John C. Campbell Folk School Cherokee County NC
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John C. Campbell Folk School

Education seems to be contagious in this region, must be the valley river water or fresh mountain air. Towards the southern end of this valley is the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina, located along the southeastern edge of the county at the junction of Old Hwy 64 and Brasstown Road.

John C. Campbell Folk School

John C. Campbell and his wife Olive Dame began to study mountain life from West Virginia to North Georgia at the beginning of the 20th Century. While on their journey, John focused on interviewing local farmers about their farming practices. During the same time Olive studied regional handicrafts, collecting mountain ballads for study and preservation. Both of them were highly influenced by an educational system they were exposed to in Denmark, where the community focused on transforming their countryside into a vital and creative force.

They felt they needed to start a "folk school," meaning "school for life." Its mission was to help Appalachian folks who needed to change a life pattern that caused intelligent young folks to leave their families to obtain work in the cities rather than applying new techniques to improve life in the mountains.

Unfortunately John never saw his dream come true, he died in 1919. John's wife Olive, along with their good friend Marguerite Butler carried on their studies of folk schools in the regions of Denmark and Sweden along with other countries before founding the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown North Carolina in 1925.

The 372-acre folk school campus is situated in a natural rural farm setting that hasn't changed much in nearly 100 years. New school buildings specially designed for the settings stand alongside historic structures dating back to its first "nail and board" or rather "joist and peg." The most recent building structure the "Field House" was built in the true "green" construction method.

The land by John C. Campbell

The setting at John C. Campbell Folk School is miraculous; rather than having the buildings and structures all clustered together, they are spread out like a farm village along tree covered trails following the natural flow of the landscape, with marked pathways that leads to the different class buildings. The nearly 100-year old atmosphere at the folk school isn't a matter of a period in history but a mind set in what's natural and unimposing.

The best place to begin a tour of the campus is at the historic Keith House (built in 1927) at the entrance to the campus. It doesn't matter which of the two trails you take, the trail is a loop that will lead you through a wooded village setting past classroom and recreational buildings like the History Center, Olive D. Campbell Dining Hall, Davidson Hall, Francis Whitaker Blacksmith Shop, Willard Baxter Wood Turning Studio, Jewelry and Enameling Studio and the Clay Studio to mention a few. At the furthest of the trail is the big festival barn and blacksmith row near the back of the property at Folk School Road.

Wide-open fields surround the other sides of the campus with exceptional mountain vista to the north, south and east. The Little Brasstown Creek flows through the property, part of the River-cane Walk on the farm campus for nature lovers. All the lands southeast of here consist of rural homes and old homesteads along with new homes and developments divided by pristine farms and meadows, this district is called Martins Creek.

Today, the National Register of Historic Places designates John C. Campbell Folk School, as a Historic District. The campus contains over 30 buildings housing studios and classes in pottery, weaving, spinning, dyeing, quilting, doll making, basketry, broom making, wood working, wood carving, stained glass making, blacksmithing, painting, dancing, jewelry making, organic gardening to mention just a few. You can even make your own dulcimer instrument and learn to play it. The school has a large class catalog listing all the opportunities available, published twice a year, or better yet, save a tree and visit their web site; all of their classes are listed on-line. The folk school also has on-campus lodging and an incredible dining hall with wonderful food for the complete village experience. The dining hall is not open to the public its for campus use or certain folk school events only.

The good news is that the folk school is open to the public for visitors to respectfully tour the grounds as well as for week-long and weekend classes. Many visitors coming for classes enjoy residing at the folk school, living the good life away from the stresses of everyday pressures, a great way to get in touch with the creativity within us all.

The folk school is one of Mr. and Mrs. Highlander's favorite places to visit. The atmosphere there is always serene; the air is fresh, no city lights, no pollution, it's just peaceful, creative, educational and good mountain fun. John C. Campbell draws instructors from around the country as well as their resident instructors, always offering new experiences with each new class schedule. I believe these visiting instructors are also looking for their share of that great mountain magic to take back home with them.

John C. Campbell Craft ShopThe one thing we've noticed is that when unskilled students arrive they're in awe. When they leave, their totting a big smile and the door prize they created themselves with their own hands, taking pride in what they have accomplished at the folk school. They can also take home a change of spirit and a fresh outlook on life in general. Meeting new people of all ages in this unique educational environment is a great way for an individual, a couple, or the whole family to experience a vacation retreat, something unique and bonding.

There's a wonderful gift shop on the campus called the Craft Shop, selling some of the arts and craft-works made at the school by both instructors and students...this is real hand-made in America stuff.

When it comes to festivals the folk school leads the way in Cherokee County with live music, traditional dances, arts, crafts, exhibits and good food. Their Fall Festival is the largest festival in the county and surrounding region, its something you won't want to miss.

Blue Ridge Highlander's Gallery

Highlander Fine Arts, Authentic Mountain Photography and Fine Crafts

The Highlander Gallery
When you are visiting the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains, a stop by the Highlander Gallery is well worth your time. The Highlander Gallery represents some of the finest artists in the mountains.  With a large assortment of Fine Art Photography and Fine Crafts as well.

Here are a sampling of the artists you will find....Anthony Abreu • John Mac Kah • Ruthanne Kah • Michael Bedoian • Keith Moore • Juanita Greenspan • Mike Lalone • Robert Levin • Tonya Fowler • Jason Fowler • Jo Kilmer • Les Smith • Chuck Waldroup • Joe Waldroup • Billy Reynolds • Bob Crisp • Thomas Payne • Sarah Long Dauchez • January Tiberius • Frances McCord • Neal Hearn • Nanci Leigh • Rita Poole • Clive Poole • Richard Cranford

Wednesday - Saturday 10:00 - 5:00
10079 Old Highway 64  •  Brasstown, NC  • 828.835.9982  •

World Renowned Folk School in Brasstown NC

Food & Drink in Murphy NC

Parson's Pub in Historic Downtown Murphy NC
Lunch •  Dinner • Great Beer

The Parson's Pub

We believe in old fashioned, face to face, friendly conversation. You will not find any televisions or loud music. Just a warm place to feel at home and enjoy...

We pride ourselves on our extensive beer menu (over 50!). Talk to one of our "Beervangelists" to help you try a new favorite! If you request a beer we do not carry, we will attempt to get it!

Monday - Saturday    11 am - 10 pm

19 Tennessee Street • Murphy, NC 28906 • 828-837-4151  •  Parson's Pub Web Site

Shopping in Cherokee County NC

Serenity Mountain Gift Shop

Serenity Mountain Gift Shop

Why us? Serenity Mountain is a unique gift shop specializing in Himalayan Salt Lamps and glowing ember baskets ( baskets filled with Himalayan salt chunks and fitted with a dimmer cord). We also carry zen home accents, "hippie" chic jewelry and clothing, featuring Jane Marie, Lenny & Eva, Soul Flower Eco-Friendly t-shirts, Umgee, She & Sky Clothing. At Serenity you will find quality incense, sage smudge, goat milk soap, Serenity Mountain Organic's all natural skin care products and organic essential oils, diffusers, oil burners,and many more great gifts with serenity living in mind. A unique little gem.

At Serenity Mountain, we are focused on providing you with a wide selection of unique gifts  to support a serene lifestyle. We pride ourselves in giving you the highest levels of customer satisfaction & we will do everything we can to meet your expectations. If we don't carry something you're looking for, we will do our best to get it!   With a variety of gifts to choose from, we're sure you'll be happy working with us.  We hope to see you soon!

Tues - Fri 10:30am - 5:30pm  •  Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm  •  Sun and Mon CLOSED
35 Tennessee St  •  Murphy, NC 28906  •  828.361.7543  • 

Boating & Marinas in the Mountains

Mountain View Marina at Bear Paw Resort in Murphy NC

Mountain View Marina at Bear Paw Resort in Murphy North Carolina
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Lake Hiwassee is one of the most picturesque lakes in the southeast, with most of its 163 miles of shoreline preserved by the Nantahala National Forest, its breathtaking beauty remains unspoiled.   To enjoy Lake Hiwassee, visit Mountain View Marina, our full-service marina offers boat rentals, paddle board rentals, long and short term slip rentals, gasoline, boat ramps, fishing licenses, bait, boating supplies, snacks and drinks.

Open Daily 9 am to 7pm  •  •  828.644.5451

200 Dean Aldrich Drive  • Murphy, NC 28906  •

White Water Rafting Mountains

Rafting on the Ocoee River

White Water Rafting on the Ocoee
The Ocoee River is often described as the roller coaster of the southeast. Come experience what has been called the greatest white water center in the world.

Professional river outfitter with over 30 years experience. Our safety record is unsurpassed in the industry. We believe our staff is simply the best in the business. Guides are chosen for their character and enthusiasm for sharing the outdoors with you.

Call today to start your adventure...828-835-3275  •

Rafting on the Nantahala River

White Water Rafting on the Nantahala

Experience this unforgettable whitewater adventure through the gorge. The Nantahala is exciting, and a great time, but not as wild as the Ocoee.  This is a river that you can bring children on as young as seven years old.

Experience the excitement of Patton's Run, the fun and splash of Tumble Dry, the rush and roar of riding Class III Nantahala Falls. For a bigger thrill, try taking one of our Duckies down the river!

Call today to start your adventure...828-835-3275  •

Zipline Canopy Tours

Zip Line Canopy Tours...Nantahala Gorge • Chattooga Ridge • Asheville • Pigeon River

Canopy Tours on the Nantahala Gorge, Chattooga Ridge and Pigeon River

Whichever course you choose you are sure to enjoy the newest outdoor adventure to hit the US.

All our courses offer a soaring and gliding experience naturally fueled by a gradual drop in elevation. All trips offer fully guided tours with 2 or more Rangers on at least 10 zips, 4 bridges beginning with a training course at each location.

Call today to start your adventure...828-835-3275  •


Adventure Camps in the Mountains

Guided Fishing Trips

Real Estate & Property Management in Cherokee County North Carolina

Property & Cabin Rental Management

Great Mountain Properties & Cabin Rentals in now accepting additional cabins in Murphy North Carolina

Great Mountain Cabin Rentals

Whether you purchased your mountain home as an occasional getaway, an investment, or the destination of your future retirement, we realize the importance that it be respected as your home first and foremost.

It is our objective to provide you with both quality property management as well as a rental program to help offset some of the expense of owning a 2nd home. Through the combined knowledge of all of us at Great Mountain Cabin Rentals, we have the expertise to help you understand and create a Great Mountain Cabin Rental.

46 Valley River Ave  •  Murphy, NC  • 828.835.3275  •

Cabin Rentals & Lodging in Cherokee County North Carolina


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