A well-preserved hamlet of white-picket fences and Victorian houses, compact Murphys has an upscale yet unpretentious vibe. Shops and restaurants line several blocks of Main Street, punctuated by wine-tasting rooms, some open only on Fridays and weekends much of the year. The Calaveras Wine Alliance's staff and volunteers excel at pairing wine lovers with the right winery, in some cases providing discount passes. Horatio Alger, Ulysses S. Grant, and other celebs passed through Murphys when they and other 19th-century tourists came to investigate the giant sequoia groves in nearby Calaveras Big Trees State Park.


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