With a population of less than 2,000, Murphy, N.C., may be a small town, but what it lacks in population it makes up for in culture. If you’re looking for a mountain getaway with great views, outdoor adventure, and rich history, look no further. Let’s explore what Murphy has to offer.
How to Plan a Trip to Murphy, North Carolina
You may think there isn’t much to do in Murphy since it’s a small town, but that isn’t the case. We’ve compiled a list of the best things to check out and places to stay for your visit.
About Murphy, N.C.
Murphy is in southwestern North Carolina, located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. The county seat of Cherokee County, Murphy sits at the Hiwassee River and the Valley River junction and is just 2.6 square miles. Nicknamed the “City of Flowers,” this town has historical roots dating back to 1830 and offers a picturesque view of rural life.
Murphy also plays a role in Cherokee history. It was the site of Fort Butler, a holding area for Cherokee natives after the army removed them from North Carolina in the 1830s.
Things to Do in Murphy, N.C.
There’s plenty to do while you’re in Murphy. Let’s take a look at some things that top our list.
Go Shopping in Downtown
About Downtown Murphy: Check out small-town Murphy with its flower and tree-lined streets. Grab a cup of joe and a quick bite to eat at The Daily Grind & Wine, one of the first downtown brick buildings.
Nextdoor, visit Curiosity Shop Bookstore, an independent bookstore that’s considered a downtown staple. Head a couple of doors down to The Wherehouse of Murphy for a gift, art, or a one-of-a-kind find. (You can also catch a ghost walk tour there!)
Murphy is full of antiques, flea markets, and art galleries. One of the top stops to find hidden treasure is Marketplace Antiques. Another historic must-see is the restored Henn Theatre, which dates back to 1935. Catch a movie here for only $5.50 a ticket.
Be sure to check out the Cherokee County Courthouse, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Faced with blue marble, this beautiful Classical Revival Style is something to ponder. And if you visit during the first weekend of the month from May to December, check out Murphy Art Walk, where businesses open up their sidewalks to regional artists showcasing and selling their art.
Last but not least, cap off your time downtown by visiting the Appalachian Driving Experience. Starting at $275, rent a Porsche and drive like you’re in the movies down the winding mountain roads. Seriously, it might not get better than this.
Cherokee County Museum
About Cherokee County Museum: Amid the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains is also the hard truth of what happened nearly 200 years ago in Murphy. Cherokee natives were forcibly removed from this area, which was once their home. Fort Butler became the main holding site for Cherokee people who lived east of the mountains. From there, they traveled to internment camps.
Located in a historic Carnegie Library building in downtown Murphy, the Cherokee County Museum houses hundreds of Cherokee artifacts and interpretations of Cherokee history and culture. It also serves as an interpretive trail for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
In addition, the museum offers antique and vintage items that the early pioneer settlers used in the early days of settling Murphy.
Visit an Alpaca Farm
About Two Crows Farm: Book a visit to Two Crows Farm, a family-owned sustainable farm. The couple raises more than 40 alpacas, processes their own yarn, and grows their own food. Take a tour of the small farm, visit the alpacas, and peruse the handmade goods for sale, including scarves and hats.
See the Hiwassee Dam
About the Hiwassee Dam: The Hiwassee Dam is more than 300 feet high and 1,200 feet long, producing electricity for the Tennessee Valley. Originally built in 1936 with only one generating unit, the Tennessee Valley Authority later added a second, called Unit 2. Years later, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers added Unit 2 as a National Historical Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
The dam serves another role in history, this one in the form of national defense. The Navy tested torpedoes at Hiwassee, thanks to its isolated position in the mountains and because of the reservoir’s depth, which is more than 250 feet in places.
Aside from a stunning engineering feat, the Hiwassee Dam and Reservoir offers areas for recreation. Try your hand at whitewater rafting or canoeing on the beautiful reservoir. Or enjoy a picnic, some fishing, or a boat ride.
Is Murphy, N.C., Worth a Visit?
Murphy is an ideal place to visit if you’re looking for a mountain escape or to appreciate history. Murphy resembles a town from a Norman Rockwell painting, with its picturesque downtown streets and period buildings. With a small-town feel, you can expect a slower pace and quieter trip, allowing you to take in the scenery and culture around you.
If it’s outdoor activity you’re after, there are many opportunities for hiking, fishing, and water activities. And if you’re looking for nightlife and a hopping downtown scene, Atlanta is only a two-hour drive away.
Spend your days antiquing, speeding down the winding mountain roads in your rented Porsche, or taking in history in Murphy, N.C. There may just be something here for everyone. What things are on your must-see list for a trip to Murphy, N.C.?