During winter break we wanted to go some place that is close by and not very crowded. Kids wanted a relaxing vacation not to packed with activities. Murphy’s was the place we choose to go. Rented a Airbnb and drove there with a couple of friends. All of us adults and kids had good company.
Day 1 – We started to drive to Murphy’s which is 2 hrs away. On the way to the Airbnb we stopped at Vallecito to take a tour of the Moaning caverns. At the caverns we took the 45-min Spiral tour. We went down 165 feet underground into the cavern and saw some really beautiful rock formations – stalagmite (type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave due to the accumulation of material deposited on the floor from ceiling drippings) and stalactites(icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave). It was interesting to hear to all the stories about how the spiral staircase was built from the guide. The area we were in the cave was right under the parking lot, but we couldn’t hear any sounds from outside. After the caverns tour the kids did rock climbing. As it was Christmas Eve, the place was closing earlier than normal so couldn’t spend a lot of time there. We continued to drive to the Airbnb home which was in a nice cozy community. All the homes in the community were decked with lights and decorations for Christmas. It was dark by the time we checked into the house. The next thing on mind was to prep for dinner. We all took turns to cook different meals. A bunch a foodies together, now what can you expect for dinner? It was yummy Pav Bhaji – an Indian street food, an all-time favorite. It was perfect for the cold weather.
Day 2 – It was the day of Christmas and everything (parks, stores and all) was closed. So we decided to explore the area after morning coffee. Walked around curvy roads in the neighborhood, with beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
After the walk it was time for some brunch. We whipped up sweet and savory versions of the crepes along with masala poha. Sweet version of the crepe had fruits, maple syrup and chocolate powder. The savory crepes had veggies sautéed with spices topped with cheese.
Kids continued playing on the pool table, watching movies and playing board games. Since the wineries were open, we decided to visit Ironstone Vineyards for some wine tasting.
It started to rain and was very gloomy by afternoon. So for the evening snack we made saboodana vada, mixed veggie pakoras and cheese quesadilla with some piping hot adrak(ginger) chai and filter coffee. Oh my that was so yum and perfect for the cold weather.
Kids had planned for some games, all of us got together in the family room and played Kahoot, Empire and Dumb charades. Kids and adults had fun equally playing the games. Wrapped up the day watching movie and having some pasta, garlic bread with broccoli on the side.
Day 3 – The guys were all enthu (rather we girls got them to signup 🙂 ) to make breakfast. They made yummy bread omelettes (savory French toast version). Day was bright, but still cold.
We went hiking on the Natural bridges trail. This 2-mile trail was in a rugged area, so it took some time to descend and climb back up. We hiked down to see the beautiful limestone cavern that was carved by the Coyote creek.
Most of the day we spent outside and got back home towards the evening and made a scrumptious Mexican burrito bar for dinner. Playing games continued after dinner, we played a game called five with playing cards.
Day 4 – Had to wrap up the and check out. After checking out from the house we drove to the Murphy downtown. This downtown was so pretty, had many wine tasting rooms, boutiques, fine dining restaurants. JoMa’s Artisan Ice-cream was the hightlight among the stores we visited. This store had many unique flavors of ice-creams and sorbet. The Mango Bombay sorbet caught my attention, but then settled for crunch time. The ice cream was very creamy and smooth. Also the weather was perfect to take a stroll in the afternoon.
Next stop was at Columbia State National Park. The national park was very different from the ones we have visited before. Here there are buildings from the gold rush era. Most of them are built with bricks. Visited a museum, saw the vault where they used to store the gold. There was also a bowling alley which was the recreation area for the miners. Kids could pan for gold as an activity, but was too cold to touch the water so we skipped. Then we started to drive back home.
It was a relaxed trip with lot of fun, some hikes, loads of food, games and laughter. Murphy’s is very conveniently located close to Bay Area, perfect for a weekend getaway too.
It’s 2019. New year, looking forward for the new beginnings!! Happy New Year folks.