John C. Campbell Folk School Cherokee County NC
The most comprehensive guide to the Mountains...
Highlander on FacebookHighlander on TwitterHighlander on LinkedinMessages from the MountainsCalendar of Events throughout the Mountains

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.


Cherokee County Welcome Centers

Cherokee County Welcome Centers

Murphy, Andrews & Brasstown North Carolina
One of the best kept secrets in Western North Carolina is Cherokee County with its three towns – Andrews, Murphy and Brasstown. Tucked as far south and west in North Carolina, Cherokee County is known as the “Gateway to the Smoky Mountains.” Visitors will find outdoor adventures that include fishing, boating, hiking and more. This is a place where time stands still where one can put aside the pressures of the business and political worlds, sit on a deck, rock away your worries and gaze at a glorious sunset.

Murphy Visitor Center  •  828-557-0602  •  20 Tennessee Street  •  Murphy, NC 28906
Andrews Visitor Center  •  828-557-1185  •  US 19-74-129  •  Andrews, NC 28901

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 • Robert Levin • Tonya Fowler • Jason Fowler • Jo Kilmer • Les Smith • Chuck Waldroup • Joe Waldroup • Billy Reynolds • Bob Crisp • Randy Rowe • Thomas Payne • Sarah Long Dauchez • January Tiberius • Frances McCord • 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

Menu    Become a Beervangelist    Facebook

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

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.

896 Green Cove Road  •  Brasstown, NC 28902  • 828.835.3275  •

Cabin Rentals & Lodging in Cherokee County North Carolina

Great Mountain North Carolina Mountain Cabin Rentals

Great Mountain Cabin Rentals
We are proud to represent the finest cabin rentals in Murphy North Carolina and the surrounding area. We have a nice selection of cabin and vacation rentals with excellent amenities in beautiful and peaceful mountain settings, at very reasonable prices. It is our pleasure to help you find the perfect cabin or vacation rental whether you are looking for a romantic weekend, a girlfriend's getaway, fishing trip for the guys or a family retreat. It is our goal to help you plan the best mountain getaway available.

828.835.3275  •  Great Mountain Cabin Rentals in the North Carolina Mountains

Perfect View Luxury Pet Friendly Cabin Rental

Perfectview Hideaway
Luxury "Pet Friendly", Hot Tub Cabin located in Murphy NC.  Perfect View Hideaway offers great views with lots of covered and uncovered decks. This cabin has upscale furnishing and exceptional decor throughout.   Perfect View Hideaway has 2 full living/great rooms both with large flat screen TV's and satellite service. Both living areas also have gas fireplaces.

828.835.3275  •  Perfect View Pet Friendly Luxury Cabin

Fox Den Pet Friendly Rental in Murphy NC

Fox Den Getaway
Luxury Pet Friendly, Cabin Rental located in Murphy NC. Fox Den is a recently built cabin offering mountain views with covered and uncovered decks. This custom designed cabin has upscale furnishing and exceptional decor throughout. Fox Den has 2 Master Bedrooms with private baths. King master has a rustic stone shower in the bathroom. Second Master has a Queen Bed. There is also a Queen size sofa bed in the living room. Fox Den has a 3 large flat screen smart TV's with Cable one in each bedroom and one in the living room, also wireless Internet service throughout. If you are looking to get away to the mountains in style, this is the cabin for you.

828.835.3275  •  Fox Den Pet Friendly Cabin Rental

My Mountain Pet Friendly Cabin in Murphy NC

My Mountain Cabin
This sweet cabins offers 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 2 fire pits. Just .2 miles of pavement (not gravel here) from Highway 64 and 5 miles from the Tennessee lines allowed quick access to the Ocoee Recreation Area for a great deal of adventure fun. One bedroom (queen) is located on the first floor and the second is the loft (king) offers and additional 1/2 bath and small office area/reading nook. The kitchen is well equipped and has beautiful granite counter-tops. The Flat screen TV offers satellite service and the cabin comes equipped with Internet and wifi. The first fire pit is located in a gazebo off the main deck and is gas for easy convenience.  The second fire pit it down a short walking deck staircase and is wood.  Great for making s'mores and telling stories.

828.835.3275  •  My Murphy Vacation Cabin Rental

Cozy Mountain Cabin

Peaceful Creek Hideaway
This cozy cabin has everything you need to make your stay one you will remember forever. Sit back, relax and leave your cares at home. Soak in the hot tub, take in the fresh air on the porch, or even cuddle up in front of the fireplace.

828.835.3275  •  Cozy Mountain Cabin Rental


North Carolina Campground

Murphy/Peace Valley KOA

Peace Valley Campground
The beauty and solitude of the Mountains make our KOA an ideal spot to settle in and relax for a while. Located one mile from Harrahs Cherokee Valley River Casino, we offer spacious RV Sites, fully furnished Deluxe Cabins, and Tent Sites along the scenic Valley River. At the campground, guests can wade into the water to cast their lines for trout in the stocked river, take a dip in the pool, catch up on news and sports in the game room, spend time with family and friends, and simply relax. Then get settled in and head out to explore our beautiful area. You're just a short ride to the Cherohala Skyway and Tail of the Dragon. Visit Fields of the Wood Park, hop on a mountain train, or join in a class at the famous John C. Campbell Folk School. Piney Knob Hiking Trails are just around the corner. Fires Creek, Lake Hiawassee, Nantahala, and Fontana are great natural areas to visit.

800-562-9382   •   117 Happy Valley Road   •   Marble, NC 28905  •  Murphy Peace Valley KOA Campground



designed, produced and hosted by
Travel and Real Estate Guide to the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, including North Georgia, Western North Carolina, Tennessee River Valley and Up Country South Carolina
The Blue Ridge Highlander logo, all photography, design, graphics, artwork, writing, digital images, etc are the Copyright © of C. Wayne Dukes and Sherry Bell Dukes.  1996 to current day, except where otherwise stated. All rights reserved, reproduction, downloading, and/or duplication of any sort is strictly prohibited, all violations will be prosecuted. Legal Policy.  If you have any questions, or comments, regarding this site, e-mail the Highlander.