The luck of the Irish came to Calaveras County, California when brothers John and Daniel Murphy established a trading post and gold mining operation in 1848. The young men stuck it rich, and became millionaires before their 25th birthdays.
Today, the charming, historic town of Murphys is still known as the “Queen of the Sierra” because of the gold mined from the area. Murphys was founded by Irish immigrants, so locals and visitors celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the annual Murphys Irish Day Parade. Leisurely stroll down Main Street and explore its shops and restaurants. Springtime is probably the best time to visit.
During the spring, nature’s gold can be found in the Sierra Foothills scenery. Bright orange California poppies grow along the highways and in pastures. Daffodils are also a common sight because they are planted everywhere. Even in extreme drought, these flowers will survive.
Take the narrow road behind the Historic Hotel Murphys, and turn right onto Six Mile Road. Follow it for about a mile, and you’re at the Ironstone Vineyards–one of over two dozen family-owned and operated boutique wineries in Murphys. The grounds, which include a tasting room, deli, museum, jewelry shop, and 14.5 acres of gorgeous, landscaped gardens is very family-friendly. Weddings and conferences take place here. An outdoor amphitheater hosts summer concerts. Bring your family, your camera and plan to stay for at least a couple of hours.
Ironstone Vineyards is proud of its Gold Rush heritage. Take a stroll of the grounds, and you’ll find remnants from the past. You can’t miss the massive replica of an 1850 Gold Stamp Mill.
Several feet away, there’s an entrance to the mine and quartz containing no gold. But this sample did have a little bluish green for St. Patrick’s Day.
You can even try mining for gold.
For the gardening enthusiasts, the Ironwood Vineyards offers inspiration. The next time you plant, think of incorporating flowers and greenery with items from the past. Of course, you can’t go wrong.
Plan a trip to Murphys and the Ironstone Vineyards. Here are a couple of links: