|Murphys Hotel circa 1850s|
A quick drive from Murphys, down Six Mile Road, leads to Ironstone Vineyards, one of many vineyards helping to make the area a rapidly growing mecca for wine enthusiasts. There are now more than a dozen family-owned and operated boutique wineries, all of them open year-round for wine tasting and tours. What struck me during my visit to Ironstone a few days before Christmas is the natural beauty of winter clamping down on the foothills, of seasons passing and mountains enduring. It was raining, hard, and my fingers and nose tingled with the cold.
Murphys' rich and colorful past dates back to 1848 when John and Daniel Murphy established a trading post and gold mining operation in the area that is now their namesake. Entrepreneurs with the luck of the Irish, they were a part of the very first immigrant party (Stephens-Townsend-Murphy) to successfully bring wagons over the Sierra in 1844, paving the way for westward migration.
|Ironstone’s Crown Jewel is the world’s|
largest piece of crystalline gold,
weighing 44 pounds troy.