Summer in Calaveras: Unwind, indulge or both

If you haven’t gotten a chance for a summer escape yet, it’s time.  And here’s the perfect Murphys-based getaway that could be waiting for you if you’ve only got one night…

For breakfast on the go grab a strong coffee, a homemade everything bagel with cream cheese (and maybe a sweet treat too) from Aria Bakery in Murphys.

Then hop in the car for a peaceful 20-minute drive through the pines to the town of Dorrington for easy access to the wild and scenic Stanislaus River via the Sourgrass Recreation Area off Boards Crossing Road. Grab a rock upstream and zone out to the rushing waters of the river, or crack open a good book and just enjoy. Bring your swimsuit along if you think you might be up for a dip in the refreshing mountain runoff.

Make your way back to Murphys for lunch at Magnolia Cafe. Grab a seat on their patio, and settle in with an ice cold glass (or bottle!) of local wine. Try the oh-so-good Summer Veggie Sandwich.

Need to walk that off? Peruse the shops of Murphys. Poke your nose into Piazza for great gifts and unique home treasures, Creative Cookware for that kitchen gadget you didn’t know you needed, and Animal Kingdom, a one-of-the-kind boutique for pet-lovers.

If it’s starting to get warm out there, duck into the quirky and cool (literally) cellar at Zucca Wines. Get a jumpstart on dessert with a spoonful of Ghirardelli dark chocolate and a taste of their Syrah Port.

Spoil your inner foodie with a dinner that challenges your palette at Mineral, an intimate restaurant featuring haute vegetarian cuisine like you’ve never seen. Start with the Aphrodisiac, a bubbly delight, and order the “burger” for a mind-boggling and tasty adventure.

Hunt down some local tunes to finish your night. A handful of emerging musicians, like The Experimentalist, Grover Anderson and Nicholas Lefler, are on the scene and can often be found playing at one of the local establishments or wineries. Murphys Community Park also hosts First Fridays in the Park at the beginning of each month.

Area lodging: Hide away at the Querencia Inn, check into a home away from home through Murphys Vacation Rentals, or go for the pool at Murphys Inn.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

Float your afternoon away. Head to the beach at White Pines Lake (near Arnold) with a tube in hand for relaxing on the water.

Pack a picnic. Stop by Sierra Hills Market for an assortment of gourmet cheeses, olives, and other portable fare. Then head to Laraine Winery for a picturesque vineyard picnic under a giant oak tree.

Belly up to the bar. Happy hour the right way with V Bistro’s infamously good martinis. You’ll want two, but you’ve been warned. Snack on the deep fried olives.  Delish!