5 Tips for Planning a Fall & Winter Vegetable Garden in Murphy, NC

Growing vegetables in our Murphy, North Carolina mountains is always an adventure. You’ll encounter wild weather swings, alternating drought and monsoon conditions, and ravenous deer who munch their way through your carefully cultivated garden.

But sometimes, it all comes together and you get an impressive summer harvest of tomatoes, peppers, squash, and lots more tasty vegetables. While you’re basking in the moment, however, note that the fall and winter gardening season is right on the doorstep. With some initial preparation, and careful timing of your plantings, you can enjoy fresh vegetables right up until springtime. Continue reading “5 Tips for Planning a Fall & Winter Vegetable Garden in Murphy, NC”

Enjoy Lake Time & Ice Cream Treats in Murphy, NC

There’s nothing like spending some time at a cool mountain lake near Murphy, NC. You herd the family into the car (or truck), pack a picnic lunch and some sunscreen and cold water, and get ready to chill out for the day. When you arrive, you soak up some fresh mountain air and decide whether you’d like to swim, fish, or do absolutely nothing. And sometime during the afternoon, you decide to top off this splendid day with a delicious ice cream treat. It really doesn’t get much better than this!

So, decide which beautiful mountain lake you’ll visit today. To make your decision easier, you’ll find all three lakes located along Route 294 just a stone’s throw west of Murphy, North Carolina.

CHEROKEE LAKE
Enjoy a good old-fashioned summer picnic at this scenic lakeside spot with plenty of room for everyone. Bring some sandwiches and snacks from town; or pair some grilled burgers and hot dogs with salads and cold drinks. While you dine like kings, enjoy Cherokee Lake’s serene setting, and soak up the peace and quiet.

After lunch and a quick pit stop, stroll the walking trails, or spend a few lazy hours casting your line from the dock. With a current North Carolina fishing license, and equipped a good rod and tackle, you’ll be ready to face off against those crafty, elusive mountain fish.

Directions: Take Highway 64 West, and turn right on Highway 294. Travel just a few miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 313 to enter the Cherokee Lake picnic area.

HIWASSEE LAKE

Scenic Overlook
As mountain lakes go, Hiwassee Lake is pretty impressive. This sprawling lake covers almost 6,100 acres, has nearly 180 miles of winding shoreline, and extends for a generous 22 miles. In other words, you’ll find plenty to see (and plenty of fish) there.

If you enjoy picture-postcard mountain scenery, you’ll have some stunning photo ops here. Hiwassee Lake is completely nestled in the Nantahala National Forest, and the view from the dam-area overlook is simply amazing. The lake stretches on forever, and it’s bordered by miles and miles of wooded shoreline.

Directions to scenic overlook: Take Highway 64 West, and turn right on Highway 294. Travel several miles, and look for the U.S. Forest Service sign on the right.

Water Activities
Now, let’s assume you’d like to do some serious fishing, boating, or water-skiing. Or, you’ve had enough of the hot, steamy weather, and you’d like to splash around the lake to cool off. Or, maybe you want to enjoy a picnic lunch before taking a leisurely hike through the woods. You can access those activities at Hanging Dog Recreation Area, located just an easy drive from Murphy.

Directions to Hanging Dog Recreation Area (from Murphy): Drive about 4 miles northwest on Peachtree Street, which turns into Joe Brown Highway. Look for the entrance to Hiwassee Lake on the left.

APALACHIA LAKE
If you’ve been looking for a serene, unspoiled mountain lake with amazing views, put Apalachia Lake on your “must see” list. This gorgeous 10-mile-long lake feeds into the Hiwassee River, and the Nantahala National Forest is right next door.

As the crow flies, you’re not too far from Hiwassee Lake, but Apalachia Lake has a remote character all its own. With very little shoreline development, and virtually no recreational facilities, Apalachia Lake is one of the purest mountain lake settings you’ll ever find.

If you want to enjoy some laid-back fishing, kayaking, or canoeing, you can take advantage of a convenient launch ramp. Or, you can meander through the woods on a scenic hiking trail. In other words, you make your own fun at Apalachia Lake, and you probably won’t have much company.

Directions: Take Highway 64 West, and turn right on Highway 294. Stay on 294 for quite a distance, and you’ll eventually see the Apalachia Lake turnoff sign.

ENJOY ICE CREAM TREATS AT THE SWEET TOOTH
Wrap up your lake excursion with some delicious ice cream confections from The Sweet Tooth. This incredibly popular family ice cream shop is located at 658 Andrews Road, not far from downtown Murphy, NC. During the summer season, The Sweet Tooth is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This little walk-up ice cream shop has a quirky character, and the building features lots of ice cream-y photos that you can view while waiting for your order. There aren’t any one-size-fits-all ice cream cups here – perish the thought! Instead, you’ll enjoy your own personal ice cream treat that comes with your choice of toppings. So, dig in and enjoy every bite as you reflect on the perfect ending to a great summer day at the lake.

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, NC Spring Festival Offers a Feast for Your Senses

If you’re itching to enjoy some balmy spring air, and you’re up for some lively family fun in historic downtown Murphy, NC, the Murphy Spring Festival is just the ticket. Set for Saturday, May 4 from 12 -8 p.m. along Tennessee Street, this popular event is coming back for its second year. The Murphy Business Association is the force behind this multi-faceted celebration, which really does include something for everyone’s taste. Note: If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the Murphy Spring Festival’s rain date is Sunday, May 5. Continue reading “Murphy, NC Spring Festival Offers a Feast for Your Senses”

Ramps, Ramps Everywhere at the Ramp Festival in Murphy, NC

Springtime in our mountains sparks a veritable riot of color. You can’t help but notice the striking light greens of the forest, accented by the flowering trees and bushes that seem to pop up everywhere. Underneath the vibrant forest canopy, millions of regional plants spring up from the ground, responding to the warmer weather and great seasonal growing conditions.

One notable plant species has earned its own dedicated group of fans over the years. Yes, we’re talking about quirky little ramps. In fact, this unusual member of the onion/garlic family has even given rise to several regional festivals, including one in Murphy, NC. Read more about this upcoming gathering, and find resources for cultivating ramps on your property this season.

Murphy’s 10th Annual Ramp Festival
Late April is the perfect time for a ramp festival, as these funky little vegetables are smack in the middle of their harvest season. On Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the 10th Annual Ramp Festival will kick off at the L&N Depot in downtown Murphy, North Carolina. You’ll enjoy a plate of ramps and fixins’ for $8, with $4 plates for children under 12.

This popular annual event is sponsored by the Cherokee Masonic Lodge #146. All proceeds benefit the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford, North Carolina. So, come on down for a lunch you’ll remember for years, and support a good cause while you enjoy your meal. Continue reading “Ramps, Ramps Everywhere at the Ramp Festival in Murphy, NC”

Experience These 4 Legendary Motorcycle Rides near Murphy, NC

Our mountain region offers some of the most drop-dead-gorgeous scenery you’ll find anywhere. Just a short drive from Murphy, NC, you’ll encounter winding mountain roads through lush green forests, stunning waterfalls fed from hidden streams, and sweeping vistas with layers upon layers of mountains. From time to time, you’ll happen upon a quirky little town or a restaurant that retains its decades-old décor and vibe. Continue reading “Experience These 4 Legendary Motorcycle Rides near Murphy, NC”

Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital Brings Expanded Services to Murphy, NC

If you love living in our beautiful mountains, or are considering a move to Murphy, NC or the surrounding counties, you likely appreciate our region’s gorgeous scenery and feast of outdoor activities. However, you’ve probably wished that premier medical facilities, and highly regarded specialists, were much more accessible – especially for those facing serious or chronic health issues.

Fortunately, Chattanooga, TN-based Erlanger Health System has stepped in to provide a solution. In April 2018, after two years of due diligence and planning, Erlanger announced plans to acquire Peachtree-based Murphy Medical Center (MMC). By bringing our 40-year-old community hospital into the Erlanger family, our residents and visitors will benefit from an expanded menu of services and specialists. Continue reading “Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital Brings Expanded Services to Murphy, NC”

How to Coexist with the Wildlife around Murphy, NC

When you’re living in the mountains around Murphy, NC, you’re surrounded by lush green forests and sparkling mountain lakes. You’re also sharing your life with a diverse population of native wildlife.

On most days, you’ll likely spot a group of deer munching on tasty bushes and trees. Wild turkeys perform seasonal struts across nearby driveways, and squirrels and raccoons scurry about looking for food and mischief. On rare occasions, you might even glimpse a lumbering black bear. Because some residents might wonder how to peacefully get along with the local wildlife, here are general tips that should apply to most situations. To resolve a specific issue, contact a local wildlife expert.

DEER

Limit Their Landscape Impact
Deer are voracious vegetation eaters who often gravitate to desirable trees, bushes, and groundcover plants. To discourage deer browsing, make your landscape less attractive to the hungry grazers. If possible, add deer-resistant shrubs, flowers, and groundcover to existing greenery. Protect individual trees, bushes, and groundcover with stiff plastic netting that still permits sunlight. These tactics should reduce the deer’s impact on your landscape.

Banish Them from Your Garden
If you’ve carefully cultivated a vegetable garden, or planted colorful flowers around your home, you want to discourage hungry deer from decimating your plants. First, trim the grass and underbrush around the garden. If you have nearby fruit trees, promptly harvest your ripe fruit and remove fallen fruit from the ground.

Properly fencing your garden’s perimeter should effectively stop most deer in their tracks. Choose durable fencing with sturdy metal, wood, or fiberglass posts. Ensure that the fencing is at least eight feet high (yes, deer can jump that high), and set at least one foot below ground (yes, deer can stomp flimsy fencing into the ground). Allow no more than four inches between fence components. Visual stimuli such as mylar tape, strobe or bright lights, scarecrows, and motion-triggered water sprays might also help.

If a persistent deer somehow navigates your fence, discourage their snacking behavior by surrounding vulnerable edibles with deer-repellent plants. Examples include lavender, sage, spearmint, thyme, catnip, chives, garlic, and onion. For more information, contact a local plant nursery or your Cooperative Extension Service’s Master Gardener Program.

WILD TURKEYS

Wild turkeys are constant grazers who naturally consume leaves, berries, seeds, nuts, insects, small frogs, lizards, and even snakes. Traveling in small family groups or flocks, they scratch their way through an area while searching for food. Next, they move to another spot and repeat the exercise. At night, they roost in convenient trees. Left alone, wild turkeys should cause minimal damage to surrounding residential areas.

How Human-Supplied Food Changes Turkeys’ Behavior
However, wild turkeys’ behavior can change when they’re given human-supplied food, such as deer corn or other tasty snacks. This new food source will first alter the turkeys’ foraging habits, and then their flock size may increase as other birds arrive to enjoy the bounty. The turkeys’ roosting behavior can also change, and they’ll likely decrease their travel range. The net effect: more turkeys will be living in a smaller geographic area.

If wild turkeys settle near your home, and continue their scratching and foraging behavior, they can tear up your landscape and damage your vehicles, decks, and shingles. Male turkeys can show aggression when they’re expecting a handout or during breeding season.

How to Resolve Your Turkey Problems
The answer is deceptively simple: Stop feeding the turkeys. Feeding them smaller portions will only cause the problem to continue. Once you stop providing any food, the turkeys will gradually return to their natural activities.

Or, maybe you haven’t actively fed the turkeys, but they’ve been gorging themselves on leftover dog or cat food that you’ve left outside. Opportunistic turkeys also gather under bird feeders, methodically scarfing up stray seeds dropped by careless birds. To discourage this scavenging, promptly remove your pets’ food dishes, and keep your bird feeding stations squeaky clean.

SQUIRRELS

Squirrel-proof Your Bird Feeders
Clever little squirrels naturally gravitate to any potential food source. In fact, you’ve probably seen them gorging themselves under your bird feeders. Although this seems harmless, it conditions the squirrels to expect free handouts at your house. If you really enjoy feeding the birds, buy “squirrel-proof” feeders with metal baffles that prevent the squirrels from climbing up to the feeding stations. If possible, locate the feeders in an open area so the little gymnasts can’t jump on a feeder from a nearby tree limb.

Banish Them from Your Roof
If a squirrel jumps onto your roof from a nearby tree, they’ve surmounted a major hurdle in the quest to access your home. To deter them, trim tree limbs so they’re six feet (or more) away from your house. Although squirrels can also climb along cables or wires attached to your home, decreasing the rodents’ potential access points is a step in the right direction.

Keep Them Out of Your House
Chances are, you know someone who has experienced a squirrel home invasion. These determined little rodents often sneak into houses, settling in the attic to nest and raise their young. They can access a home through an existing entry point, such as a chimney or open vent. If another animal has created a hole, a squirrel will happily use it to get inside your home. If necessary, they’ll gnaw their way in, often chewing on electrical wires and drain pipes in the process.

To prevent the squirrels from entering your house, regularly check for potential openings, especially signs of active chewing. After confirming that no squirrels are in the house, block all openings with half-inch wire mesh. If a mother squirrel is raising her young in your house, wait until the youngsters have departed the nest. Then, place a one-way gate over the opening so the squirrels can leave but can’t return. Once everyone has exited the building, permanently seal the opening.

Finally, remember that squirrels don’t usually launch unprovoked attacks on humans. However, if you attempt to catch a squirrel, it will probably scratch and/or bite in self-defense. To avoid that unpleasant outcome, contact a wildlife removal expert with the equipment and knowledge to safely resolve the situation.

RACCOONS

Discourage the Crafty Creatures’ Visits
Raccoons are shrewd little problem solvers who will seize any opportunity to grab some food. To discourage them from visiting your property, securely fasten your garbage can lids. Remove your pet’s food and water dishes each night. If your property contains fruit trees, harvest the ripe fruit and quickly collect fallen fruit.

Finally, don’t feed the raccoons under any circumstances. By providing them with regular meals, you’re acclimating them to humans, and possibly giving the quick little animals a chance to get inside your home. So, keep the “raccoon restaurant” closed, and the hungry little diners should look for a more hospitable location.

Raccoon-proof Your Garden
Keeping raccoons out of your carefully tended garden might be an ongoing challenge. To increase your odds of success, consider acquiring a dog. Your pooch’s barking, and possibly their scent, may discourage raccoons from exploring your property.

Inside the garden, grow a generous crop of squash, as raccoons don’t seem to like walking on the prickly vines. Sprinkle cayenne powder, or a 50/50 mix of garlic and chili powder, throughout your garden. Place motion sensor lights around the garden, as bright lights might discourage raccoons from prowling through the plants at night. Install a motion-detector sprinkler system, which you’ll activate during nighttime hours.

BLACK BEARS

Promote Your Personal Safety
Our mountain region is home to numerous black bears, which typically stay in their forest habitats and avoid human contact. However, on rare occasions you might spot a bear wandering through your property, searching for food. If you give the bear a wide berth, and don’t provide any food, the bear should eventually leave the area. If you make the mistake of feeding the bear, however, it’s likely to become dependent on human food handouts. As a result, the bear will increase its presence near your home, and will likely exhibit bolder behavior over time.

If you do encounter a bear, don’t attempt to become “The Bear Whisperer.” Instead, remain calm and back away slowly while making as much noise as possible. Don’t ever approach or corner the bear, as it’s an extremely powerful animal that can move with incredible speed. Finally, as a general guideline, if the bear seems to alter its natural behavior while you’re there, you’ve definitely gotten too close and should carefully leave the scene.

Minimize Your Bear Problems
To discourage bears from hanging around your property, eliminate all potential food sources. Store your trash cans inside your basement, garage, or other inaccessible area. On trash pick-up days, take the trash outside that morning – not the night before.

If you (or a neighbor) has spotted a bear nearby, minimize your outdoor pet feeding, and ensure that all bowls are removed each evening. Also, bears are notorious for vandalizing bird feeders and gorging themselves on tasty seeds and suet. To prevent this carnage, remove all bird feeders (and hummingbird feeders), even the “bear proof” models. Finally, clean your barbecue grill after each use, as bears are attracted to the enticing food and grease odors.

Now that you’ve gotten acquainted with the Murphy, NC area wildlife, and learned how to share their natural environment, relax on your deck and enjoy living in our beautiful mountains.

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

Bring the Train Home to Murphy NC! A record is made in the Guinness Book of World Records!

On October 5, 2018, Downtown Murphy NC had thousands of residents on the square whistling and singing a custom version of “She will be coming round the mountain when she comes!” and signing a petition with the goal of bringing the train back to Cherokee County. It would stimulate tourism, commerce, and more. Watch to see what it was like to be in the crowd!

It was a great event led by many of our area’s leaders including: Mayor of Murphy NC Rick Ramsey, Mayor of Andrews NC James Reid, Representative Kevin Corbin,  Jim Davis, and more. It shows our community spirit here in Murphy NC. We are proud to be here!

Murphy Spring Festival Offers Good Old-Fashioned Family Fun

Let’s face it: a good old-fashioned community festival just gets your juices flowing. Residents and visitors come from miles around, gathering in a convenient central spot for an event filled with local flavor and fun activities. Throw some gorgeous spring weather into the mix, and you have an unbeatable combination that appeals to festival attendees of all ages.

So, come on out to the first annual Murphy, NC Spring Festival, hosted by the Murphy Business Association. This exciting event is set for Saturday, May 5 from 11-6 on downtown Murphy’s Tennessee Street. Browse this tempting menu of festival activities, and come enjoy a healthy serving of small-town family fun.

STREET VENDORS AND ARTISTS

As you stroll along Tennessee Street, you’ll happen upon a variety of colorful vendor booths, many offering a locally sourced product or service. Talented local artists will also showcase their work, and some artisans will also demonstrate their craft throughout the day.

CLASSIC CAR SHOWCASE

When you see a nicely restored classic car, you can’t help admiring its often-impeccable paint and trim work. These vehicles often feature period-appropriate décor and accessories, and the owner(s) frequently sport authentic-looking outfits from that era. Not surprisingly, classic car clubs and car shows have become very popular around our region.

Many community festivals and parades also include classic car displays. At the Murphy Spring Festival, take a leisurely walk along Tennessee Street, where you’ll find a nice lineup of classics vying for your attention. Remember to vote for your favorite car, as event judges will award prizes to the winners.

FUN KIDS’ ACTIVITIES

A community festival just isn’t complete without kids’ activities, and the Murphy Spring Festival certainly offers some options for the younger set. Youngsters can try their hand at an art project or select another age-appropriate activity that intrigues them. Of course, the Pet Adoption Exhibit will draw children and adults alike, and they just might find an adoptable pet to add to their family.

LOCAL FOODS & RESTAURANT SPECIALS

If you enjoy buying fresh local produce, and you take every opportunity to try locally made foods, you’ll be delighted at the festival’s varied food options. In addition, downtown restaurants will feature festival specials throughout the day. The bottom line: arrive with a hearty appetite, and you’ll find plenty to satisfy your taste buds.

LIBATIONS AND LIVE MUSIC

Western North Carolina offers an ever-increasing number of craft breweries and local wineries – some right here in Cherokee County. Several of these businesses have banded together to present the Murphy Spring Festival’s Beer Garden, sure to become a popular spot for thirsty adults throughout the day.

Our mountain region is also home to many talented musicians, several of whom will take the Tennessee Street Stage during the festival. While you relax and listen to the performers’ toe-tapping music, quaff a tasty brew or sip a fragrant glass of wine from the nearby Beer Garden.

With plenty of lively activities, tasty foods, and infectious music, the Murphy Spring Festival promises to be a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. So grab your sunscreen and a hat, and spend the day soaking up downtown Murphy’s distinctive ambience. We just might see you 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


Catch This Snapshot of Spring and Summer Weather in Murphy, NC

Here in Murphy, NC and Cherokee County, weather forecasting has become a real spectator sport. You’ll likely hear spirited discussions at the gas station or coffee shop, or among shoppers in the grocery store checkout line, about our region’s notorious wild weather swings.

Spring and summer are especially challenging to predict, as you can encounter multiple sets of weather conditions on the same day. And because of our region’s widely varied elevations, a cool breeze down in the valley can become a chilly wind up on a nearby mountain ridge. If you’re planning a vacation getaway, or getting ready to move to our beautiful mountains, here’s a snapshot of our changeable spring and summer weather. Continue reading “Catch This Snapshot of Spring and Summer Weather in Murphy, NC”