Chad Johnson revels with New Year's partiers at the Daily Grind. Photo by BEN KATZ

SCOUTING AROUND: New Daily Grind owners ring in the new year

    The Daily Grind & Wine in Murphy kicked off the new year with Dublin once again, but this year it did so with new owners. Lane and Matt Lowe took over ownership of the shop Dec. 1, but the deal has been in the works since September.
    They had been toying with the idea of owning a coffee shop, and had just decided owning a franchise wasn’t the way to go, when they heard through a family member that The Daily Grind owners Dave and Amy Johnson were considering selling.
    “I’ve always loved coming here,” said Lane Lowe, who grew up in Brasstown. “I’ve been coming to The Daily Grind from the day it opened, and I’ve always loved the place.”
    As a result, there are no plans to change anything. She said they would like stay open later to allow more time for entertainment, but that would not be happening for another year when her husband will be here full time- he is stationed in Cleveland, Tenn., as a recruiter for the Army.
    “We want people to be confident this will be the same place they know and love,” Lane Lowe said.
    Both have experience working in a bar and a restaurant. While Lane grew up in the area, Matt grew up in Florida and spent his summers in Murphy. The two met as children at the Little Middle Folk School camp.
    While the Johnsons are no longer owners, they plan to continue enjoying time with the customers.

Tales on the trail
    Murphy’s River Walk now includes an audio tour available to anyone with a smartphone.
    “It’s just to show the historical and cultural history,” said Johnny Strawn, the River Walk project manager for Heritage Partners. “I’m sure people will enjoy it.”
    Strawn and Heritage Partners President Barbara Hughes said these types of audio tours have been a popular thing on other trails.
    In fact, after member David Vanderlaan already started working on the project, someone from out of town contacted Hughes about creating an audio tour for the trail. She disappointed the businessperson when she explained the organization already was on top of it.
    So far, seven audio tour stations have been installed with information on the L&N Depot, old railroad trestle, cypress loop, ARS Butler Pyramid, dogwood legends, Tennessee Valley Authority and the moon-eyed people legend. Fourteen more are planned, and awaiting historical review for accuracy. Strawn said Vanderlaan did a bulk of the project in just over the past couple of months.
    “The goal of the audio tour is to enhance the experience of walking the River Walk for our residents and visitors,” Vanderlaan said. “The stations will inform, educate and entertain.”
    “I think it’s absolutely fabulous,” Hughes said. “It’s going to really, really be a boon to that area.”
    To access the tour, people must first have a QR reader on their mobile device. Many QR reader apps are available for free in the various app stores. Users then just have to scan the code on the audio tour station plaque with the QR reader, then press the arrow-shaped play button to hear the recording. Ear buds or ear phones are recommended.
    The group also plans to place audio tour stations throughout town. Informational rack cards are available at the Visitors Center and Murphy Art Center downtown. Cards also will be added to the trail heads soon, Strawn said.

Sleepover at library
    The Andrews Public Library’s “Locked in the Library” event is coming back Friday, Jan. 13. Kids ages 10-18 get to spend the night at the library playing games, eating pizza, reading or just hanging out.
    This is the third time the library is hosting Locked In the Library, and Jane Blue, library branch manager, said it will continue to be an annual event. The previous events were filled to capacity, and only 30 kids can stay overnight. Limits are based on number of chaperones.
    Anyone who wishes to spend the night must return a permission slip with a parent signature by Jan. 12. Permission slips are available at the library. For details, call Blue at 321-5956.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email,; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.