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One-Level Getaway with Complete Privacy and Magnificent Views

On the market for the first time, this amazing property in Continental Cliffs is situated on eight-and-a-half acres of serene privacy that will make you feel like you’re in another world-yet you’re only three miles to the center of Cashiers. This is one of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring views that can be seen anywhere. Perched at a cool elevation of just under 4,000 feet, you’ll feel as if you’re able to reach out and touch the famed Whiteside Mountain in one direction, and with just a tilt of your head, you can see all the way into South Carolina.
 
The home offers one-level living with four bedrooms, an office, and another bonus room. Impeccably maintained, a master suite and a magnificent chef’s kitchen have recently been added and appointed with the latest cooking amenities. If expansion might be in your plans, there are a couple of near-level spots within the acreage to build a guest cottage. 

This property is for a seasonal or year-round resident who’s looking for a great home with privacy, jaw-dropping views, and great location between Cashiers and Highlands. A whole-house generator is already in place. 

 

Spacious Luxury and Majestic Views of Whiteside

Offered for the first time, this warm and inviting home offers majestic views of Whiteside Mountain from every room. Entertaining family and friends is a joy in the beautiful great room with wet bar, formal dining space, gourmet kitchen with large center island and breakfast bar, and an expansive porch with its own cozy fireplace and hot tub. 

Perfect for casual entertaining and hosting guests, the spacious two-story floor plan features two bedrooms on the main floor with his and her bathrooms, while the lower level includes two bedrooms, two baths, a sitting room with fireplace, and another covered deck. Kids and pets will love the fenced-in yard and garden area. 

Beautifully landscaped and on a very quiet street, this lovely property offers privacy and luxury behind the gates of The Chattooga Club, an elegant, immaculately maintained gated community in the very desirable area of Highway 107 South. Amenities include Lake Chattooga, stocked yearly with trout, and a picnic area with gorgeous views of Whiteside Mountain. Gather some friends to enjoy the stunning vistas and watch the incredible sunsets. Club membership is by invitation only.

 

California Roadtrip: Destination Big Sur

With the top down, the cool wind plays with my hair and sunshine illuminates my face. My husband happily sits behind the wheel ready for our adventure. We both breathe in the gorgeous scents that permeate the airsalt, eucalyptus, pine, and an elusive fragrance of pepper and cinnamon that we can’t identify. We later learn this heavenly aroma comes from the bay laurel tree. California, almost a country of its own, never ceases to surprise me with its vast beauty, diverse landscape, flora, and fauna.  
As our convertible cruises south from the San José airport toward Route 1, glamorously referred to as the PCH or the Pacific Coast Highway, I manage my expectations as we travel closer towards the highly regarded and much-anticipated destination of Big Sur. A bucket list item for some time, we look forward to taking in Carmel (the wine country), Pebble Beach, 17-Mile Drive, and the remote landscapes of Big Sur. Our trip reveals this and so much more. 
As we drive south, the mosaic topography slowly unfolds with deep canyons, xeric foothills, massive mountains, thick conifer forests, and copious fields of artichokes. The vistas remind us of the Scottish Isles with their dramatic cliffs, the Spanish Rioja with the golden mountain landscapes, and Tuscany with conifers like cypress, the occasional palm, and of course, vineyards. Looking up provides another nice view with the vast blue sky, golden sunshine, and the occasional endangered condor, North America’s largest land bird. 
Our four-day, three-night trip was purposefully planned for late October to avoid the crowds that traditionally flock to Monterey County and majestic Big Sur in the summer months. We base ourselves in the small charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its artist and writer inhabitants. It sits snugly between Monterey and Big Sur, enabling us easy access to our points of interest. 
Our bespoke itinerary plans for us to be outdoors walking among the giant redwoods, the tallest measured tree species on Earth, hiking in coastal state parks, strolling on the beach admiring the natural sculptures of driftwood, and taking in a sunset or two. Aside from seeking the natural eye candy, we find art gallery hopping is almost a sport in these parts. And the same can be said for visiting vineyards in Carmel Valley or their tasting rooms in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Of course, dining on the freshest of local seafood and witnessing the allure of the quaint towns are on our checklist. 
We had imagined the drive to Big Sur, but nothing can compare you for the journey. We marvel at how the PCH tightly hugs the coastline (thank goodness for the guardrails) as enthusiastic waves pound the enormous jagged cliffs below. Big Sur’s remote landscapes take our breath away with photo ops at every turn. How did they cut a road through here in the 1960s?  
By day four, we are rewarded with beautiful memories and adventures to share. Our souls are fed, expectations exceeded and a future trip is planned already to venture further south past Big Sur to Santa Barbara.

ITINERARY 
Day 1 
Take a Delta Airlines flight out of Atlanta to San Jose International Airport, and 4.25 hours later you arrive! Drive the scenic Route 17 through beautiful Scott’s Valley and Patchen’s Pass.  
 
1st Stop: Walk among giant redwoods at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (access via CA-17 S, 45 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes north of Santa Cruz). 
 
2nd Stop: Drive the picturesque 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach off of Route 1. Experience the Del Monte Forest, Spanish Bay, the Lone Cypress, Spyglass Golf Course, and the most famous of all sites, Pebble Beach. If time allows, have a snack on The Lodge’s terrace overlooking the Pebble Beach course. 
 
3rd Stop: Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you can check in at L’Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Chateaux property with rates starting at $269, or the beautiful pup-friendly Cypress Inn with rates starting at $229. 
 
Stroll the town taking in the quirky houses, gorgeous gardens, and shops. With the Carmel Valley Appellation nearby, you’ll find numerous wine tasting rooms all within walking distance. Pick up a bottle at Caracciolo Cellars and drop down to the beach to catch the sunset.  
 
Enjoy a sumptuous Italian dinner at Cassanova just a few minute walk off Main Street. 
 
Day 2 
1st Stop: After a morning walk on the beach or shopping in town, drive East into Carmel Valley to experience the wine country. Favorite wine stops include Cowgirl Winery, Georis, and Bernardus. Find lunch in the garden at Corkscrew Restaurant with its mission-style architecture. Try their famous Lemon Pizza! 
 
2nd Stop: On the way out of The Valley, stop at Folktale Winery for a lively game of giant Jenga or bocce ball while sipping wine and listening to live music. 
 
3rd Stop: Uber to Passionfish in Pacific Grove for dinner, which is known for their sustainable seafood and modern menus. Feast on super fresh Dungeness crab and wild-caught tuna. You will love the super low markup they put on their hard-to-find wines. 
 
Day 3 
Off to see the much anticipated Big Sur! 
1st Stop: Experience Point Lobos State Natural Reserve with gently sloped paths through forests of Monterey cypress and viewing points along rocky cliffs to spot sea lions, otters, seals, gray whales (December-May), cormorants, and pelicans. 
 
2nd Stop: If time allows, visit Garrapata State Park with two miles of beachfront and coastal hiking. 
 
3rd Stop: Enjoy the slow curvy drive along coastal cliffs to the famous Bixby Bridge—one of the most photographed bridges in the world. Pull off at the turnout just before the bridge to admire this 1930s massive feat of architecture. 
 
4th Stop: Lunch!  
Option one: Sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the long-range views of mountains and sea at The Sur House at Ventana Inn & Spa. You may spot the stunning condor, North America’s largest land bird with a 10-foot wingspan. Almost extinct, it was reintroduced into the wild in 1997 by the Ventana Wildlife Society.  

Option two: Pick up a picnic lunch at Big Sur Deli and head to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. 
 
5th Stop: On the return trip back to Carmel, step back in time at the Henry Miller Memorial Library, a cozy literary retreat where one can sit by the fire, read and listen to music. 
 
6th Stop: A quick stop just south of Carmel is Mission Ranch, an 1880s ranch beautifully restored and renovated by longtime resident Clint Eastwood. There are plenty of photo ops of sheep in the meadow, Point Lobos, and Carmel River Beach. 
 
7th Stop: Dinner at the snug European bistro La Bicyclette just off Main Street in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Try the charcuterie board (enough to feed a party of four). 
 
Day 4 
Departure: Drive the 1.5 hours north via Route 1 to the 101 back to the San Jose airport. 

 

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Elegant Getaway on Trout-filled Lake Chattooga

Skylark is a charming lakefront home with a two-car garage in the exclusive gated community of The Chattooga Club. Located on a serene, private street, this well-maintained home exudes elegant yet relaxed Southern style with heart pine floors, reclaimed timbers, and hand-hewn beams.

Perfect for quick getaways or hosting family and friends, the comfortable floor plan features a roomy master bedroom with his and her baths on the main floor, as well as two roomy bedrooms, two baths, and an office area with a wet bar. The lower level has one large bedroom and bath, a family room, wine cellar, and a full bar-perfect for entertaining! A wonderful covered living porch overlooks Lake Chattooga, and three wood-burning fireplaces add to the welcoming feel.

Trails meander throughout the property for leisurely strolls down to the lake. Lake Chattooga is restocked with trout annually. Homeowners also have access to a quiet picnic area known as Mac's View, boasting breathtaking views of three states. It's the perfect spot to watch a colorful sunset against the dramatic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Club membership is by invitation only.

 

Premier Estate Home in Prestigious Cedar Hill

This premier estate home in prestigious Cedar Hill offers loads of curb appeal, fine finishes, a spacious open floor plan, and year-round mountain views on a private, gently rolling 3.49-acre lot. This fantastic mountain retreat was custom built with great attention to detail and features five oversized bedrooms and bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen, whole home surround sound with exterior speakers, double decks, a screened living porch with wood burning fireplace, an attached two-car carport, and much more. Loaded with mountain charm, this inviting and roomy retreat is sure to have something for everyone! 

The community of Cedar Hill is an upscale, gated community offering the best of luxury mountain living in the heart of Cashiers. Full Sapphire Valley Resort amenities are available as well.

The Craft Beer Revolution

The godfather of Asheville craft beer, Oscar Wong, opened Highland Brewery in 1994 in the basement of Barley’s taproom. Passion for his hobby led to the tourism and craft that has earned Asheville national accolades of “Beer City USA” many times since 2009. Today, with more breweries per capita than any other city, this area is a craft beer lover’s paradise. From hoppy IPAs to dark stouts and every taste you can imagine, where can you find craft beer to taste and enjoy on an afternoon in Asheville? Everywhere, but we’ve got the guide to match both your palate and style. 

  

1 Sierra Nevada - Located near the Asheville airport, it is the perfect stop—pre or post flight. With a Jackson Hole style lodge look, this national brewery is coming onto the scene big time in Mills River, NC. With 23 beers on tap, their selection of craft brew is a force to be reckoned with, and their small plates and farm-to-table culinary menu options include the sinfully engaging duck fat fries. Don’t miss a chance to do some sitting by the fire outdoors, listen to live music at the amphitheater, or stroll the Mills River Estate Garden.

sierranevada.com/brewery/north-carolina

 

Burial Beer - This local favorite in the South Slope of Asheville has a mysterious vibe. Its name suggests something morbid, yet the art surrounding their selection of beer is a celebration of life, the harvest, and what is to come. The name matches their taproom, the low lighting and unfelt dampness of the earth inside leads to a sunny patio to toast your friends. It is one of the “it” spots, and the brew is good. 

burialbeer.com/taproom

 

Wicked Weed - This is a tourist trap, yet well worth a visit. Since opening in 2015 with their West Coast style of brewing, it has become known for labels such as Pernicious IPA, Lunatic Belgian Blonde, and a portfolio of barrel-aged sour and farmhouse ales. The hot spot was recently purchased by Anheuser-Busch in an effort to tap into the increasing popularity of craft beer. The brewery also offers a small, tasty menu, which can be helpful when indulging in some of their high gravity beers.

wickedweedbrewing.com

 

New Belgium - The Colorado-based brewery opened its Asheville location in 2015 with a conscious, sustainable craft beer business model. The space has a California industrial feel paired with a grass-roots vibe. Nestled next to the French Broad River off of Craven Street, the tasting room offers an outdoor park for kids, dogs, and outdoor games. Register online for the 90-minute tour of the facility prior to visiting if you want to learn more about their process. Food trucks are on location, as the taproom serves beer only. 

newbelgium.com/Brewery/asheville/tasting-room

 

Highland Brewing Company - The first craft brewer of Asheville, is also the largest family-owned brewery in the Southeast. Named after the Scots Irish who settled in these Appalachian Mountains in the 18th and 19th century, the brewery is a legend in North Carolina. Located approximately ten minutes from downtown Asheville, the brewery offers a rooftop, outdoor venue location and large taproom that is used to host many non-profit events. I recommend the Highland Gaelic Ale, and Cold Mountain (winter seasonal) on tap.

highlandbrewing.com

 

Oskar Blues - Close to the plateau, you’ll find Oskar Blues in Brevard. Its funky atmosphere accompanies its most recognized label, Dale’s Pale Ale. Located 10 minutes away from Pisgah National Forest, it is a popular stop for bikers and hikers. Hungry? The CHUBwagon serves tacos and CHUBburgers.

oskarblues.com/breweries/brevard

 

Satulah Mountains - Of course, we can’t go without mentioning our neighborhood brewer - Satulah. East of downtown Highlands, this quaint spot offers great live music and a down to earth atmosphere. satulahmountainbrewing.com

 

It used to be that only the sophisticated, geek beer drinker enjoyed and explored the crafts. Now more favored by the average beer consumer and tourist, the craft beer industry is on the rise across the nation. Here in Western North Carolina, there is an app for that. Dedicated to all things craft beer in Western North Carolina, the Asheville Ale Trail is your guide for craft beer destinations and current happenings. Download the Ale Trail App here - ashevillealetrail.com

Raise a glass, because our region’s beer is some of the best! 

A New Chapter for the Library

Johannes Klapdohr exudes enthusiasm about his work, and luckily for us, the fruits of that work are accessible. The chef and co-founder of Sapphire Valley’s Library Kitchen & Bar, Klapdohr has hit his stride in the creative reinvention of the local landmark.
The “new” Library opened over the New Year’s holiday in 2016-2017, and in the past year has become the epitomic place for fine dining, brilliantly positioned against the historical backdrop of the 1864 farmhouse that it once was.
On any given night one can see a comfortable blend of regulars and out-of-towners enjoying food and drink at the sleek kitchen bar, a small room with a fireplace, or the happening main dining room. “I like to think it has a ‘clubby’ feel,” he explains, and he’s right. There is a familiarity about the place, but don’t be fooled. This new Library is sophisticated, state-of-the-art, and delicious.
The menu, which changes seasonally to augment the use of fresh local ingredients, ranges from trout with Jerusalem artichokes to seafood risotto and chocolate bread pudding.
Johannes, as most everyone calls him, grew up in a family that respected the process of food preparation.  He is the third generation of family chefs and has warm childhood memories of his grandfather’s hotel restaurant in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, a quaint area founded by the Romans. Everything was made from scratch, he recalls, and everything was fresh.
His culinary ambition fueled fourteen years of study and work under various European chefs at several Michelin-starred restaurants.  It was while he was serving as the executive chef in a Berlin restaurant that his sister, who was in Atlanta, suggested he take a temporary assignment working at the Olympic Games, to be held in Atlanta in 1996. In preparation for the Games, the city was actively looking for international chefs.
What was to have been a brief stint in the United States proved eye-opening and challenging and, at the end of the job, he knew he was hooked.  His post as executive chef at the famed Nikolai’s Roof introduced him to the vibrant chef community in Atlanta and provided the contacts that propelled his life of gastronomic adventure.  It was in Atlanta that he met his eventual wife Liz, well known to the Library clientele for her uncanny ability to make first-time guests feel as if they are coming to her home for dinner.
Next stop after Atlanta was Sea Island, Georgia, where for three years Johannes served as executive chef at The Lodge. It was an exciting time to be there, as considerable development and re-building were underway, but the passion to cull the source of gourmet food proved strong.  And so, he accepted the position of executive chef of the famed Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan.  Milan, Ohio that is.
The Culinary Vegetable Institute celebrates the collaboration of chefs and farmers working together. Located at the tip of Lake Erie, it is renowned for having the most fertile soil in the United States and is a leading supplier of sustainable foods. It was here that he saw first-hand, for example, the importance of soil regeneration for the maximum nutritional value of crops.
“You can’t cheat nature,” he explains, detailing how the proper rotation of crops yields the best output.  
Beans, for example, release nitrogen while tomatoes need nitrogen.  Thus, it makes perfect sense that tomatoes would be planted in soil that most recently grew beans.  He rues the fact that peaches are slowly losing their nutritional value because of improper soil regeneration, and that is merely one example.
The stint at the Culinary Vegetable Institute has informed his attitude about food ever since.  Johannes bemoans the common health problems that are increasingly being experienced by younger people and blames a chemically-enhanced, unnatural diet.  He cites the well-known book by Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food, and would wholeheartedly embrace its doctrine of “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”
The father of three children, ages 8, 7 and 2, Johannes makes it a practice to take them on walks to discover the smell and feel of “real” food and advocates water and milk over soda. Not surprisingly, the big planters located in the Library’s front yard are actually fresh herb gardens and the iconic red tractor on the lawn gives a nod to his guiding philosophy.
After Milan, Ohio came The Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, where opportunities abounded to put into play the healthy yet delicious principles that were celebrated at the Culinary Vegetable Institute.  As executive chef of the entire resort, Johannes had responsibility for all food services which, in addition to the hotel’s famed restaurants, included infinite special events and all activities at The Farm. The farm-to-table movement was in high gear and there seemed no better place to run with it.
But a chance encounter with Marvin Gralnick at the Lonesome Valley Food Show in 2014 set the stage for a brand-new venture.  
Gralnick and his wife Helene may be best known for the successful retail emporium Chico’s.  Beginning in the 1980’s with one small store on Sanibel Island that sold Mexican folk art and sweaters, by the time they retired in 2006, the chain boasted over nine hundred stores, including the Black Market/White House brand.
But Marvin’s true passion is art, and his visionary works that call to mind Pollock and Miro have found their way to extensive public and private exhibitions here and abroad. At the time of this chance meeting, Gralnick owned the building that had been The Library and was contemplating its future.  
As the two men talked over a period of months they discovered a common wavelength for excellence and creativity and a dream of a cutting-edge restaurant, highlighting Johannes’ food and Marvin’s art. The Library began to take shape.
The building itself was basically a shell, and the two strategized to somehow create a contemporary environment that would also honor its considerable history.  Thus, the name “The Library” was set in stone.
“Our guests chose the name,” he says, recalling that the name was originally selected by the previous owner Scott Rooth, who wanted the restaurant to be reminiscent of a popular bar of the same name that had been in the old Fairfield Inn during Prohibition days.
While the core farmhouse, said to be the oldest building in Sapphire Valley, remains nearly intact, much of the property has undergone extensive renovation. For Johannes’ part, he wanted a “transparent” kitchen, so the design is purposefully open, and guests may even sit at a heavy wood bar and watch their food being prepared.  A prominent chandelier in the center of the kitchen/bar room looks as if it could have hung in the original house, but was rescued from a Chico’s store in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Other lamps were culled from Marvin’s considerable collections. Tables were handcrafted to complement the original Library chairs which are currently used, and copper accents were utilized extensively at the bar for a funky “industrial” look.  The interior is painted a clean white, providing the perfect backdrop for Marvin’s bold and often edgy art.
A rendition of the flag with the words “America, A Work in Progress” hangs high above the kitchen and bar room and another work proclaiming “LOVE” in lights sparkles in the main dining rooms.
For his part, Johannes creates his art in the kitchen where a staff of eight works its magic five nights a week, year round.  The menu changes frequently, to reflect the best of what’s fresh. Temperatures are dropping as this is written, and the Library’s menu offers savory stews and cassoulets and side dishes celebrating brussel sprouts, acorn and butternut squash, pears and apples.
If the always crowded parking area is any indication, the two artists have delivered on their collaboration and are providing what Johannes calls “making the exception the rule.”
At the end of an evening at The Library, guests are presented their checks inside an antique bound journal.  Almost all are compelled to write a brief message, a fitting preamble to the next wonderful chapter at the Library.
“Your food is amazing.  I like it, and I am only a kid,” writes one recent patron, while another calls the dining experience “a slice of gastronomic heaven.”
 Like the proper rotation of crops, everything old is new again, and, in the case of the Library Kitchen & Bar, better than ever.
 

Old-Fashioned Family Fun

Trending today is the idea of strengthening the family bond by sharing more memorable and meaningful moments together. Families are increasingly electing to put down their smartphones and turn off their televisions in order to find group activities away from screens. In the new year, if you and your family resolve to find quality time together then the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau has several terrific options to enjoy good old-fashioned family fun outdoors. The small town of Highlands, surrounded by national forest and nestled in the mountains at 4118’ in elevation, may appear like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The town plan lays out ideally for visitors and residents alike to easily walk the sidewalks and enjoy the quaint shops and plentiful restaurants, or sit on a bench to watch the world go by (perhaps with an ice cream cone in hand). Steepled churches, rhododendron walkways, and front porches adorned with rocking chairs make for a handsome picture-perfect postcard. Adding to the charm and character of the town is the newly opened ice skating rink that draws more families to experience the fresh air and find fun on the ice. Sandwiched between Main Street and Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park, the town green space named after Samuel Hutchinson and Clinton Kelsey who founded Highlands in 1875, the state-of-the-art rink was a gift to the town by Art and Angela Williams of Old Edwards Inn and Spa. Open from November to March, Thursday through Tuesday, the ice rink entices people from families to singles to wrap themselves in fleece and don their skates. People of all ages take to the ice amid gleeful faces and peals of laughter. While lively background music plays, you’ll see some young and old holding hands, solo skaters finding their own magic, and observers on the sidelines snapping photos of loved ones and sipping hot chocolates. While there is the option to use your own skates, the $5 entrance fee includes skates, making it an affordable form of entertainment. And for those with more limited skating abilities, plastic Skate Helpers are available to assist in keeping everyone upright on the ice. One visiting Atlanta family staying in town was thrilled to find amusement of this kind for their five kids ranging in age from 5 to 13. They loved the accessibility of the rink and the beauty of its surroundings. While the rink hosts birthday parties, after-school gatherings, and events, “date night” has become popular on Friday and Saturday nights when the rink remains open late. No matter who is on the ice, bliss and delight seem to be a common theme. If you need to be outfitted for chilly weather, go to Highland Hiker in Cashiers or Highlands to find the best brands in outdoor apparel. Around town or at the rink, you may just run into an old-timer who recalls many years past when ice skating on local lakes was commonplace. Neighbors and families would gather to enjoy a good skate, but not before shoveling lots of snow off the ice. Times have changed because winters are not as cold as they once were, but this area is fortunate to have two manmade rinks on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, along with other outdoor sport offerings for you and your family. With the summer crowds gone, winter is a perfect time to enjoy the beauty this area holds. Don’t let time skate by before you and yours find some adventure on the ice.