includes many artifacts from the Gold Rush as well as documents, photos and period clothing which tell the story of Murphys pioneer Irish immigrants. You can visit the museum between 1pm and 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (and Monday holidays).
Murphys Old Timer Museum, 470 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-1160
3.Art on Main
© Art on Main
While you are in Murphys you should not miss the chance to pop into Art on Main to see what the arty and creative people of the Calaveras Country are exhibiting. The gallery opened in 2012 and is dedicated to showcasing the work of local artists, many of whom work at the gallery and are on hand to answer your questions. You will find a fine collection of original art works as well as fine art reproductions for sale. All techniques are on display including pastels, water-colors, acrylics and oils as well as jewelry, glass art, textiles and sculptures. You can visit the gallery between 11am and 5pm every day of the week.
Art on Main, 466B Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-1888
© Alchemy Café
You are invited to come and rub shoulders with Foothills winemakers and food lovers at one of Murphys most popular eateries located on Main Street Murphys. The inviting café is dominated by a beautiful old bar (where you can sample a large selection of beers on tap) and offers a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere. The food style could be described as American Gastro Pub and features an extensive and eclectic menu of farm-fresh foods which have been carefully selected to compliment the amazing wines of the region. You will find perennial favorites like Caesar Salad and Crab Cakes alongside hearty Braised Short Ribs, Roast Pork Belly and their signature Alchemy Meatloaf. Be sure to leave some space for one of their delicious desserts.
Alchemy Café, 191 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-0700
© Ironstone Vineyards
From humble beginnings as a crop farmer, John Kautz decided to plant his first grape vines on a small 12-acre plot in 1948, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now a fourth-generation business, Ironstone Vineyards produces award-winning wines under several labels which are sold all over the US and 50 other countries worldwide. After tasting a selection of their wines at the Tasting Room you will be able to join a complimentary tour of the wine caverns, amphitheatre, museum and other estate facilities. The estate Deli serves delicious lunches or picnics which you can enjoy in the beautiful gardens. The estate hosts regular events and the Music Room is available for hire for weddings or special occasions.
Ironstone Vineyards, 1894 6 Mile Rd, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-1251
© Hovey Winery
Located in the historic 1850 Albert Michelson House on Murphys tree-lined Main Street, the Hovey Winery Tasting Room is a must-visit attraction on your Murphys itinerary. Hovey Winery founder Chuck Hovey has been producing wines in the Sierra foothills since 1983 and in the last two decades his distinctive style and innovative spirit has earned him over 500 medals at major wine competitions. When you visit the Tasting Room you are invited to try a few of their tasting flights or order wines of your choice by the glass to enjoy in the tasting room, outside on the patio or at picnic tables on the lawn.
Hovey Winery, 350A Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-9999
© Hatcher Winery
The vineyards which provide the noble grapes which go into making Hatcher Wines can be found in the Sierra Foothills, where they enjoy near-perfect vine-growing conditions. Owner and wine maker Matthew Hatcher’s innovative wine-making skills are responsible for putting Hatcher Winery on the map and it would be a shame to leave Murphys without tasting some of his wines. The winery produces a consistently good range of both whites and reds, including Zinfandel, Berbera, Malbec, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Voignier, as well as some delicious dessert wines. The Tasting Room is located right in the heart of Murphys and is open seven days a week.
Hatcher Winery, 4667 French Gulch Rd, Suite C, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-605-7111
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8.Lavender Ridge Vineyard and Winery
© Lavender Ridge Vineyard and Winery
Certified organic by CCOF since 2005, Lavender Ridge Vineyard and Winery produces a fine range of hand-crafted small-batch wines in the Sierra Foothills. Taking full advantage of their location, which is very similar to the Southern Rhone region of France, Lavender Ridge specializes in Rhone varietals Roussanne, Voignier, Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. You do not even have to leave town to taste their distinctive wines – their Tasting Room and gourmet artisan market is located in the heart of Murphys and offers not only wine tastings but wine and cheese pairings, gourmet artisan foods, delightful lavender pamper products and much more. Open seven days a week.
Lavender Ridge Vineyard and Winery, 425A Main Street, Murphys, CA 92547, Phone: 209-728-2441
© Stevenot Winery
Few visitors realize that wine has been produced in the Sierra Foothills since the Gold Rush days of the mid 1800’s, when immigrant miners planted vines and produced wines to satisfy local demand. After the prohibition, a fifth generation Stevenot family member established Stevenot Winery in 1970 and began one of the pioneer wine producers in the area. The winery is now owned and operated by the Oliveto family who welcome visitors to their relaxed tasting room in the heart of downtown Murphys. Here you can soak up the Murphys atmosphere, enjoy a glass or a tasting flight of Stevenot wines (under the guidance of one of their wine ambassadors) and join their wine club.
Stevenot Winery Tasting Room, 458 Main Street #3, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-3485
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10.Murphys Community Club and Park
© Murphys Community Club and Park
Murphy’s Community Park is located in the heart of Murphys where it provides an ideal outdoor location for community events, summer concerts, weddings and picnics. You are welcome to visit the park all year round, but it is officially maintained and open for business during the summer months from April to October. You can get your day off to a great start by taking a run around the park or visit during the day to let the children enjoy the great children’s play ground. You can bring along a picnic to enjoy under the shady trees – picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are also Bocce Courts and free concerts and events are held year round.
Murphys Community Club and Park, 505 Algiers Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-8183
© Milliaire Winery
Milliaire Winery is the oldest family-owned winery in Murphys and is proud to continue the legacy of their first fine Zinfandels which were released in 1983. The winery started off in owners Liz and Steve Millier’s basement before moving to the current location of their tasting room, the old Flying A gas station on Murphys tree-lined Main Street. As a result of Steve’s viticulture and enology talents, the winery has gone from strength to strength and now produces a large range of varietals and blends from grapes grown in the Sierra Foothills. Although the winery has moved to larger premises out of town, you can visit their Tasting Room on Main Street to enjoy a simple wine tasting or one of their regular wine events.
Milliaire Winery, 276 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-1658
12.Val du Vino Winery
© Val du Vino Winery
You will find the Val du Vino Winery tucked away in a quiet shady corner at the west end of Main Street. The winery and tasting room are situated in an historic wooded barn which dates back to the 1920’s and oozes charm and atmosphere. Val du Vino is the only working winery in Murphys which makes it really special – you will be tasting wines made from grapes grown right next door. You can taste a range of innovative and delicious wines and all your favorite varietals are represented. Current vintages available to purchase include their 2016 Voignier, a 2014 Syrah and their rich and plumy 2015 Zinfandel.
Val du Vino, 634 French Gulch Rd, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-9911
13.Murphys Creek Theater
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Murphys Creek Theater Company was founded in 1994 and was responsible for producing the very popular “Theater under the Stars” outdoor theater festival held each summer on the Stevenot Estate. The good news is that they now have a permanent year-round home at the Black Bart Theater in Downtown Murphys where you can enjoy watching one of their plays come rain or shine. The company produces a new play almost every month and most of the plays run for about three weeks. You can expect the calendar to include popular theater genres like murder mysteries with fiendish plots, family comedies and thrillers.
Murphys Creek Theater, 580 S. Algiers Street, Downtown Murphy, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-8422
© Tanner Vineyards
The Tanner family has been farming in the Sierra Foothills since the Gold Rush days of the 1800’s and currently produce premium small-batch wines from their 32-acre Vallecito vineyard just outside Murphys. To ensure the best possible grape quality the Tanners carefully tend their vineyards to ensure maximum sun exposure and no over-cropping. The low-yield vines produce premium grapes which are carefully hand-picked. The Tanners showcase their delicious wines at their Tasting Room in Murphys tree-lined Main Street where you are always welcome to pop in for a tasting. If you would like to sample some of their special vintages you can book a private tasting accompanied by cheese, bread and olive oil.
Tanner Vineyards Tasting Room, 435 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-8229
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Chatom Vineyards have been producing great grapes and exceptional wines for nearly thirty years. The vineyards are situated in the heart of the Esmeralda Valley in the foothills of the Sierras where the diverse soils and the warm days, coupled with cool evenings, provide the ideal conditions to grow premium wines. You can taste some of their wines and enjoy a great outdoor picnic at their state-of-the-art Tasting Room and gardens, located just outside Murphys. The tasting room is open seven days a week and hosts complimentary wine tastings and the opportunity to join their Wine Club, which offers great member discounts.
Chatom Winery, 1969 Highway 4, Douglas Flat, CA 95229, Phone: 209-836-6500
16.Frog’s Tooth Vineyards
© Frog’s Tooth Vineyards
Frog’s Tooth Vineyards are located in Copperopolis in the heart of the Sierra Foothills, and have been producing premium wine grapes since around 1999. Frog’s Tooth produces artisanal small-batch wines mainly from their vineyard and sometimes buy-in grapes from like-minded vineyards in the Foothills to compliment their range. In 2007 the vineyard opened their Tasting Room in Main Street Murphys, where visitors are always welcome to come and taste some of their innovative and delicious wines. If you join their wine club you can enjoy complimentary tastings, members-only releases, food and wine pairing and discounts on your wine purchases. The Tasting Room is open every day of the week from 12 noon.
Frog’s Tooth Vineyard Tasting Room, 380 Main Street, Suite 5, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-2700
17.Vina Moda Winery
© Vina Moda Winery
Boutique winery Vina Moda is another of California’s premium wineries located in the Sierra Foothills near Murphys. Attention to detail is vital to producing premium wine grapes and the team at Vina Moda believes in a very hands-on artisanal approach to wine production, which relies on hand picking and hand sorting to choose only the finest grapes available. The estate offers budding vintners the opportunity to take part in the crush and bottling processes as part of their Vocational Vacation program. If you would like to taste some of the valley’s best hand-made wines you are invited to visit their Tasting Room on Main Street Murphys. Vineyard barrel-tastings and other special events are available to members of their Wine Club.
Vina Moda Winery Tasting Room, 147 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-743-6226
18.Horse and Barrel
© Horse and Barrel
Murphys owes much of its reputation as one of the best small towns in the U.S. to its admirable location in the beautiful Sierra Foothills, which offers visitors a beautiful landscape to explore. If you would like to explore a little off the beaten track then Horse and Barrel Vineyard Trail Rides at the Red Apple Ranch could be exactly what you are looking for. The company offers three separate horse-back trails, each of which offers a different experience in a different area combined with a cavern tour, wine tasting or winery tour. The rides are suitable for most ages and are great for families.
Horse and Barrel Trail Rides, 2000 Nickerson Lane, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-9333
19.Black Sheep Winery
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Black Sheep Winery believes it is a little different from the rest of the Sierra Foothills wineries, hence their unusual name. Once your taste their big, bold Zinfandels and other Rhone varietals you will understand why the name is so fitting. Black Sheep Winery has been in production since 1984, when their first Amador Zinfandel made waves in the Foothills, and they continue to produce limited quantities of their distinctive premium wines. You can visit their tasting room in the historic yellow house on Main Street Murphys where you can try some of their new releases. Red wine enthusiasts should consider joining their Wine Club which offers discounted wine prices and access to limited releases.
Black Sheep Winery, 221 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-2157
20.Villa Vallecito Vineyards
© Villa Vallecito Vineyards
The Villa Vallecito Vineyards enjoy what is arguably one of the most scenic locations in the entire Sierra Foothills, overlooking the New Mellones Reservoir. The location is great for people but even greater for vineyards and offers near-perfect wine cultivating conditions. The vineyard places an emphasis on artisanal and sustainable farming practices and all grapes are hand-sorted to ensure only the best berries find their way into your wine. You can visit their tasting room in Main Street Murphys to taste their latest releases, book a tour of the beautiful vineyards or, better yet, book into their idyllic self-catering cottage overlooking the lake for an immersive Sierra Foothills wine experience.
Villa Vallecito Vineyards (Tasting Room), 263 Main Street, Suite C, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-890-3157
21.Local Roots Food Tours
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Local Roots Food Tours offer one of the best ways to find all be best eateries in Murphys. As you make your way through the historic Gold Rush town on foot you will not only get to taste wonderful food but you will also learn a lot about the history of the town. Your Local Roots Food Tour will take you to between eight or nine foodie delights including bakeries, wineries, restaurants, gourmet food stores and much more. Tours last for around three and a half hours and you will probably walk around a mile, with many tasting stops along the way.
Local Roots Food Tours, 505 Algiers St, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 800-407-8918
22.Indian Rock Vineyards
© Indian Rock Vineyards
Indian Rock Vineyards proudly produce wines made from grapes grown on their own estate, where each and every varietal is carefully matched to its ideal Terroir, resulting in fruit of outstanding quality and character. The vineyard harvests 18 different varietals each year and produces 23 brilliant wines which you are invited to come and sample at their tasting room. The historic tasting room overlooks a beautiful spring-fed lake (children can enjoy feeding the trout while you sip your wine). You are welcome to bring along a picnic to enjoy in the grounds from Thursday to Sunday from 12.00 to 5.00. Members and wine-purchasing visitors can enjoy a complimentary barbecue on Saturdays (weather permitting).
Indian Rock Vineyards, 1154 Pennsylvania Gulch Rd, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-8514
© Grounds Restaurant
As the name suggests, Grounds Restaurant started off as a coffee and sandwich bar in Murphys historic Downtown in 1992. Due to its popularity, Grounds soon blossomed into a full service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner and a full bar menu. Owner River Klass honed his cookery skills in Paris, where he trained at several top restaurants before bringing his talents to Murphys. Grounds is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch and serves dinner from Wednesday to Sunday. You can find a good variety of your favorite breakfast and lunch dishes on the menu and at dinner time you can choose from several delicious house specialties as well as grills and wholesome side dishes.
Grounds Restaurant, 402 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-8663
24.JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream
© JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream
There is nothing better than enjoying a delicious home-made ice cream on a hot summer’s day and in Murphys, JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream is the place to head for. Each of their 20 delicious ice-creams are still hand-made in small batches at their factory in near-by Hathaway Pines by owners Don and JoAnn Stump, using the best and freshest ingredients they can source. Some of the delicious flavors you can look forward to trying include their Caramel Crunch, Chocolate Fudge Chip and Mocha Almond Fudge. Those who prefer a lighter sorbet can choose from raspberry, pineapple/coconut and mango, saffron and rose.
JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream, 386 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 209-728-8655
25.Murphys Hotel Restaurant
© Murphys Hotel Restaurant
No visit to Murphys would be complete without enjoying at least one dinner in the Murphys Historic Hotel Restaurant. The hotel offers a nostalgic trip back in time to the famous Gold Rush of the 1800’s, and the elegant restaurant is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere while enjoying a varied menu of delicious fine-dining treats. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner at the restaurant which is open seven days a week and offers alfresco dining on the patio when the weather permits. The breakfast and lunch menus feature all the traditional favorites, but it is the dinner menu which is most tempting. You can select from a wide choice of starters, soups, salads, entrees, house specialties and steaks.
Murphys Historic Hotel Restaurant, 457 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247, Phone: 800-532-7684
25 Best Things to Do in Murphys, California
- Mercer Caverns, Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Jane - Fotolia.com
- Murphys Old Timers Museum, Photo: Murphys Old Timers Museum
- Art on Main, Photo: Art on Main
- Alchemy Cafe, Photo: Alchemy Café
- Ironstone Vineyards, Photo: Ironstone Vineyards
- Hovey Winery, Photo: Hovey Winery
- Hatcher Winery, Photo: Hatcher Winery
- Lavender Ridge Vineyard and Winery, Photo: Lavender Ridge Vineyard and Winery
- Stevenot Winery, Photo: Stevenot Winery
- Murphys Community Club and Park, Photo: Murphys Community Club and Park
- Milliaire Winery, Photo: Milliaire Winery
- Val du Vino Winery, Photo: Val du Vino Winery
- Murphys Creek Theater, Photo: Courtesy of aerogondo - Fotolia.com
- Tanner Vineyards, Photo: Tanner Vineyards
- Chatom Winery, Photo: Courtesy of 5ph - Fotolia.com
- Frog’s Tooth Vineyards, Photo: Frog’s Tooth Vineyards
- Vina Moda Winery, Photo: Vina Moda Winery
- Horse and Barrel, Photo: Horse and Barrel
- Black Sheep Winery, Photo: Courtesy of ilfotokunst - Fotolia.com
- Villa Vallecito Vineyards, Photo: Villa Vallecito Vineyards
- Local Roots Food Tours, Photo: Courtesy of BillionPhotos.com - Fotolia.com
- Indian Rock Vineyards, Photo: Indian Rock Vineyards
- Grounds Restaurant, Photo: Grounds Restaurant
- JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream, Photo: JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream
- Murphys Hotel Restaurant, Photo: Murphys Hotel Restaurant
- Cover Photo: Murphys, CA