The early part of October I was out in California and while there, Cindy (my hostess) and I took a day to drive up into Gold Mine country. I’ve been to a lot of places in California, but not Gold Mine Country, so this was extra enjoyable because I hadn’t seen it before. Expectedly (just made that word up), there were a lot of hills and “crannies” in the landscape and a lot of towns with the word “camp” tacked on the end. In some spots, you could even imagine a couple prospectors appearing on top of a hill, their equipment hanging off of them at odd angles. Alas, we didn’t really see any prospectors – but we did have a fun lunch in the courtyard of Murphy’s Hotel in the town of Murphys.
A long, long time ago (1844), John and Daniel Murphy came to California as part of the first group that brought wagons across the Sierra Nevada. they started their California career as shopkeepers, but then got caught up in the Gold Rush like everyone else.
This area was so rich in gold that miners weren’t allowed to have claims any bigger than 8 square feet – but even so, many became rich. The Murphy brothers, however, soon discovered they could make more money with their store than mining. And so that’s what they did.
The Murphy’s Hotel opened in 1856 and was a popular stop on the stage route to Big Trees. When most of the town burned down in 1860, the hotel escaped a lot of damage because of the stonework in it’s walls. What a charming place for a charming lunch.