Like many people, I have always dreamed of living in the mountains. As an avid outdoorsman, I enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, and hunting. I always pictured myself enjoying these activities in the beauty of the southern Appalachian Mountains. I was born in Florida and spent much of my early adult life in Atlanta. I settled down in Crystal River, Florida, where I was in the marine business for 23 years. After meeting my future wife, Deena Rooks, we discovered we shared the same dream. We decided to work toward our goal of living our lives in a quaint mountain town. We narrowed our criteria and began to search for our mountain dream.
We hoped to find a historic mountain town with friendly people, local shops, and good restaurants. Medical care and skilled physicians were important to us, with the mountain lifestyle and beauty of the area also high on our list. After spending time in several communities, we settled on Murphy, North Carolina. Murphy not only met our expectations, it exceeded them! We found our quaint, new hometown. If we want to go to a city, Atlanta, GA, Chattanooga, TN, and Asheville, NC are all within 2 hours.
We had not expected the variety of outdoor activities or the thousands of acres of forests, lakes, and rivers within miles/minutes of Murphy, NC. As boaters who love to fish, swim, water ski, and relax on the water, we found Lake Hiawassee, Lake Chatuge, Lake Nantahala, Lake Santeetlah, and Lake Fontana at our doorstep! The Valley River and Hiawassee River both run through the town of Murphy. Gold is still panned for and found in the Valley River and the countless creeks and streams in the area. The area is a fly fisher’s paradise. With photography being one of our hobbies, we have found endless subjects in wildlife, flora and fauna, waterfalls, architecture, and mountain scenes. Miles and miles of hiking trails for us to explore are available in the national forests.
The Cherokee National Forest, Chattahoochee National Forest, and Nantahala National Forests offer hiking, camping, whitewater rafting, and boating. Zip lines and geocaching have become popular here as well. There are two world-class whitewater kayak/rafting rivers within 30 minutes of Murphy. The Ocoee River and the Nantahala River offer excitement and fun, along with views of spectacular waterfalls and lush forest lands. The John C Campbell Folk School is world-renowned and is less than 15 minutes from town. Murphy is a short drive to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and less than an hour from Cherokee, NC, and the casino. Festivals, farmers markets, flea markets, local theater… it’s all here!
We have been living our mountain dream for over 20 years and are so happy that we chose to make the move. We are still awed by the beauty of this area as we continue to enjoy every aspect of the mountain lifestyle. I especially enjoy the fall colors and mild winters. As I sit on my deck overlooking the mountains, I realize that the only thing I would have done differently would be to have pursued the dream sooner.