Rockwell in the Smokies

Rockwell in the Smokies

August 20th, 2012 by Beth Burger in Glimpse 2012-a

Located in eastern North Carolina, the town of Murphy, NC is the county seat for Cherokee County.

Photo by Tracey Trumbull /Times Free Press.

Small-town life is about 90 minutes away in Murphy, N.C., which evokes images from a Normal Rockwell painting in the Great Smoky Mountains, according to locals. The town offers something for those who seek outdoor recreation with trout streams, put-ins for kayaks, whitewater rafting and walking paths. A small group of stores occupy historic downtown.

- Compiled by Staff Writer Beth Burger, or 423-757-6406.


Take a stroll on the Murphy River Walk & Canoe Trail

• The 3-mile path can be accessed at Konehete Park, McClelland Street or the Old L&N Depot trail which heads intotown.

• Aside from walking or biking on the path, the river walk features put-ins for canoes or kayaks on Vance Street and Hiwassee Street.

• The path follows the Hiwassee River and the Valley River, which meet to form the backwaters of Lake Hiwassee and surround the historic town center of Murphy.

Source: Murphy River Walk & Canoe Trail website


Holy Canoli! The Antica Roma Café restaurant is a traditional Italian cafe serving cappuccino, espresso, homemade pastries, panini, Italian gelati, salad, Italian wines and beer.

• Located at 19 Tennessee St., it's open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

• The food served is authentic Italian. The owners are from Rome.

• For more information, call 828-837-5300 or email

Source: and North Carolina Department of Commerce


Historic relics, shopping downtown and outdoor recreation abound in small town

• County seat of Cherokee County, N.C.

• Population: 1,627

• Biggest employers: Murphy Medical Center and Cherokee County Schools.

The largest manufacturer is Moog Components.

• Number of miles from downtown Chattanooga: 92

• Landmarks or geographic features: The Hiwassee River and the Valley River converge in downtown Murphy.

• Date founded: 1839

• History: The town's name was originally named Huntington and later became Murphy, named after Archibald D. Murphey. The town decided to

drop the 'e' in the name.

• Most famous resident: Archibald Russell Spence Hunter

• Odd/unique traditions: Residents enjoy ringing in the New

Year by lowering a possum in plexiglas cage at a gas station. "It's our answer to New York lowering the ball," said Phylis Blackmon, executive director

of Cherokee Chamber of Commerce. "After the

crowd dies down, they let him go back into the wild."

• Unique characteristic: The courthouse is made from locally

quarried "regal blue" marble.


• Murphy Art Walk: From April 1 to Nov. 1, the city has an art walk from

5-7 p.m. the first Friday of each month. Twenty businesses in the downtown area participate. Local artists are featured at the businesses, which showcase art or music as well as refreshments.

• John C. Campbell Folk School Fall Festival: The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 6-7, features crafts and craft-making demonstrations, while dance and music performances showcase the region's Appalachian heritage. Admission is $5 adults, $3 for ages 12 to 17, and free for 12 and under.

Source: Town of Murphy, N.C., website and Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce


Murphy is home to the smallest railroad in the country. The Hiwassee Railroad came about after a group of Murphy residents and New York investors blocked

the tracks at the river to keep the two largest railroads out - Southern and the Louisville & Nashville. The last time the railroad was used was on July 4, 1992, when a train left for Andrews, N.C.

Source: Town of Murphy website