Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 14

OUR BLUE RIDGE TOWNS

WE

 MURPHY

A Valentine's Day Visit to a
North Carolina Town
Our columnist found a lot to love about this small town in the southwest corner of the state.
By JOAN VANNORSDALL

T

he most direct route to Murphy from the northeast takes you through the Nantahala Gorge.
Rushing not advised: Just take your time and
notice the nearly vertical drop from the high
rocks and wooded ridges, springs running down
to the winding river that, midway through a
rainy February, careens through the gorge. It's
wild beauty, and it's free.
Well before you get to Murphy-Cherokee County
seat and a distant 355 miles from the state capital, Raleigh-the road straightens and flattens, and eventually you find yourself
in a downtown that's full of cars, shops
and historic brick buildings. There's a
baby boutique, the Murphy Art Center,
a bookstore. Gift and antique shops.
A restored, two-screen theatre (the
Henn, appropriately emblazoned with
a chicken) showing first-run movies every afternoon and evening. Around the
corner on Peachtree Street, the massive
Classical Revival, blue marble courthouse dominates the sky.

KNOW
A GREAT
BLUE RIDGE
TOWN
JOAN
SHOULD
SEE?

Over the past two
years Joan Vannorsdall
has visited exciting
small towns all over our
coverage area (mountain regions of VA, NC,
WV, TN, GA, SC, KY),
and told their stories in
these pages.
Do you know a small
town that might be
worthy of a visit? We'd
love to consider your
ideas. Please send to
krheinheimer@
leisuremedia360.com.

14

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

And all over Murphy, there are restaurants.
Restaurants that are filling up fast, for some of which
(as I discover the hard way), you'd better have made
reservations.
A remote mountain town of 1,700 people, 355 miles
from the state capital, finding its way forward. The question I'm here to answer is...How?
The answers come fast and furious from Mayor Rick
Ramsey, who graduated from Murphy High School in
1974, went away to college, and for 35 years worked for
Lockheed Martin, living all over the country and abroad.
When he retired, he and his wife returned to the area to
be near their grandchildren.
"My elementary school principal was the mayor here
for a while-he convinced me to run. I knew I wanted
to give back."
It appears that he has, with good help from many local boosters. Murphy is now a Main Street Downtown
Associate Community, which opens the doors to grants
and enables the town to benefit from a year of consulting assistance.
"We had people spilling out the door of the old L&N
Depot to meet with the Main Street folks a couple weeks


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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 6
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover3
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