Murphy and the surrounding area in extreme southwestern North Carolina is a great place for a second home or retirement, particularly if you are interested in a quiet and rural environment. This very small town (about 1600 people) is the county seat of Cherokee County. There are some restaurants and shops. Downtown is small with tree lined streets and many historic buildings restored to their original state. The climate is mild and the scenery is breathtaking with mountains, lakes (several large ones like Lake Hiwassee), and streams. Nearby towns are reported to be quite nice: Sylva and Waynesville. The people are very friendly and the community is small and tight-knit. Asheville is located to the northeast. Photo of Cherokee County Courthouse, and photo of Robert Lafayette Cooper House courtesy of Wikipedia and Warren LeMay (public domain).
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Where to Retire in Murphy and Home Prices
More retirees continue to move to Murphy. Topretirements has not been able to find any active adult or 55+ communities in the Murphy. The median home value was $175,817 in early 2021, according Zillow.
What is Special about Murphy
The people and the landscape (mountains, streams, farms, pastures). Very close to John C. Campbell Folk School. Murphy is in a unique location in southwestern North Carolina. Thanks to NC's strange shape, Murphy is is closer to the capitals of six other states (Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia) than it is to Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. Nantahala National Forest is right on the edge of Murphy.
What is Not Special about Murphy
Murphy is a small town in a rural area. For any kind of serious shopping you will need to drive a few hours to Asheville or Chattanooga. Fort Butler on this site was one of the main collection points for Indians on what would become their Trail of Tears.
Who Will Like Retirement in Murphy
Everyone is very friendly (they all wave to you). The atmosphere is relaxed and outdoors oriented. To be happy here you have to like living in a quiet and small town.
Local Economy is Driven by
Construction and serving the non-resident community.
Climate and Physical Environment
Rolling hills and mountains up to 3,500 feet. Lots of streams and creeks and several large lakes such as Persimmon Lake) nearby. The average July high temperature is 86 and the average January low is 26. The wettest month is March (6")
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
Murphy holds several festivals during the year, such as the Mountain Song Festival and the annual Spring Festival. For more serious culture you will need to drive elsewhere, such as the Harrah's Casino in Cherokee.
For a small town, Murphy has a high crime rate. Theft accounts for most of the crimes.
Murphy Medical Center is a local hospital.
Chattanooga is the nearest large airport for domestic flights and is about 80 miles away. The closet international airport is in Atlanta about 130 miles away.
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