Ryan and I have just returned from another wonderful weekend away in beautiful Murphys, CA. It was a wonderful trip, for the purpose of the wedding of Ryan’s friends Heather and Marc, but made into a mini-vacation for us as well.

It started out smoothly and promptly got a little rough. Murphys, which is a Gold Rush town nestled into the foothills east of Stockton is like many towns when the sun goes down… shrouded in total darkness. This led to us driving, walking, re-driving and re-walking around trying to locate the cottage that we rented for the weekend. Finally, after desperate attempts to Google via my Blackberry (failed), call the rental office for help (failed), head into town to get aid from a gas station attendant (failed) and visit another hotel to get directions (failed), we headed back up the road one last time and finally stumbled upon the back porch by accident. By the light of day, it all seemed so obvious and simple, but by night, it looked completely different. I was not a happy camper as I have NO PATIENCE for stuff like that. According to Ryan, I looked something like this…

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The next morning, in daylight, we got a good look at the little cottage and it’s surroundings. It was a beautiful little house and had plenty of room for us and even another couple (which is what we are planning for the future). This particular cottage was nestled along Murphys Creek.

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It was just as cute inside as outside. In fact, we even kind of liked it better than our current rental home!

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We decided to head into town and grab a quick breakfast and check out the downtown area. Murphys is a very cool little town just swamped in history, like most of the town in the area. If you enjoy California history, we highly recommend a trip to the area. There is lots to do and see and experience.

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You can hardly walk or drive 10 feet without running into a plaque or sign declaring some sort of historical landmark or place of significance.

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I picked his nose!! Hee hee!

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We walked around and shopped a little… well, I shopped and Ryan watched.

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We found a cool old little building that we’re almost certain was at one time a little jail. Ryan thought I needed to spend some time there.

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It’s a good thing I love him so darn much!

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After that, we headed over to Sonora, a neighboring Gold Rush town, to do some more shopping and goofing around (more of that than anything) and grab some lunch.

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We were pretty tired and needed to head back to Murphys to get ready for the main event! We did, however, make some time to stop off at a vineyard and do a little wine tasting. It was pretty good. I can’t remember what it was called though… so it wasn’t great.

After we got all dolled up, we headed out to Ironstone Vineyards… but we got lost… and after several miles on a curvy mountain road… I got pretty sick. We meandered around and finally found the vineyard (one wrong turn is all it takes!) and made our way out to the ceremony site. It was a beautiful location, and though the weather was being a little tempermental with little spouts of showers, the wedding was amazing.

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Heather and Marc chose a patriotic/red,white and blue theme, which is likely because of Marc’s time in the service and the wedding being right after Independance Day. It was unique and very special and the colors translated beautifully. The ceremony was wonderful, but by far, my favorite part was the way Heather arrived…

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Marc and Heather have a beautiful love and the ceremony and surroundings were so reflective of that.

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After that, we headed up to the winery to party at the reception! It was a great time and it was so fun to see how fun Heather and Marc’s families are. They really danced the night away!

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We were pretty exhausted and headed back to the cottage close to 11pm, and the reception was still roaring on.

We slept in the next morning and it felt great. Later in the morning, we headed into downtown again to have some coffee and pastries at a bakery we had stumbled upon the previous day. The smell was literally so heavenly that we stopped dead in our tracks to walk back and pause at the door. It lived up to it’s reputation and was FANTASTIC.

After that we headed out to Mercer Caverns to do a cave tour. Since I’m a huge rock nerd, I loved every minute of it. Even the 480 steep vertical steps and 16 stories it took to explore! Thank goodness we changed into some comfortable clothes and shoes. It was hard to take pictures but I got a few shots.

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We survived!!!

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We had a great time and decided to celebrate with stopping for some wine tasting. We stumbled across a true gem at Irish Family Vineyards.

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The owner was a really cool and down-to-earth guy that spent a long time chatting with us, sharing stores and letting us try just about everything in the place. We loved every single wine and headed home with a full case tucked under our arm. We will definitely be back to that place!

It was a wonderful weekend, but sadly, we had to head home and get ready for the week.

Above all, we want to wish Marc and Heather a wedding filled with incredible love, joy, and God’s blessings. We love you and wish you all the best as you start this journey together. You are precious!

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Marc and Heather Sanders
Married: July 11, 2009
Murphys, CA
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