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Total Eclipse of the Sun in Murphy, North Carolina

by Lisa Buchanan "Assistant on the Town"

August 21,2017

A total eclipse of the Sun. The first one since February 26,1979. The first major one in North America since Mary 7,1970.  And the first one since 1776 that has a totality path that lies completely within the united states. And Murphy, North Carolina is a prime location to watch it.

What has been described as a “quirk of cosmic geometry”, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between the Earth and the Sun, and the moon casts a shadow over the earth. The suns diameter is four hundred times larger than the moon. However, the moon itself is four hundred times closer to Earth than the sun. There is a total eclipse on average every 18 months, but they are not always easy to view. The earth is mostly covered by water, and what eclipses do occur over land often times occur over less populated areas. Next year’s Eclipse path will directly cross over 12 million, but an estimated 220 million people will live within a day’s drive of it.

The difference between a partial solar eclipse and a full one was quoted as,” the difference between viewing a partial eclipse and experiencing a total one is the difference between almost dying and dying.” If you are viewing a partial solar eclipse, you will be only able to tell it is happening with special eye protection. With the right eye wear, you can watch the moon moving slowly across the face of the sun. But It’s not anything particularly special.

If you’re in the path of totality, you’ll see the shrinking sliver of the sun and visually everything will seep sharper and clearer, even though it’s darker. Then the temperature drops, the birds start to roost, and the evening insects come out to prepare for sunset. The sky will get a deeper and darker blue and the sun sliver starts to get small enough that you can almost see it shrinking through your glasses.

It’s hard to explain what it’s going to be like. And for perfect solar eclipse viewing, you’ll need cloud free skies. And protective eye gear is a must! You can still damage your eyes during a solar eclipse. The experts recommend not trying to MacGyver gear yourself. There is cheap eye protection available for purchase all over the internet. Find a large open area that is either public land, or get permission to hang out if it’s privately owned. Bring food, drinks, sunblock, and good friends to watch this once in a lifetime celestial event.

The fact that Murphy will be one of the best places to watch this spectacular solar eclipse is only one reason to visit. Murphy is a land of mountains, lakes, and fantastic people. Visit once, and you won’t want to leave. 

"Haints" & Haunts

by Lisa Buchanan "Assistant on the Town"

“But when did you start believing in ghosts?”
I press her, sitting across from her in the office.

She tells me that she always believed in spirits and the supernatural. And then adds, almost as an afterthought,

“But I really believed when one tried to strangle me at The Daily Grind.”

“Tried to strangle you? For real?”

“Finger prints on my neck and everything.”


Finding out new things about my town during a late night google search led me to the Cherokee County Paranormal Society. I’m somewhere between a full believer and a light skeptic about the paranormal world. So I greedily dived into the website and its members, only to find that one of the investigators worked in the same office as I did. She’s a firecracker, not one to be afraid of the unknown. And she’s a true believer and a true professional, like the rest of the members of the group.

The Cherokee County Paranormal Society is part spiritual, part historical. Their investigations are steeped in information and historical accuracy. They’ve done case studies in multiple states and worked with agencies and likeminded individuals and researchers from all over. One of my favorite things they’ve done is to create The “Legend Has it Tour”.

I’ve taken the tour 4 times. I like to consider myself an official tour guide with some of my friends. The tour combines the history of Murphy with a beginner crash course of the supernatural and the tools used to interact with them.

Generally, you begin at The Daily Grind, one of the oldest buildings in Murphy. Some of the stops include the Court House, Episcopal Church, and the Harshaw Church Cemetery. As a history buff, the legends of my town are fascinating. Not only are they informative but some are considered controversial. For example, some believe that the REAL father of Abraham Lincoln is buried in Harshaw Cemetery.  

So whether or not you believe in ghosts, or “Haints” as they are sometimes called in the south, the Legend Has It Tour is an experience not to miss out on. Skeptic & true believers alike will be entertained and enjoy the gentle walk through Murphy with friends and fellow explorers.


Interested in going? September 2, 2016 is a tour night! Starting right after the Art Walk! Don’t miss out. 

Awesome Date Ideas in the Mountains

by Lisa Buchanan "Assistant on the Town"

Whether it’s the first date of the relationship, a weekly occurrence, or you & your spouse’s night off to keep the romance kindled, we live in a fantastic place to exceed your romantic date expectations. If you’re a transplant, then planning a great time may seem daunting. The nearest Dave & Busters is a good couple of hours away, and pre-made date excursions are hard to come by. As a half transplant myself, the romantic possibilities dazzle me.


  1. The All Day Date (not for beginners)

This is probably not a good first date. This is a beautiful endurance race not suited for the faint of heart or the not-yet-comfortable-with-each-other people. This date begins at your favorite farmer’s market. Stroll through the booths, hand in hand if you dare, and pick up ingredients for an early dinner. Come up with a recipe as you go, or have a recipe prior. After shopping locally and getting as many ingredients as you can for dinner, head over to Blairsville, GA and stop by Michaelee’s Italian Caffe, and pick up a couple of decadent desserts. From there Helton Creek Falls. A short hike, bring a blanket or a chair and eat dessert and have some good conversation with the relaxing backdrop of the loud falls. Leave there and head to your house, to create not just a meal, but memories together.

  1. Beginners Luck

Your date may not be comfortable going to a remote mountain top to check out the stars on the first date (read: don’t creep them out). However, gazing at the stars is a tried and true romantic experience. Thankfully, tucked into the Young Harris College campus is Rollin’s Planetarium. Not only do they do shows about the universe (and music shows, holiday themes, etc) but they do so at a reasonable price (super cheap) at 5.00 per show.  The only caveat is to plan ahead as tickets stop being sold 30 mins prior to the show.  This is a thoughtful first date that doesn’t make you sound like a creeper (i.e. lets go to a remote mountain all alone even though we just met).

  1. Group Date Competition

Group dates can get a bad rap. But honestly, spending time with each other and with other people is healthy, fun, and can alleviate pressure. A great idea for a good time is going to a large flea market or local antique shop and have a contest to see who can purchase the coolest item for less than 5.00.  After everyone is done head out to eat and have everyone vote on which is the coolest. You can offer a prize, like winner gets their dessert paid for by everyone else.

  1. Rolling on the River Date

You can’t not live in Murphy or the local area and not know about the two great water sport rivers, The Ocoee and the Nantahala River. My favorite is the Nantahala, personally, because I like a mostly tame ride, with a break for pizza at Pizza By The River. But if you and your date prefer a more adventurous and labor intensive afternoon, then you have to check out the Ocoee River, site of the 1996 Canoe Slalom for the summer Olympics.  Either River has great food options after you’ve worked up an appetite rafting or kayaking.

  1. Dinner & A Movie – At The Swann Drive In

One of the only 4 Drive-Inn movie theatres operating in Georgia, The Swann Drive In has been in operation since 1955. They accept only cash, and have a wonderful concession. From Burgers, to Fries, to standard movie fare, they also feature devilishly sweet concoctions such as the deep fried Oreo’s and funnel cakes. Watch the movie in your car or bring a blanket and lay in the back of your truck or on the grass to enjoy the movie. Not only is this a great, different movie night idea, the people are friendly and the food is delicious.


  1. Mercier Orchards

Luckily, there are many orchards that offer events like “U-Pick” but Mercier’s has been moved to the top of the list. Not only do they have U-Pick events for their apples, blackberries, and other fruits they have cool things like their own Winery where they craft their own hard cider and wine. They also host weddings and other events, which would be cool if this date turns out to be with THE one.  Anniversary or wedding venue would be a no brainer!


Basically, anywhere around here is a great place for a date. All it needs is a little thought and ingenuity. But, if you need help coming up with a perfect date then you should keep this list around. We don’t mind sharing our local knowledge/genius anytime you need it!

Fading Voices

by Lisa Buchanan "Assistant on the Town"

As the sun makes its’ ascent over the mountains, the valleys of Snowbird begin to almost glow. The dew that covers the grass captures the rays of light, and a blanket of fog rises off the surface of Little Snowbird Creek.  Deep in Little Snowbird lies a playground, a portico with tables, and a covered stage, all of which will be utilized today at The Fading Voices Festival.

Fading Voices is a celebration of national Cherokee traditions. It is a rare glimpse into a culture almost lost to time, history, and genocide. Snowbird area is one of the strongholds in the state, dedicated to the preservation of tradition and language, so it is fitting that this beautiful celebration is held here.

Beginning with The Sacred Mound Ceremony, the festival is open to everyone, and participation is encouraged. There are demonstrations set up to watch, and in some cases take part in. Wander through the beadwork, pottery, Wood Carving & Coffin building sections. Watch strong, sinewy arms churn fresh milk. Listen to the voices float through the air, or watch kids and adults practice their Blow Gun skills. Sample Bean and Chestnut Bread or Wild Greens. Wait in line (it’s worth the wait) for freshly fried traditional Frybread, golden and warm. Try and Indian taco, or strawberry covered frybread. Watch, or if you’re brave, play Fish; an all gender version of Stickball that pits women against men.

It should be noted that there are almost no rules, and the women are historically vicious in their pursuit of victory (the Women almost always win). After you watch the brave men get their butts kicked by the awe inspiring women, then watch Stickball.

The opening of Stickball Ceremonies has a certain amount of reverence. More than just a game, its historical roots played a role in keeping peace between different tribes who played it, as well as training for young warriors. Here at Snowbird, leafy tree branches are driven into the ground, two on each side, for “goals”. As the game begins, there is almost a holy silence throughout the spectators waiting for the first cry. The two teams, at opposite ends of the field, start their battle cries. Answering and responding, the cries echo across the field.

The game here is relatively small. The players today number less than 20 and are as young as 10. Each player is matched up against an opponent roughly their size. If one of them is unable to continue the game for any reason, his opponent must also leave the game.  The “Sticks” are wooden sticks generally made from hardwood saplings or trunks, bent around with leather strips stretched across the back of the loops to catch the ball. In the past, there were no rules to the game which led to some fatalities. In modern day, while injuries are common, there are rules in place. No touching the ball, no hitting below the knees, etc. Today, in the hot sun the players all play well, and end the game in good spirits, some taking a dunk in Little Snowbird Creek to cool off after their exertions.

After Stickball, the festival starts to wind down. Visitors and participants make their last purchases, perhaps grab some frybread for the road, and start wandering to their vehicles. This year’s celebration is over. But next years is only 364ish days away, and everyone is already anticipating another great celebration of culture, history, and community. 

I'm bored

by Ginger Hubbard

I’m bored...Undecided

“I’m bored”…we’ve all heard this at one time or another, heck, we’ve all SAID it at one time or another.  We live in Western North Carolina, the mecca of outdoor activities so we should never be bored.  We have three lakes in our area, Fontana, Hiwassee, and Chatuge in which we can swim, ski, fish, or canoe.  We have numerous creeks such as Fires Creek, Snowbird Creek, Davis Creek, etc.; which are relaxing to the soul and rewarding to the fisherman.  If bigger water is what you seek (and bigger thrills), then you can plan a rafting trip down the Nantahala River or the Ocoee River.

If water is not on the agenda, try one of the numerous walking trails we have here in Western North Carolina.  You can visit and look for hiking trails which are sorted by difficulty and feature.  This is a great website and will help you plan the perfect day out to accommodate your family. This site also provides tips on what to wear, take with you etc. for a safe and fun trip:

These activities are inexpensive, family friendly, and will be remembered years from now as one of your favorite family vacations where no one was bored.

Murphy River Walk

by Dex Hubbard

Meandering throughout the heart of Murphy North Carolina, the River Walk is a fantastic place to spend your time. Following the Valley River, you’ll meet the Hiwassee River. Approximately 3 miles from one end to the other, the focus remains on the river, but you pass additional beautiful landmarks along the path. Starting at Konehete Park, follow the trail across the bridge, and stately trees to the fabled home of the Great Leach, legend of the Cherokee Indians. Continue past the old train bridge, over the boardwalk, and all the way to the L&N Depot. In the summer, Lake Hiwassee is full, and the water backs up into the lowlands and creates the kayak and canoe trails. The boardwalk is surrounded by water in the summer, and strolling on the river, surrounded by the river, is a unique experience that is hard to describe or duplicate.

You’ll see all types of people enjoying the River walk. For exercise, jogging and running along it is a popular use. You’ll also spot the nature seekers, sedately wandering, gazing at the natural beauty and maybe capturing a moment with their camera. Fisherman (and woman) love to sit on the banks and cast a line in the warm afternoons.

The River Walk is a community project, and the communities love for it is evidenced everywhere you look.  Volunteers help with upkeep certainly, as well as paying for gravel and other materials out of their own pocket. The hand crafted signs marking the paths are reclaimed cedar wood, from Doyle’s Cedar Hill restaurant brush with the tornado. An outdoor Performance Pavilion was constructed together with the Cherokee County Arts Council.  The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) constructed the new covered bridge, with the River Walk assuming responsibility for the upkeep. David & Debra, of the Celebrate Life Gallery, in conjunction with local business Digital Creations USA, created the beautiful 2016 Calendar featuring the River Walk, of which all of the proceeds go directly to support the River Walk & Canoe trails.  Linda, a face as familiar as her bookstore, The Curiosity Shop, carries the calendars for sale in Downtown Murphy.

The best thing about Murphy North Carolina, is not the natural beauty of the mountains, it’s the people. And no better proof of that exists then looking at something the people love, like The River Walk.
Murphy and the area surrounding it is a true community. A community that comes together for beautiful projects, and for its neighbors when they need help. The southern hospitality is evident walking down the sidewalks, driving down the roads, and interacting with the people.

This is life at its’ best.
Care to join us?

Empty Bowl... Full Heart

by Ginger Hubbard

Empty Bowl…full heart


There’s a LOT of reasons to love Murphy and thus, the surrounding areas of this wonderful mountain town.  I experienced one of those many reasons this past Saturday night at the Empty Bowl event at John C Campbell Folk School.  This event raises funds for the Cherokee and Clay County food banks.  So five of my best girlfriends purchased the $30 tickets and set off on a girl’s night out.  This is also an event for the guys, the honeymooners, date night, etc.  We got there about 4:30 and the doors opened at 5 PM.  After tickets were presented we made our way through and picked out a pottery bowl that was made by one of the many talented potter’s associated with the Folk School.  You then proceed to the dining area where the meal is served family style.  We were served a big bowl of awesome soup, fresh salad and homemade dressings, fresh baked bread, and yummy homemade cookies. 


Later in the evening there as a drawing for some pottery items that were donated by local artisans.  You could purchase raffle tickets for $1 and then you placed your ticket in the bag beside the item you wanted.  Unfortunately, I did not win any of the pottery but we were all winners at this wonderful fundraiser for such a worthy charity.

So if you’re new to our area, planning on moving here, or have always been here but never attended the Empty Bowl fundraiser, put this on your bucket list!

Keep us with Dex Hubbard on facebook or check out his website to keep abreast of upcoming events and things to do in Murphy, NC.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7




Contact Information

Photo of Dex Hubbard Real Estate
Dex Hubbard
RE/MAX Mountain Properties
1151 W US Hwy 64
Murphy NC 28906
Fax: 828-837-8372