Total Solar Eclipse Brings Epic Viewing Experience Near Murphy, NC

Watching the August 21 Total Solar Eclipse was like opening a highly anticipated present on Christmas morning. For several weeks (even months) ahead, we read about this rare natural phenomenon. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, completely blocking the Sun’s light and briefly turning day into night. During the August 21 event, viewers in a nationwide 70-mile-wide swath would enjoy the maximum effect. Here in Brasstown, the spectacle began at 1:05 p.m. EDT in a clear, hot day dotted by puffy clouds.

As we settled into our Brasstown, North Carolina viewing spot (just a few miles from Murphy, NC), we kept our eclipse viewing glasses and water bottles close at hand. Every few minutes, we slipped on the glasses and gazed at the Sun, watching the Moon’s slow migration across the brilliant white sphere. First, the Moon’s effect was barely noticeable; however, the Sun’s circular shape gradually transformed into an ever-shrinking crescent as the sky darkened around us. Shadows began to appear, and the surrounding landscape took on the colors of twilight.

As the total eclipse (or “Totality”) crept closer, we noticed a drop in temperature, with some observers noting that it felt 10 degrees cooler. Shortly before the magic moment, our environment grew very still, with birds flying up to their nighttime roosts and crickets chirping in the distance. A rooster also began to crow, likely convinced that the “twilight” meant it was time to begin a new day.

Finally, at 2:34 p.m. EDT, we experienced “Totality” in Brasstown, with a dark twilight taking over the forested landscape as the Moon completely covered the Sun. This amazing spectacle lasted only 2 minutes 26 seconds, giving us just enough time to enjoy the view before a sliver of sunlight peeked from behind the Moon’s shadow. When that occurred, we quickly donned our eclipse glasses to safely enjoy the rest of the show. Watching for more than an hour, we saw the Moon continue its path across the Sun, with daylight and warmer temperatures gradually returning as well.

Finally, the Great American Eclipse was over, not to return nationwide for many years. As we swapped viewing experiences and sipped cold drinks, we marveled at this stunning solar extravaganza that had unfolded right before our eyes. This was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime event, made for sharing with family and friends across the country. Even better, we had experienced it from peaceful Brasstown, just a stone’s throw from Murphy, NC in a beautiful little corner of the world.

Your Guide to Murphy, NC and Andrews, NC Fourth of July Celebrations

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration. Families come together for cookouts, enjoy community festivals, and then gather to watch some amazing fireworks – often in their local community. Here in Cherokee County, we’re fortunate to have some terrific Fourth of July events in Murphy, NC and nearby Andrews. Read on for a snapshot of both towns’ Fourth of July festivities.

MURPHY, NC FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION IN KONEHETA PARK
492 Connahetta Street, across from the Hiwassee Valley Pool & Wellness Center
Again this year, Murphy’s popular Koneheta Park will host the town’s annual Fourth of July Celebration. Throughout the day, food vendors will serve up tasty hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwursts, pork barbeque, and kettle corn. When you’re ready for dessert, nosh on a funnel cake or sno-cone. After you satisfy your stomach, browse a good selection of locally made crafts.

If you’re looking for good family-friendly entertainment, you’ll find enticing activities for both children and adults. Kids will enjoy the face painting station, and they’ll burn off some energy on the jumping toys. Or, enter your youngster(s) in the kids’ fishing derby.

For adults, the horseshoe tournament offers some good-natured competition with friends and others from your community. Plus, read on for details of several events that will attract visitors of all ages. Then, cap off your Fourth of July celebration with live music and a memorable fireworks display. Continue reading “Your Guide to Murphy, NC and Andrews, NC Fourth of July Celebrations”

4 Tips for Banishing Bugs from Your Murphy, NC Backyard Barbecues and Cookouts

Summer’s nice warm weather and extended daylight hours make a perfect setting for outdoor barbeques and cookouts. You invite your family and friends, and everyone enjoys some grilled burgers, hot dogs, or chicken along with tasty side dishes and ice cold beverages. These informal get-togethers have become one of your favorite summer activities.

Unfortunately, some unwelcome visitors have crashed your guest list. Pesky flies and yellowjackets, most prevalent during the warmer months, often flock to events where food is present. And right around sunset, annoying mosquitoes make an appearance, whining around your head and often biting you multiple times. However, you can minimize your encounters with these obnoxious (and often hazardous) visitors. These 4 useful tips will help to banish the bugs from your outdoor feasts. Continue reading “4 Tips for Banishing Bugs from Your Murphy, NC Backyard Barbecues and Cookouts”

Outdoor Kitchens Provide Your Murphy, NC Home with All-Season Entertaining Options

When it comes to fun summer get-togethers, grilling hot dogs and burgers with family and friends just can’t be beat. You fire up the family bbq, smokers, charcoal or propane grill in the backyard, fill a table with tasty sides and desserts, and sip sweet tea or a cold one while you relax in a comfortable chair.

After Labor Day Weekend, however, the summer bbq often winds down and everyone moves inside for the season. But with a nicely equipped outdoor kitchen, you can enjoy many meals outside for most of the year. Learn how to give your Murphy, NC home a pleasant backyard cooking and entertaining space that still fits within your budget.

21st CENTURY OUTDOOR KITCHENS SERVE TWO PURPOSES
Modern outdoor kitchens and grills are a relatively recent phenomenon, gaining prominence during the 2008 recession. Cash-strapped consumers, who started cooking at home to save money, often enjoyed a cookout on the deck or patio. At that time, a grill and basic serving amenities comprised a simple outdoor kitchen. Then, as families sought ways to enhance their home’s value while providing more of a “vacation feel,” they gradually transformed their outdoor kitchens into extended living and entertaining spaces.

Today, new construction and remodeled homes often include some version of an outdoor kitchen. Although the bbq and grills remain popular, this coordinated cooking complex often features stylish countertops and cabinets, plus refrigeration and an onsite sink. Specialty equipment can include a built-in smokers, food warmer, ice maker, and even a nicely equipped bar center. Continue reading “Outdoor Kitchens Provide Your Murphy, NC Home with All-Season Entertaining Options”

Guide to Viewing the Total Solar Eclipse in Murphy, NC

Total Solar Eclipse | Monday August 21, 2017

If you’ve constructed a personal “bucket list,” you might have listed such items as “spend a months time in Australia” or “travel to all 50 states before you turn 50.” Chances are, crossing off some goals would take considerable time, and might also require a healthy budget.

However, you can easily achieve one of your “bucket list” goals on Monday August 21, 2017. If you’re in Murphy, NC (or nearby) on that afternoon, you’ll be a visible spectator for a not-to-be-missed celestial event for the ages: a total solar eclipse. Even better, you’ll be in one of the best viewing spots on Earth. Read on for your guide to this once-in-a-lifetime eclipse.

ENJOY THIS SOLAR ECLIPSE SNAPSHOT
Because most of us haven’t ever seen a solar eclipse, here’s an easy-to-understand explanation of what will happen on August 21, 2017. First, let’s note the timeframe, as the most exciting action will occur in less than 20 minutes. At 2:33 p.m. EDT, the total solar eclipse begins in North Carolina. At 2:49 p.m. EDT, this spectacular cosmic event comes to an end.

In a nutshell, here’s what happens during a solar eclipse, according to NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). First, it’s common knowledge that the Moon orbits the Earth. Sometimes, the Moon’s orbit places it between the Sun and the Earth, preventing (at least some of) the Sun’s light from reaching the Earth. When this happens, a solar eclipse takes place. On August 21, Nasa has confirmed that most of North America will experience a 2-3 hour partial eclipse, in which the Moon partially blocks the Sun’s rays.

Halfway through this total solar eclipse event, millions of people who live within a 70-mile-wide swath from Oregon to South Carolina and peeking into Georgia, will experience a very short visible total eclipse, in which the Moon, in it’s path, will completely blocks the Sun’s rays from view. Depending on your location, the total eclipse will only last a maximum of 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Continue reading “Guide to Viewing the Total Solar Eclipse in Murphy, NC”

Active Murphy, NC Seniors Invited to Senior Games and SilverArts Competitions

With our region’s popularity as a retirement destination, you’ll find plenty of active seniors hiking our mountain trails and strolling the Murphy, NC River Walk with their friends. Others engage their creative spirits with activities such as quilting, painting, or writing.

The annual Cherokee/Clay County Senior Games/SilverArts competition celebrates our older residents’ athletic and artistic accomplishments, and encourages them to keep their bodies, minds, and spirits active. The 2017 Senior Games/SilverArts events will be held from April 29 through May 20, and will take place at several Cherokee and Clay County venues.

SENIOR GAMES/SILVER ARTS THRIVE THROUGHOUT NORTH CAROLINA
When our Senior Games/SilverArts participants compete in their individual events, they’ll have plenty of company statewide. From February through June, you can attend 53 annual Senior Games competitions throughout North Carolina.

These popular events are the brainchild of sponsoring organization North Carolina Senior Games, Inc., launched in 1983 to create an integrated health promotion program for adults 50 years and older. Participants enjoy a sport or art form, culminating in an annual regional competition that’s supported by family, volunteers, and spectators. Continue reading “Active Murphy, NC Seniors Invited to Senior Games and SilverArts Competitions”

8 Tips for Prepping Your Murphy, NC Vegetable Garden: April and May

April’s arrival means our planting season is ramping up, and our Murphy, NC gardeners are immersed in seed starting and vegetable transplanting activities. And with the May 10 “last frost” date fast approaching, planting warm-season veggies is just around the corner. Best of all, dedicated gardeners might already be rewarded with nicely growing cool-season vegetables, planted during February and/or March. To give your plants a good start, and keep them healthy and thriving, here are 8 tips that will set you up for gardening success. 


APRIL

Gardening in April can be like playing a roulette wheel. Much of the time, you can expect warm, sunny weather or spring showers – perfect for growing your vegetable crops. However, a sharp cold front can change everything, giving you freezing temperatures and maybe even a touch of snow. By planning for these wild weather swings, and protecting your garden accordingly, you’ll help your plants survive until May brings more predictable conditions.

Continue Seed-Starting Work: Until mid-April, keep planting your pepper, tomato, and other warm-season vegetable seeds indoors. If you miss that window, plan to direct seed these vegetables right after our region’s May 10 “last frost” date.

Plan Tomato Crop Rotation: Pinpoint a new spot for this year’s tomato crop. By switching up your planting location, you’ll minimize the chances of soil-borne diseases affecting your vegetables. Continue reading “8 Tips for Prepping Your Murphy, NC Vegetable Garden: April and May”

Visit These 4 Scenic Picnic Spots Just a Stone’s Throw from Murphy, NC

Springtime’s warmer weather makes you want to kick up your heels in the great outdoors. Maybe you like hiking in the woods or playing some softball with your friends. Or, you might take the kids for a stroll along the Murphy River Walk. And if you’d enjoy a good old-fashioned family picnic, with a cooler full of sandwiches, sides, and cookies, you’ve got your choice of destinations.

You’ll find one enticing picnic spot in Murphy, NC, and two more in Cherokee County. Just a short drive away, neighboring Clay County offers another option. So get ready to hop in the car and enjoy some fresh air and good food.

Konehete Park: 699 Connehetta Street, Murphy, NC
This expansive community park borders the scenic Valley River, and is jointly operated by the Town of Murphy and Cherokee County. Besides the baseball and soccer fields, you’ll find a nicely maintained picnic area along with a kids’ playground.

After you finish your feast, stroll down to the river and relax on a bench under the trees. Or, burn some calories by exploring the Murphy River Walk, a beautiful 2-mile wooded walking trail that winds along the Valley River and Hiwassee River. Continue reading “Visit These 4 Scenic Picnic Spots Just a Stone’s Throw from Murphy, NC”

3 Fun-Filled Summer Camps for Murphy, NC Kids and Teens

Now that spring is finally here, Murphy, NC students will soon be counting down the weeks until their summer vacation. Although kids and teens might plan to become experts at their favorite video games, or spend weeks hanging out with their friends, their parents would likely choose more constructive activities. In other words, the parents want their children to get off the couch and exercise their bodies and minds during the summer. So, why not send them to summer camp? If that sounds like a good plan, check out three popular camp choices in and near Cherokee County.

NORTH SUNGATE FARMS (Horse Camp)
Murphy, NC. 828-494-2859.

Kids who enjoy horseback riding (or would love to learn) gravitate to this weeklong horse riding summer camp adventure. North Sungate Farms is nestled among beautiful woodlands and meadows near Murphy, North Carolina – a perfect setting for a fun-filled midsummer session. Continue reading “3 Fun-Filled Summer Camps for Murphy, NC Kids and Teens”

6 Spring Cleaning Tips to Make Your Murphy, NC Home Shine

With spring’s arrival just a few weeks away, you’ve got the urge to give your Murphy, NC home a big cosmetic makeover. In other words, you’re gearing up for some serious spring cleaning. To keep from getting overwhelmed by the project ahead, break the work into manageable chunks. Plan to begin with tasks common to each room, and then put the finishing touches on specific parts of the house.

Next, gather your cleaning tools and supplies, plus plenty of paper towels and/or rags. Include a set of sturdy rubber gloves to protect your hands, along with a mask if you’re sensitive to chemical smells. Then, crank up your favorite playlist and give your home some timely TLC before warmer weather begins. Continue reading “6 Spring Cleaning Tips to Make Your Murphy, NC Home Shine”