Murphy is, it turns out, a hopping town. It's filled with transplanted Floridians enjoying the good life in the mountains. It's a life my Labrador could learn to enjoy, though I find winter days at high elevations too short and too cold. Sorry,Cheyenne.
Cheyenne was fed up with two long days in the car and though the road to Columbus is rated as scenic by Georgia authorities she found the drive tedious and excessively long. She leapt out of the car as though it were on fire on arrival in Murphy. I had already spotted the Methodist Church and made a beeline with my eager dog.
There was a man on the lawn, a former Orlando resident retired and now happy in the mountains. As a mark of the laid back nature of the place we fell into conversation and mercifully it wasn't about the weather. Murphy has a long and storied history since it's founding in 1839. The place thrived on agriculture timber and a particular gray marble mined in the area. I suspect moonshine and mountainous rebellion played a part in this area's history too. These days there are rules.
And the Wild West is kept firmly at bay.
The dude at the church also told me a little about the architecture of the peculiar dome of which there are, they say half a dozen in the state designed by a man who offered the plan to local Methodist communities and the crowd in Murphy were smart enough to adopt this fascinating round design. That sort of avant garde thinking permeates the town today which eschews box stores.
The courthouse is in daily use as a vital part of the community and it is lovely in it's blue marble livery. This was another spot when an old dude in suspenders stopes by and watched Cheyenne drinking found water. We fell into conversation, once again nothing mentioned about the weather, and talked about skiing in Innsbruck (!) and tourism in London versus Paris. I have no idea how the conversation took the turn it did.
Local economy? Local stores! No CVS or Walgreens here in this dynamic downtown.
A roof top balcony on a bar is the equivalent of a sunset viewing perch in Key West.
A storm was blowing in so the weather was warm, in the mid sixties and the sky was a uniform shade of gray. Christmas was in the offing though this was Thanksgiving week.
For all that it was warm and damp I could not imagine going shoeless or shirtless but apparently such behavior is a problem among these hardy mountain people.
And lest one imagines that Murphy is a quiet old mountain town where quiet old men sit on rockers in this place but it does have police and fire with lights and sirens. I was just glad not to be at work so I ignored them. Nothing to do with me, nothing to see here, move along.
My wife bought a print to remind us of this delightful place and I took Cheyenne for a walk in the back of places most people don't go.
Murphy gained fame a few years ago when a city police officer arrested Eric Robert Rudolph the Olympic Park Bomber who killed two and injured 150 as part of his anti abortion anti gay beliefs. He was on the run and hid out in these mountains helped by certain among the locals.
Murphy charmed me, another Floridian who liked the architecture and the people we met who after all really are laid back because they live in an economically proportioned community. Its hard to be laid back when it costs three jobs just to pay the rent unless you have a private income. I really want to come back in the summer and walk these green and leafy mountains.
I will walk them with pleasure in the sure and certain hope of not coming across a wild eyed FBI fugitive lurking in the woods. These people are too nice to lynch an atheist in their midst.
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