Murphys is the culinary and wine center of Calaveras County, all wrapped up in a charming Gold Rush era Main Street reflecting its colorful history and artful present. Boutique shopping, a casual vibe, friendly patrons and fun festivals, complete with a community park straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, all combine to make Murphys a popular destination. But there are also other draws to the town and its surroundings. We’ve listed a few of the top attractions here:
Murphys Attractions: Ironstone Vineyards
Ironstone Vineyards with its Heritage Museum & Jewelry Shoppe, wine caves, tasting room, culinary center, deli and beautifully manicured grounds is a major draw to Murphys and always well worth a visit. Their summer concert series held at the Ironstone Amphitheatre features big name bands and musicians, and attracts thousands every summer. In addition, multiple fun and interesting events are hosted on their grounds throughout the year and many beautiful weddings take place here. Some of our favorite events include Daffodil Days, Concours d’Elegance, Silent Movie Nights and their Independence Day Celebration.
Murphys Attractions: Mercer Caverns
Mercer Caverns was discovered by Walter J Mercer in 1885 and opened for tours in the same year. Located just a short drive out of downtown Murphys, Mercer is one of three caverns open to the public in Calaveras County. 45-minute guided tours take visitors about 160 feet below the surface to see interesting geology, beautiful formations and to learn about the history of the cave. One rare type of formation, aragonite crystal, formed on some of the furthest reaches of the cave, and won the Mercers a special prize at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair.
Murphys Attractions: Two Theater Companies
Founded in 1994, the Murphys Creek Theatre company performs at the Black Bart Playhouse in downtown Murphys. Their annual season usually consists of about six productions and always includes one Shakespeare play. A local institution, the Murphys Creek Theatre has been delighting locals for more than 10 years with engaging and entertaining performances. In addition, their Shakespeare production also serves as an acting class for local school-age children who learn from the adult actors playing the same role in the public performance. This innovative summer class culminates in a live performance by the “Mirror Project” for their families, and then for the public.
Shakespeare on the Vine takes place at our highest elevation vineyard: Brice Station. This gorgeous outdoor setting allows for the enjoying of picnics and wine while enjoying the performance. Director Tara Kayton’s innovative approach includes immersing the audience in the story by bringing the actors to various spots throughout the grounds. Combined with the high elevation outdoor location with its starry skies and coniferous trees, this theater experience is unique and magical and we feel Shakespeare would approve wholeheartedly.
Murphys Attractions: Main Street Wineries
There’s no doubt wine is a major attraction for Murphys. With its two-dozen tasting rooms all on historic Main Street, a wine tasting stroll through town is a quintessential Murphys experience. Here’s where you can sample most of the wine produced in Calaveras to get a true feel of our unique wine culture. As a snob-free zone, you’ll find our wineries friendly, helpful and charming. And we are major award-winners. In fact, Calaveras wineries have won so many awards, we’ve put together a free guide to our winnings. Click on the image to the left to open a PDF copy, or come by the Visitors Center in downtown Angels Camp to get your paper copy.
The Calaveras Winegrape Alliance holds several wine-tasting events throughout the year. Get more information from their website at calaveraswines.org.
Murphys Attractions: Murphys Historic Hotel
Built to accommodate tourists visiting Calaveras Big Trees State Park in the 1800s, Murphys Historic Hotel is the heart of Murphys. Here you can experience an old Gold Rush era saloon, and take a tour of the hotel to see where President Ulysses S. Grant, among other noteworthy visitors, once stayed. If you’re lucky, you might encounter one of the resident ghosts. Enjoy delicious food and local wines at their popular restaurant, where dining can also be enjoyed on their shady outdoor patio overlooking charming downtown Murphys. And of course, as Calaveras’ longest running hotel, rooms are still available.