Things to do in Murphys CA — More than Wine Tasting

When you visit Murphys, it will be obvious why it was voted one of the top ten coolest small towns in America. Take a trip back to the 1800s while enjoying great food, shopping, art galleries, outdoor activities and more.

If you haven’t been to Murphys, you should definitely add it to your list of places to go in California’s Gold Country. I have been there for special events like the Chili Cook-off, just to shop, and to stop for breakfast on my way to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. When you visit, it will be obvious why it was voted one of the top ten coolest small towns in America by Budget Travel Magazine. There are cool things to do in Murphys CA! Murphys, California, is located in Calaveras County, about 3 hours east of San Francisco and a little less than two hours southeast of Sacramento. I’m only an hour away where I live in Amador County so I can visit often. If you…

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Small Town Wine Bar in California’s Smallest Incorporated City

When I learned that another eating and drinking establishment was opening in Amador City, I have to admit, I was a little jealous. They already had the Imperial Hotel and Jamison’s Ale House, two of my favorite places to eat in the county. They had Andrae’s Bakery, which puts out some awesome bread and pastries. Now they were going to have Small Town Wine Bar, too.     Small Town Wine Bar in Amador City Small Town Wine Bar owner, Ginger Budrick Carter, has been in the hospitality industry all her life. She started working in her parents restaurant in Sutter Creek at the age of 13 where she worked her way up through all the positions. She learned to pay close attention to every…

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ZinEX Zinfandel Experience — Zin Lover’s Paradise

The Grand Tasting is one of the five events comprising the annual Zinfandel Experience, also known as ZinEX. The event is designed to entertain, enlighten and delight. Check out my post to see if they lived up to those goals.

When I attended the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa in November, I signed up for an education session entitled Zinfandel Old and New which was put on by Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP). That’s where I learned about ZinEX, their three-day Zinfandel Experience extravaganza devoted entirely to Zinfandel.     I have definitely become a Zin girl since moving to Amador County because of the history as well as the wine. I really wanted to attend the event but tickets were a little pricey for this gal on a budget and it was in San Francisco. That’s a three hour drive and I had no desire to drive there and try to navigate the city on my own. I doubted that I could get…

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Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco

Amtrak -- Sacramento to San Francisco -- who knew? Certainly not me. At least not until recently. I've lived here for more than three years and didn't know you could take Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco.

Amtrak — Sacramento to San Francisco — who knew? Certainly not me. At least not until recently. I’ve lived here for more than three years and didn’t know you could take Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco.     San Francisco is about a three hour drive and 130 miles from where I live in Amador County. Then there’s the traffic and the parking. When I learned from a client that you could take the train, I was quite eager to try it out because I LOVE riding the train, which you can read about here and here. It was on my mind for a few months but I just didn’t have a specific reason to go. When I received an invitation to ZinEX (hold…

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Oldest Documented Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyard in the Americas

I've been researching Zinfandel for some time now, learning what is so special about old vine Zinfandel. When I saw an opportunity to visit the oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in the Americas, planted in the 1860s, I knew I had to go.

You may have read elsewhere on the blog that I’ve been working on a post about old vine Zinfandel for some time. When I saw an opportunity to visit the oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in the Americas, planted in the 1860s, I knew I had to go. The 3-day OGP Zinfandel Weekend event included an optional tour of the Original Grandpère Vineyard on Saturday and Sunday. I joined the tour on Saturday which was led by Rusty Folena, winemaker at Vino Noceto.     OGP Zinfandel Weekend, Shenandoah Valley, Plymouth, CA Only four wineries are privileged to produce wine from grapes grown in the Original Grandpère Vineyard (OGP), also called Vineyard 1869. The OGP Weekend is put on by the three wineries located in the…

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Most Viewed Posts of 2017

My top ten most viewed posts of 2017 include stories about historic places, amazing food and fun and interesting things to do in Gold Country.

Last year, when I wrote a post about my most viewed posts of 2016, the blog had only been in operation for just under 10 months. During that time, I wrote 34 posts, an average of over three a month. I didn’t meet my goal of at least four posts per month but I was pleased with the quality of what I had put out. When I sat down to figure out my most viewed posts of 2017, I was a little shocked to see that during 2017 I only published 32 posts for the whole year. That’s way below my goal of four per month. Consistency is definitely my biggest short coming when it comes to blogging, but I believe in quality over quantity. I…

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Oysters and Smoked Meats at Jamison’s Ale House

The first time I went to Jamison's Ale House and Oyster Bar in Amador City, CA, I knew I would be going back often and would want to share it with you. You'll find things on the menu you won't find anywhere else in the county.

The first time I went to Jamison’s Ale House and Oyster Bar in Amador City, CA, I knew I would be going back often and would want to share it with you. Jamison’s Ale House If you want to know anything about beer or home brewing, visit Jamison’s Ale House and talk to co-owner Virginia Vasquez. Virginia has been judging beer for nearly 20 years, both commercial and home brew competitions. As a result, she began to appreciate how important it is to understand the ingredients, process and history of beer. She has organized pub crawls all over Northern California, blogged and written for a brewing magazine. Seven years ago, Virginia was coming through town and stopped to visit a merchant friend. She ended up…

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This One’s All About the Food – #wbc17 – Part 2

In my last post I promised to tell you about the Wine Bloggers Conference food. Here are the two meals I had that were absolutely outstanding.

Wine Bloggers Conference Food – Recap Part 2 In my last post I promised to tell you about the Wine Bloggers Conference food. I had two meals while I was at the conference that were absolutely outstanding and wanted to share them with you. Jordan Winery Dinner Excursion When I registered for the conference, we had several choices for dinner on Friday night. I didn’t really know anything about the wineries putting on the dinners but after a review of their websites, I chose Jordan Winery. From the moment I stepped on the bus, I knew the hospitality would be amazing. Our hostess for the evening, Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing and Communications for Jordan, started the trip explaining how welcoming guests with a glass…

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Wine Bloggers Conference 2017 Recap — Part 1 #wbc17

Observations on the wine country fires and Zinfandels Old and New from the 10th annual 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, CA.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that I just returned from the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, CA. I attended my first International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento a few weeks ago and this was also my first wine bloggers conference. It was a great conference and I hope to be able to attend next year. I can tell you now that it will be in Walla Walla, Washington, but we didn’t get to find out until the final minutes of the closing remarks. The Wine Bloggers Conference and Wine Country Fires I didn’t write a recap of the Food Blogger Conference, which I should have, so I didn’t want to miss sharing the Wine Bloggers Conference with you —…

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Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery: From Small Beginnings

Jay and Maggie Wilderotter, owners of Wilderotter Vineyard, want you to feel as welcome in their tasting room as you would in their home.

Jay Wilderotter is one of the lucky ones. He found his passion a long time ago and lives it every day. He told me, “I never feel like I’m going to work.” Jay and his wife, Maggie, own Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery in the Shenandoah Valley in Plymouth, California. Jay says, “My business is threefold: vineyard, winery and hospitality [referring to the Grand Reserve Inn which I’ll tell you about in another post] and every day is different.” Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery Jay has been in the wine business for 27 years. For the first 15 of that, he was a grower and sold to other wine producers. He participated in the production of the wines made from his grapes and, with the help of…

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