Fun Activities For Seniors In Murphy, NC and Cherokee County

Local fun activities for seniors are as diverse as the folks who enjoy them. For starters, you’ll often find ladies and gentlemen enjoying biscuits or waffles at their favorite Murphy, NC breakfast eatery. Next, some seniors might hit the grocery store or make the rounds of the local thrift shops. Other residents browse through books and DVDs at the Murphy Public Library, while hobby fans stock up on supplies for their latest projects.

Seniors who prefer group activities also have some attractive options. Whether they engage in gentle exercise with like-minded workout buddies, or socialize with friends and neighbors at a favorite gathering spot, they can enjoy those pastimes right in their local community. Looking at the big picture, Cherokee County offers some enticing choices for every taste. Continue reading “Fun Activities For Seniors In Murphy, NC and Cherokee County”

Tips for Entertaining Kids During Christmas Break

f5ba2a0c719c8f2aab0a2b14c3a182e1Kids and Christmas break go together like peanut butter and jelly. Whether the youngsters are part of the elementary school set, or have recently joined the ranks of middle schoolers, they probably view their Christmas/New Year’s vacation in much the same way. In other words, they plan to sleep late and lounge around playing with their tech devices all day.

However, you have considerably different plans for the kids’ time away from school. You’ve compiled a list of enticing home-based activities, along with suggestions for three Murphy, NC community field trips. If the weather cooperates, you might even take the youngsters to the great outdoors. Simply speaking, you intend to get them off the couch and give them a Christmas break they won’t forget.

DREAM UP SOME INDOOR ACTIVITIES
Start a Scrapbooking Tradition. Remembering Christmas Day – and all your family’s holiday gatherings – will be more fun when you view the event’s photographs. So, invite the kids to create a scrapbook of this year’s festivities. After you print out the best pictures, set up a table with paper, markers, and lots of decorative supplies. Include child-friendly materials such as glitter and stickers. Then, let the kids’ imaginations run wild, and encourage them to unveil the result during a special family dinner.

Design an Indoor Painting Studio. Painting seems to unleash the creativity in everybody – regardless of their age. Kids seem to especially enjoy this art form. Turn a spare room into a painting studio, covering the space with plastic and removing any objects you’d like to keep spatter-free. Then, equip your young artists with washable paint and large paper sheets. Provide a space where they can proudly display their finished artwork.

Set Up a Kids’ Talent Show. Everybody enjoys a family talent show, especially if there are prizes involved. So, announce that you’ll host a family talent night where each child can showcase their performance skills. Singing, dancing, feats of strength – it’s all on the table. Encourage the kids to practice beforehand, and award a special prize to the winner(s). Take video of the occasion, and watch it again over a family pizza party.

Host a Living Room Campout. Although camping in the woods is off limits during the winter, kids will enjoy a living room camp-out just as much. Announce the trip in advance, and set up your tent (or make one with blankets and chairs) in a corner of the living room. If space doesn’t permit, move the event to the family room. Plan some kid-friendly campfire games, tell stories, and make s’mores on the stove while you stay toasty warm.

GET OUT IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Explore Your Local Library. Although you might not realize it, your nearby library is full of hidden treasures. Besides books, you’ll find music and movies suitable for all ages. Even better, the library has many comfortable chairs (and very likely a kids’ reading section), so you and the youngsters can enjoy some quality reading time while you’re there.

For a change of pace, send the kids on a library-based scavenger hunt. In other words, they must find several books written on a given topic or destination. Each child receives points for every book they score. The child with the most points wins a highly desirable prize.

Embark on a Museum Visit. In downtown Murphy, NC, the Cherokee County Historical Museum can help kids connect to the area’s history while offering up a bounty of fascinating artifacts. In fact, the Museum features a 5,000-piece Native American artifact collection, with each item found in Cherokee County.

The Cherokee County Historical Museum is conveniently located at 89 Peachtree Street, near the courthouse and police station. When you arrive, take note of the bear and eagle figures near the entrance. Ask a museum docent about the animals’ role in Cherokee County history.

Put On Your Volunteer Hats. When kids (and adults) become consumed with holiday activities, needs of elderly or less-fortunate neighbors can fade into the background. To focus on what really matters, introduce children and teens to age-appropriate volunteer work. You’ll enjoy sharing the experience, and your kids might receive satisfaction from helping others.

In Cherokee County, numerous non-profit groups would appreciate your (and perhaps the kids’) help. As another option, offer to make meals (or run errands) for an elderly or under-the-weather neighbor. If you find a good fit, arrange a regular volunteer stint for you and the youngsters.

HIT THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Enjoy a Winter Nature Walk. If the weather cooperates, bundle up the kids and head out for a forest nature walk. Keep your young companions’ interest by giving them a purpose for their trek. For example, ask them to find different types of trees or bird calls. When you get home, research their finds via the Internet. Enjoy viewing the tree photos or listening to bird calls over hot chocolate.

Begin a Birdfeeding Hobby. With plants and seeds in winter hibernation, birds have a tough time finding food. So, provide them with some tasty snacks by making a batch of bird seed cookies. Find your recipes on the Internet, and ask the kids to help you hang the treats in your backyard. After watching your avian visitors flock to their winter feast, identify each species with a bird book or via Internet research.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Come Enjoy These Murphy, NC Christmas Celebrations

The Poltrock Team Gets their 2016 Float ready for the Murphy NC Christmas Parade
The Poltrock Team Gets their 2016 Float ready for the Murphy NC Christmas Parade

Good old-fashioned Christmas celebrations just never go out of style. You circle the date on the calendar, pile the family into the car, and head to your town center to view the annual Christmas parade. Or, maybe you gather at a local church for a special musical program or Live Nativity experience. Here in Murphy, NC, we’re lucky to have several community holiday events during the month of December. So round up your family and friends, and make this a Christmas season you’ll remember for years.

Friday December 2 at 6 p.m.
Town of Murphy: Lighting of the Tree

Murphy’s town square will again host its much-anticipated “Lighting of the Tree” event. This family-friendly program includes children’s music and dance groups, and the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a kids’ Jingle Bell Walk. To cap off this memorable evening, Santa Claus will arrive on a festive-looking fire truck. Busy Valley River Avenue will be closed for the evening, giving everyone plenty of room to enjoy the fun.

Saturday Dec. 3 at 11:00 a.m., Sunday Dec. 4 at 7:00 p.m., and Monday Dec. 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Murphy First Baptist Church
: 40th Annual Singing Christmas Tree

517 Hiwassee Street
, Murphy, NC
Share in a community Christmas tradition by viewing the Murphy First Baptist Church’s Annual Singing Christmas Tree. Now in its 40th year, the Tree features a “Find Us Faithful” theme presented by about 45 talented singers positioned on a 40-foot-high tree. While you listen to favorite songs from the Tree’s history, you can watch the Christmas story unfold before your eyes.

To create the Singing Christmas Tree, volunteers spent considerable time building and assembling the tree inside the church. Singers devoted many hours to rehearsals, blending their voices into soaring melodies and harmonies. Everyone’s hard work culminates in a memorable Christmas musical event you’ll want to experience every year.

Saturday December 3 at 2 p.m.
Murphy Hometown Christmas Parade

Bundle up the family, and get ready to enjoy a wonderful small-town Christmas parade. Beginning at the Valley Village Shopping Center, the parade route winds through downtown Murphy, ending at First Baptist Church across from McDonald’s. Choose your favorite vantage point, bring some chairs and hot chocolate, and prepare to experience some old-fashioned family fun.

Although parade participants vary every year, you’re likely to see marching units and floats sponsored by children’s groups, non-profit organizations, and local businesses. This year, The Poltrock Team will join in the fun, waving to parade-goers from the team’s “Santa’s Workshop” float. Come on out and greet them!

Friday December 16 & Saturday December 17 from 6 -8 p.m. (Drive Through)
Shepherd of the Mountains Church: Live Nativity

Providence Lane, Murphy, NC
With a calendar full of holiday parties, gift buying, and cookie baking, it’s easy to forget the real meaning of Christmas. Fortunately, Murphy’s Shepherd of the Mountains Church reminds us of the enduring value of the Christmas story, presenting a Live Nativity on its Murphy, NC campus every year since 2013.

Given as a community ministry, Shepherd Church’s Live Nativity re-creates the Christmas story using characters such as wise men, shepherds, angels, and even live barnyard animals. The much-loved manger scene is the highlight of the experience. This year, view the Live Nativity while you stay warm and comfortable in your vehicle. Note: The Live Nativity is free of charge, but donations are accepted.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Choosing Your Special Family Christmas Tree

treesPicking out that special Christmas tree can turn into a fun family excursion. You put on jeans and boots, pile in the car or truck, and head to the Christmas tree lot of your choice. While you’re there, you’ll probably walk past dozens of likely candidates, looking for one that’s just the right size and shape. You’ll know the perfect tree when you find it, and you know the lights and decorations will make it look even better. Here in our mountain community, you have two outstanding Christmas tree sources – one just a stone’s throw from downtown Murphy, NC. So clear a spot in the house, retrieve your tree stand from storage, and get ready to add some Christmas spirit to your home!

ROTARY CLUB OF MURPHY, NC
If you like to continue annual traditions – and want to help out a worthwhile cause – consider purchasing your fresh-cut Christmas tree from the Rotary Club of Murphy. This well-known service organization focuses on projects that benefit our local community, and the Rotary’s Christmas tree sales help to provide funds for those programs.

Finding the Rotary’s Christmas tree sales operation is easy, as the group sets up shop in the same location every year. As you turn off Highway 64 (also called the four-lane) into the Murphy Ingles shopping center, you can’t miss the cluster of Christmas trees opposite the Taco Bell restaurant. Every day from 1:00-5:30, you’ll find a friendly Rotary volunteer ready to help you select a tree to give your home that special holiday glow.

SOUTHERN TREE PLANTATION, INC.
There’s nothing like getting your Christmas tree from an old-fashioned tree farm. If that sounds appealing, take a short drive to Southern Tree Plantation, located at 2226 Owltown Road in nearby Blairsville, Georgia. (706) 745-0601. From November 30th through December 23rd, visit the farm Monday through Friday from 1:00-5:30. Saturday hours are 10:00-5:30, and Sunday hours are 1:00-5:30.

At Southern Tree Plantation, you can choose and cut your own Christmas tree, or ask a tree farm employee to handle the tree cutting work. The farm offers several popular tree varieties, such as Canaan Fir (West Virginia balsam fir), Fraser Fir, Blue Spruce, or Norway Spruce. After you nail down your tree purchase, check out Southern Tree Plantation’s slate of family activities, available on both weekend days.

First, hop aboard the farm’s haywagon, and take a fun family hayride. You’ll meander through 60 acres of beautiful mountain country, and enjoy peaceful river and creek views. Or, try to outsmart the brand-new, super-tough wooden barnyard maze.

For younger children, Southern Tree Plantation offers weekend pony rides aboard the farm’s friendly little steeds. Or, maybe the kids would enjoy a trip on the Southern Tree Express, the new miniature train that runs on a road track. After you wrap up all the activities, gather the family for a visit to the marshmallow roasting station, where you can savor some tasty morsels while swapping tall tales.

Whether you snag your Christmas tree in Murphy, NC, or head over to Blairsville, GA to make your purchase, throw a family tree decorating party when you get home. Break out the hot cider and hot chocolate, and munch on mouthwatering cookies while you string the garland and hang the ornaments. Then, stand back and let the ooh’s and aah’s begin!

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Murphy’s Chophouse Offers Steak and Seafood with a Fine-Dining Feel

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-8-12-10-pmIf you’re in the mood for a nice, juicy steak, but you don’t want to drive two hours to a big-city steakhouse, head over to Murphy’s Chophouse for a tasty meal that satisfies your palate. Conveniently located in the town of Murphy, NC, the Chophouse is just downhill from the First United Methodist Church, after you round the curve heading away from downtown. Murphy’s Chophouse offers lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and serves up a Sunday brunch that combines classic breakfast dishes with tempting lunch bites. In other words, you can enjoy a Chophouse meal during any time of day.

When you arrive at Murphy’s Chophouse, you’ll see a white stucco-style building with crisp brown trim. During the warmer months, you can enjoy your drinks and meals on the inviting patio, located just outside the restaurant’s front door. If you’d prefer to dine indoors, the Chophouse’s warm gold walls and brown furniture complement the casual atmosphere.

Now, let’s get to the most important topic: the food. First, open up the enticing lunchtime menu, where you’ll find tasty appetizers, soups, and salads. Choose from three Chophouse burgers (including a bison bacon cheeseburger), or browse the extensive sandwich menu. For a change of pace, try a specialty plate, such as a smoked ham and cheddar quiche, fish and chips, or even a flame-grilled rib eye steak. Several gluten-free items are also available.

Next, let’s say you’ve arrived for an early bird dinner, served Monday through Thursday from 4 -5 p.m. Or, maybe you prefer to dine a bit later in the evening. Either way, the Chophouse’s fine-dining dinner menu offers plenty of tempting choices. Begin with an appetizer, hearty soup, or main-dish salad.

Next, satisfy your palate with a USDA beef selection, such as a filet mignon or slow-roasted prime rib. Or, select a fresh seafood entree, such as a shellfish platter, bacon-wrapped jumbo scallops, or Carolina mountain trout. Don’t forget the specialty selections, including the grilled quail and venison sausage and chicken scallopini. Two vegetarian pasta dishes are also available.

Best of all, you can top off your satisfying dinner with a delectable dessert. If you’re a chocolate fan, try the five-layer “Extreme Dream” dark chocolate cake. Or, consider the hot chocolate-caramel turtle cake and rich, creamy cheesecake. For a lighter touch, choose a tasty ice cream or sherbet. Enjoy your dessert with a cup of steaming hot coffee.

If you’ve always been a Sunday brunch fan, come enjoy the Chophouse’s signature brunch experience. Served from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the restaurant’s sumptuous brunch includes traditional favorites such as Eggs Benedict and stuffed French toast, along with omelets and Sunday chopped steak.

Finally, if you’re searching for a private dining venue in Murphy, NC, Murphy’s Chophouse makes a very attractive choice. Whether you’re hosting a business meeting, greeting friends at a social get-together, or planning a wedding reception, the restaurant’s event planning staff can seamlessly coordinate the occasion. Customized menus, along with an award-winning wine list, make Murphy’s Chophouse an appealing option for a full range of events.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Cherokee County Wedding Venues Offer Scenic Mountain Beauty and Rustic Charm

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 7.05.11 PMPlanning the perfect wedding is like organizing a bigger, fancier birthday party. For the wedding, you’ll probably have a longer guest list, along with more extravagant decorations and nicer party favors. And instead of a sheet cake from the supermarket’s bakery, you’ll spring for a three-tiered masterpiece from a specialty baker. Before you can make your wedding plans a reality, though, you must select a site for the festivities. Here in Cherokee County, choose from three scenic ceremony and/or reception locations, along with one vintage rustic venue right in downtown Murphy, NC.

Hawkesdene Estate (Andrews, NC)
First, check out the beautiful Hawkesdene Estate, located at 381 Phillips Creek Road in Andrews. Just a short drive from Murphy, this 36-acre private estate offers gorgeous gardens, fruit trees, pastures, woodlands, and nicely manicured grounds. Nearby nature trails lead to a cooling waterfall and to the Hawkesnest Pavilion, which offers sweeping views of the lush countryside.

If this sounds like a great wedding and reception location, the news gets even better. Whether you want a small, low-key wedding or a grand affair with all the bells and whistles, the Hawkesdene Estate wedding coordinator will gladly honor your wishes.

First, you’ll have exclusive use of the estate on that memorable day. Choose from indoor venues including the main house, cottages, covered bridge, or llama barn. Outdoors, hold the festivities at the open air pavilion, arbor, lawns, or gardens. If you like, switch your onsite ceremony location on your wedding day. In other words, Hawkesdene Estate is a terrific wedding venue, regardless of the weather or season.

McGuire’s Millrace Farm (Murphy, NC)
Next, head over to historic McGuire’s Millrace Farm at 600 Hendrix Road in the Peachtree community. This late 1800s-era farm, nestled among lush green fields and surrounded by dramatic mountains, offers several appealing wedding venues.

For your ceremony, consider the arched foot bridge within the gardens or gather among the sweeping river birches. Or, maybe you’d prefer the scenic arbor backed by rolling pastures and mountains. If you encounter some last-minute bad weather, you can move the entire wedding indoors at no extra cost.

And speaking of indoor venues, McGuire’s Millrace Farm sets the standard for elegant rustic barn weddings. The farm’s 6,600-square-foot barn has polished concrete floors, high ceilings with wrought-iron chandeliers, and nicely built hardwood tables and chairs. For your wedding décor, select antique furnishings such as vintage church pews, oak whiskey barrels, and many more historic accent pieces.

Regardless of your venue choice, you’ll have exclusive use of the farm on your special day. For your reception, the farm’s award-winning chef can prepare a tasty Southern barbeque or produce a lavish five-course dinner – it’s your choice. Finally, your dedicated Event Planner will help you execute the entire event, leaving you free to celebrate the occasion with your guests.

Hackney Warehouse (Murphy, NC)
This downtown Murphy venue is easy to find, as it’s next to the L&N Depot on Hiwassee Street (although the Warehouse’s official address is 11 Railroad Street). Built in 1911, this expansive brick building has been fully renovated, and is available for weddings and receptions.

The Hackney Warehouse features more than 4,000 square feet of indoor space and 3,200 square feet of courtyard space. With a fully equipped kitchen, reclaimed timber banquet tables, and performance stages, this rustic-themed venue is a popular wedding reception choice. Two Certified Wedding Planners and two Certified Venue Professionals are onsite, helping you to plan and execute your dream wedding.

Payne Meadows (west of Murphy, NC)
Just a short drive from Murphy on US Highway 64 (also called the four-lane), you’ll find Payne Meadows, 38 acres of hilly pasture land that sits alongside a briskly running stream. Ideal for rustic barn weddings and destination weddings, this popular venue offers three distinctive event packages, each with a few more perks.

Payne Meadows’ basic Package 1 includes single-day use of the farmhouse, barn, fields, and creek, with an onsite reception. Package 2 includes all Package 1 amenities, along with lodging on the night before and night after the wedding, plus an onsite reception. Package 3 includes use of the above spaces for two full days: the full day of the wedding and an additional full day before or after the big event, plus two nights of lodging and an onsite reception. Visit the venue’s website for complete details and pricing information.

With several appealing wedding ceremony and reception venues, all convenient to Murphy, NC, you might enjoy the selection process almost as much as the actual event. So grab your camera and notepad, and kick-start your wedding plans today.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Murphy’s River Walk Offers Riverfront Views and Relaxation

fd3c9b017b902d574fbfb61a3a9c9b99There’s nothing quite like traveling the Murphy River Walk. Whether you’re embarking on a morning wakeup jaunt, shaking off the stress from your workday, or helping your canine companion to burn off some steam, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy the trip.

This three-mile walking trail is located smack in the middle of Murphy, NC, and meanders from Konehete Park all the way to the historic L&N Depot. Along the route, you’ll see lots of native plants, and maybe a few birds and fish. You might even encounter your friends, neighbors, or coworkers. In other words, you never know who (or what) you’ll find along the River Walk.

Explore the River Walk by Land and Water
The Murphy River Walk came on the scene in 2003, with organizers launching the first of several trail sections. In 2016, the now-completed trail follows the Valley and Hiwassee Rivers as they converge into part of Lake Hiwassee. With three convenient trailheads, you can pick up the walkway at one of several in-town locations. Choose Konehete Park’s ball fields or the nearby Pool/Wellness Center, the Cherokee County Health Department on Hilton Street, or the L&N Depot at the river bridge.

If you’d rather travel the trail by water, you’ll find canoe and kayak put-ins on nearby Payne Street, along with Hiwassee Street just past the River Walk trail. In fact, paddling the river route completely changes your perspective, so we recommend trying it at least once.

Enjoy the River Walk’s Many Surprises
As you might expect, the River Walk’s scenery includes native trees, shrubs, and plants that you’d see throughout Cherokee County. As seasons change, so do the trail’s colors, eventually giving way to winter’s browns and grays. The river and lake water levels also vary with the seasons, as the Tennessee Valley Authority (or TVA) manages its power generation and recreation priorities.

Besides the naturally occurring greenery, the Murphy River Walk offers visitors a few more pleasant surprises. For example, you’ll see native landscaping courtesy of a local nursery, plus directional signs crafted of reclaimed cedar from a tree lost in Murphy’s 2012 tornado.

In 2015, River Walk fans cheered the addition of an outdoor performance pavilion behind the L&N Depot and Old Hackney Warehouse. Also during 2015, the TVA completed a sturdy covered bridge connecting the main trail with the Fisherman’s Loop. After the bridge was finished, the River Walk’s many volunteers stepped in to maintain it.

The Secret of the River Walk’s Success
Believe it or not, the Murphy River Walk is the result of a wildly successful public/private partnership. Managed by the non-profit Heritage Partners, the River Walk gets ongoing support from the Town of Murphy, Cherokee County Tourism Development Authority, the TVA, several non-profit and educational groups, and many private contributors.

Of course, the River Walk’s volunteer project managers and onsite volunteers keep the effort running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, don’t be surprised to encounter a trail maintenance crew somewhere along the route, during any time of year. Thanks to these energetic folks, and the River Walk’s many supporters, getting “back to nature” in Murphy, NC just got a whole lot easier.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

October Festivals Showcase Our Mountains at Their Best

12144917_10204943336533151_2109561467051670827_nOur mountains’ gorgeous fall weather and colorful leaves make a picture-perfect setting for outdoor get-togethers. Throughout our tri-state region, community groups of all stripes have cooked up their own fall-themed festivals throughout the month of October. In fact, you’ll find several of these popular events just a stone’s throw from Murphy, NC. So pile your family into the car and head out for some classic October weekend fun.

Folk School Fall Festival: October 1 and 2
The John C. Campbell Folk School Fall Festival is the granddaddy of all fall celebrations, marking its 42nd anniversary in 2016. Always held on the first weekend in October, this year’s Fall Festival takes place on October 1 and 2 from 10-5. To get there, take a short ride to the school’s Brasstown, North Carolina campus, and find a parking spot in the gently rolling pasture near the school’s entrance.

Inside the Fall Festival, you’ll find over 240 fine craftspeople who have created enticing items for you to purchase. Think colorful woven scarves, handcrafted goat’s milk soaps, and recycled metal yard art, for starters. Many vendors are located along the school’s tree-lined paths, while others set up shop in nearby buildings.

For a change of pace, watch more than 40 artisans showcase traditional and contemporary crafts, including blacksmithing and quilting. Listen to the full range of live music on two stages, and satisfy your taste buds with sandwiches, snacks, and desserts. Kids will head toward the pony rides and alpaca petting zoo, and the entire family will enjoy the Humane Society’s pet adoption booth. In other words, the Fall Festival has something for everybody.

Oktoberfest in Andrews: October 8
If you’ve never visited Andrews, North Carolina, the town’s first Oktoberfest provides the perfect reason to check out this little mountain town. Located just a few minutes’ drive from Murphy along the four-lane (also known as US Highway 19/74), Andrews is smack in the middle of the most gorgeous mountain scenery around.

This year, Andrews is throwing its first Oktoberfest, set for Saturday October 8 from 2-8 p.m. in Hall Park on First Street. Andrews’ Oktoberfest is sponsored by three notable town businesses that specialize in fine libations. The Andrews Brewing Co., Calaboose Cellars, and Hoppy Trout Brewing Company have banded together to offer this appealing event.

As you might expect, the Oktoberfest offers lots of tasty food, along with beer and wine on tap. As you listen to live music, browse local crafters’ tables while keeping your holiday gift list in mind. Chances are, you’ll enjoy yourself so much that Andrews’ Oktoberfest will be on your “must do” list for next year.

Punkin Chunkin Weekend: October 14-16
If you’ve never been to a Punkin Chunkin, you’re in for an experience you won’t forget. This landmark fall event, sponsored by the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, is spread throughout an entire weekend. The festivities are set in and around Hayesville, North Carolina, not far from Murphy.

The fun begins on Friday October 14 at 6:00 p.m., when the “Anything Pumpkin or Chili Cooking Contest” gets underway on Hayesville’s historic town square. Contestants can submit entries in categories such as appetizers, entrees, soups and stews, sweets, breads, sauces, and beverages. Chances are, you can snag some samples before casting your vote for the winning recipes.

Of course, you don’t want to miss the actual Punkin Chunkin, which takes place on October 15 and 16. To attend this iconic competition, head out to the Payne property on Settawig Road in nearby Brasstown. The grounds are open on Saturday from 10 to 6 and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Plenty of parking is available.

Once you get there, enjoy live music and games, and browse the craft vendors and exhibits. If you’re feeling adventurous, take on the rock climbing wall, zip line, or mechanical bull. To get a bird’s eye view of the festivities, take an airplane ride from the onsite flying field.

Finally, the famous Punkin Chunkin gets underway, with the first heats on Saturday and the final rounds on Sunday. Teams compete in the youth, teen, and adult categories. The highly energetic contestants hurl pumpkins for maximum distance, with coveted bragging rights for the winners.

As a spectator (watching from a safe distance), you might see pumpkins propelled by catapults, torsion catapults, trebuchets, compressed air devices, or human-powered launchers. As you might expect, the rules are rather loose: The pumpkin must stay intact until it slams on the ground, and combustibles are completely off limits. When the competition concludes, and the winners receive their awards, you can head back to Murphy, NC to compare notes over a tasty meal.

So, what are you waiting for? Put one (or all) of these enticing seasonal events on your calendar, and get ready to enjoy our beautiful North Carolina mountains in their fall finery. We might see you out there!

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Canopy Tours Give You a Bird’s Eye View of the Mountains

nanty-zip-photo-400x250If you’ve ever wanted to escape the clutches of gravity, and rocket through the trees like a hungry hawk chasing his dinner, consider taking a “canopy tour” through a nearby mountain forest. Provided through specially equipped outfitters, this adrenaline-fueled experience begins when you climb to the top of a high platform. Next, a trained “tour guide” securely harnesses you to a long steel cable (or zipline) that’s strung between a series of trees.

After pushing off the platform, you’ll cruise through the forest canopy far above the ground, and arrive at the next platform for a repeat performance. Whether you fly over the forest floor, sweep along a river, or get a panoramic view of the mountains, it’s an experience you won’t forget. Fortunately, you can find some top-notch canopy tours within easy driving distance of Murphy, NC. So choose an enticing tour, pile your family or friends into the car, and get ready to enjoy some quality air time!

RIDGE RUNNER ZIPLINES
750 Wakefield Road, Andrews, NC. 828-421-8119.

RidgeRunner Ziplines is located right in Cherokee County, with its Andrews basecamp just minutes away from downtown Murphy and the Nantahala Gorge. RidgeRunner offers eleven ziplines and a suspension bridge, with some sections 80 feet above the forest floor.

You’ll begin your two-hour tour at the top of a scenic mountain. Two capable guides will harness you up and provide a helmet and leather gloves. Next, you’ll get some “ground school” basics, giving you the confidence to safely operate the ziplines. Note that each time you reach a new platform, the guides will make all your trolley and safety line connections.

Finally, you’ll push away from the platform and fly through the forest. While you’ll travel at a good clip, you’ll be in a great position to enjoy many sights and sounds you can’t see from the ground. When your zipline adventure ends, you’ll be back at RidgeRunner’s basecamp – giving you the perfect opportunity to swap stories over lunch or dinner in nearby Andrews.

NANTAHALA GORGE CANOPY TOURS AND KID ZIP!
Located at Wildwater Nantahala, 10345 Highway 19 South/74 West, Bryson City, NC. Reservations: 866-319-8870.
Local: 828-488-2384.

Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours and KidZip! are affiliated with the adjacent Wildwater Nantahala rafting operation. This Nantahala River Gorge complex, located in nearby Swain County, also includes lodgings for families and groups.

Adult Zipline Canopy Tour
The 20-acre adult zipline course features 13 ziplines (including 4 side-by-side ziplines) and eight aerial bridges.
Your three-hour tour begins with “ground school,” where you’ll learn about zipline travel and get comfortable with some easier ziplines. Next, you’ll jump right into the canopy tour, traversing high platforms and getting up close and personal with sky-high trees.

While cruising through the course, you’ll enjoy views of waterfalls, gorgeous Fontana Lake, and even Clingman’s Dome in the distance. If visibility permits, you might be rewarded with a 50-mile mountain view.

KidZip!
If your family includes children from 4-12 years old, and they’re chafing at the bit for their own zipline adventure, KidZip! can treat them to a super-fun two-hour experience. They’ll begin with their own “ground school” session, and then tackle 13 zipline sections targeted to different skill levels. A continuous cable-and-roller system means no clipping and unclipping, allowing the kids to soak up the action with minimal interruptions.

The KidZip! Course includes several tree-based platforms, along with eight climbing challenges, giving your young adventurers a run for their money. In fact, if they really race through the course, they can tackle it again and again within the two hours.

Depending on your child’s age, you might be required to accompany them on the course or serve as a course-side chaperone. Check the KidZip! website for details.

OCOEE ZIPZ
1985 Highway 64, Old Copper Road, Benton, TN. Reservations: 1-877-7ZIP ZIP (1-877-794-7947).

If the Land of Oz sounds like a good zipline destination, Ocoee Zipz will be glad to take you there. Located on 40 acres along the scenic Ocoee River in east Tennessee, this seven-zipline operation offers two hours of Wizard of Oz-themed fun.

Each Oz-friendly zipline highlights one of the major characters in the famous movie. Ocoee Zipz’s certified Flying Monkey Guides will lead your adventure, giving you the basics of zipline safety and brake training before you take to the skies.

Ocoee Zipz offers Land of Oz tours on weekends all year ’round, with private tours available on weekdays. Make your reservations on the Ocoee Zipz website.

Dressing for Your Canopy/Zipline Tour
Although each canopy tour company has its own guidelines, follow these general tips for maximum safety and comfort. First, while zipping through the canopy will be highly addictive fun, you’ll wreck your feet by braking with sandals or flip-flops. So, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended and might be mandatory.

Next, long pants or longer shorts, plus a collared shirt, will help prevent potential chafing problems from your harness and seat. If you have long hair, tie it back so it won’t tangle in the zipline gear. And leave your mobile phones in the car.

Why Good Physical Conditioning Matters
Your canopy/zipline tour will involve considerable air time, but you’ll also be expected to complete short hikes and/or stair climbs between platforms. To minimize your risks, and increase your enjoyment of the trip, you should be in reasonably good physical shape. Also, remember that your weight will affect your momentum along the ziplines. Finally, check your tour operator’s regulations about riding with existing injuries, or attempting the trip while pregnant.

Avoiding That “Lost in the Mountains” Look
When driving to your canopy/zipline tour destination, remember that some Internet mapping and/or vehicle GPS systems get their signals scrambled in our rural locations. To lessen the chances of getting completely lost, bring along a printout of the operator’s directions to the site.

After finishing your high-energy canopy tour, swap stories and photos over a tasty meal in downtown Murphy, NC. Then, make plans for a return trip while the thrill is fresh in your mind.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Mountain Biking Trails Offer Workouts with a “Wow” Factor

Tsali TrailsIf you’re a dedicated off-road bicycling fan, and you’re looking for scenic new spots to explore, load up your mountain bike and head to our western North Carolina mountains. If you’re already here, get ready to ride, because you’ve got three mountain biking hotspots not far from Murphy, NC.

Whether you’re an experienced mountain biker looking for new challenges, or are just dipping your toes into this addictive sport, you’ll find trails that match your skill level. Even better, most mountain biking trails include rest stops equipped with restrooms and picnic areas. So grab your bike and gear, and get ready to soak up some gorgeous views while you enjoy an energetic workout.

Cherokee County: Hanging Dog Recreation Area
Just five miles from downtown Murphy, you’ll find Hanging Dog Recreation Area, which borders beautiful Hiwassee Lake. This nearby destination is popular with day trippers and overnight campers, and also offers several mountain biking trails.

If you’ve racked up some previous mountain biking time, try the moderately difficult Ramsey Bluff Mountain Biking System. You’ll wind through eight miles of challenging trails, pedaling yourself silly while you burn some serious calories. On the plus side, you’ll be rewarded with enticing lake views.

Directions: From Murphy, drive roughly five miles on State Road (SR) 1326. Turn left onto SR 1447, and continue for about a mile. You’ll find parking and recreation facilities at the end of this road.

Graham County: Tsali Recreation Area
Mountain bikers nationwide flock to this well-known recreation area, named for a Cherokee Indian who once called this region home. Located in the Nantahala National Forest near Robbinsville, Tsali offers four moderately difficult mountain biking trails ranging from 4 to nearly 14 miles in length. Trails are open all year ’round, and the parking area is adjacent to restrooms.

Tsali’s single-track trails are hard packed from regular use, and they’re known for providing a fast, adrenaline-fueled ride. Depending on your chosen route, you might enjoy views of beautiful Fontana Lake or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during your trip. However, you shouldn’t encounter horses, as the narrow trails cater to mountain bikers and horseback riders on different days of the week.

Directions: From Robbinsville, drive east on State Highway 143 until you reach the Highway 28 junction. Turn right at the stop sign, and go south on Highway 28 for about 8.4 miles. The Tsali Recreation Area entrance will be on the north side (left) of the road, and has good signage. About 1.5 miles from the entrance, you’ll see a parking area, with a short walk to several trailheads.

Clay County: Jackrabbit Mountain Trails
At the other end of Nantahala National Forest, near Hayesville,  you’ll find Jackrabbit Mountain campground. In 2011, mountain biking fans celebrated the opening of the 14-mile Jackrabbit mountain biking trail network, located a stone’s throw from the campground facilities.

Built expressly for mountain biking, the Jackrabbit trails collectively form a “stacked loop” configuration. The mostly fast trails wind along Lake Chatuge’s shores, and you’ll also travel your share of rolling hills. You’ll find easy trails catering to beginning riders and kids, while advanced mountain bikers will enjoy challenging climbs and rock features. However, you won’t have to contend with horses, as Jackrabbit’s trails are off limits to equine users.

Because Jackrabbit’s trails are located at a lower elevation with more sun exposure, you might work up a sweat during your warm-season rides. Pack plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. After you finish the trip, rejuvenate yourself at the trailhead’s picnic tables, and take advantage of the basic restroom facilities.

Directions: Start your trip in Murphy at the US Highway 19/74/129 intersection with US Highway 64 East (the new 64 Bypass). Travel US Highway 64 East for 18.9 miles. After you pass Hayesville, turn right on NC Highway 175 South.

Drive 0.9 miles, and turn right to stay on NC Highway 175, crossing a long one-lane concrete bridge over part of Lake Chatuge. Go 2.5 miles, and turn right onto Jack Rabbit Road. Drive 250 feet, and bear left to stay on Jack Rabbit Road. Look for the signed parking area on the left. You’ll also see the campground straight ahead, at the end of Jack Rabbit Road.

Learn More About These Mountain Biking Hotspots
For more details on these mountain biking destinations, plus other western North Carolina mountain biking hotspots, check out the United States Forest Service website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/nfsnc/recreation/bicycling/?recid=48112&actid=24.

With three enticing places to take your mountain bike, your biggest decision is which one to choose first. And after you conquer that challenge, travel back to Murphy, NC and swap stories and photos over a tasty dinner. Chances are, you’ll begin planning your next bike ride before you’re finished with dessert!

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team