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.
Imagine, pink-hued soft flour-like sand embraces your toes as you walk down a three and a half-mile turquoise water shoreline. Warm sun trickles through the fresh sea air as it glazes your cheeks. Pristine water paired with a perfect blue sky, a feast for the eyes. Does it sound like a dream? Welcome to Harbour Island. • A three-and-a-half-mile-long and mile-and-a-half wide island of the Bahamas greets with its color-popping homes perched on the hill as you approach in your water taxi transportation. Once on the dock, the sound of golf carts, sights of wild roosters, and graceful Bay Street transport you to another world. Paradise. • “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” takes on a new meaning with the island’s favorite cocktail, Goombay Smash. In an instant, you feel the charm of the island, and welcome time standing still. • It has everything, dive bars, 5-star cuisine, R&R, salt water, sun, and sand. And that’s not all. Accommodations so perfect it is hard to choose where to stay, and conversations so delightful you never want to leave.
/ lunch. Sip Sip - Overlooking the Atlantic ocean, this is a must for lunch. Open from 11:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Wednesday - Monday, this restaurant is first come, first serve. I personally love the chili dogs here, and I don’t usually eat chili dogs.
/ cocktails. Miami Vice at Pink Sands - There is something special about a strawberry margarita, pina colada mixed drink while overlooking the turquoise blue waves as they gently touch the shore and whisk away back out to sea. Pink Sands is the place to enjoy a beachy afternoon sun cocktail.
/ snack. Queen Conch - Fresh conch salad, need I say more? Conch prepared with lime juice and mixed fresh tomatoes and onions is the perfect snack on a hot afternoon!
/ bakery. Arthur’s Bakery - This artisan bakery serves the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever tasted. You must try the coconut or the jalapeño cheese bread, and the mini-donuts are great as well.
/ Runaway Hill inn - This boutique hotel overlooking the ocean is owned by hockey great Mark Messier. It is a perfect escape on the island, and you will enjoy the palm tree-lined courtyard leading to its entrance. Indulge in an in-room massage while listening to the waves kiss the shoreline.
/ The Landing - This is a boutique hotel and restaurant with inspired design by famous Ralph Lauren model India Hicks. If you don’t stay here, you must at least enjoy cocktail hour at the bar and reserve a table for dinner. The cuisine is some of the best on the island. Try the beef tenderloin or lobster ravioli, and ask to visit the “Cellar,” it offers an incredible wine selection!
/ Valentines Resort and Marina - The yacht-filled dock is beautiful at sunset. Enjoy a cocktail with the neighboring island of Eleuthera in the background at dusk or enjoy a selection from the menu at any time during the day.
/ The Rock House - Another of the island’s incredible boutique hotels. Its ambiance will make you swoon. Make reservations to dine poolside in a cabana.
THINGS TO DO
/ Sugar Mill Trading Co. - A beautiful shopping boutique owned by India Hicks. Filled with men and women’s clothing and unique gifts. Did you know India Hicks is the godchild of the late Princess Diana?
/ Gusty’s - With a sand dance floor and good music, Gusty’s is a perfect way to end your evening.
/ Ocean Fox Diving - Whether you are a diver or a snorkeler, Jeff Fox will take you out for an amazing under-the-sea swim, and if you love to deep sea fish, the fresh tuna is the best sashimi I have ever tasted.
This spacious home on over six acres is located just minutes from Cashiers and offers beautiful Whiteside Mountain views. Soak in the tranquility of the mountains while sitting on the wraparound porch, or take advantage of the central location and enjoy the area's renowned dining, shopping, and golf, all just minutes away.
The expansive great room is part of an open floor plan that offers plenty of room for entertaining large groups with a large dining area, hardwood floors, and a dramatic floor-to-ceiling fireplace. A wall of windows floods the entire space with natural light. Enjoy the stunning view as you cook in the gourmet kitchen equipped with premium stainless steel appliances and fine custom cabinetry.
There are multiple bedrooms on the main level, as well as additional bedrooms on both the lower and upper level. The family room on the lower level features a fireplace and its own complete kitchen and dining area, providing guests with privacy and comfort.
No detail was spared in creating this like-new home in the coveted Lonesome Valley community. Situated in a serene setting that overlooks Trout Pond, the property is bordered by creeks on three sides. Nearly flat, the almost two-and-a-half acres are walkable and beckon you to explore every inch.
Every room of the home is on one level with a guest apartment over the two-car garage. The light, bright, and open floor plan features a gourmet kitchen that is open to both the living and dining areas with stunning views in both directions. Outside, you'll enjoy sitting on the covered screen porch with wood burning fireplace overlooking Trout Pond. You can cast your line only a few steps away from the porch.
This home could be enjoyed seasonally or year-round as the current owners do. The property is the perfect combination of beautiful, tranquil solitude with a convenient location only three miles from the center of Cashiers. Lonesome Valley is the largest boxed-faced canyon east of the Mississippi, comprised of 750 acres—300 of which are common green space. The amenity package includes extensive hiking trails, fly fishing in the streams and ponds, lake activities, a fitness facility, an outdoor heated pool, tennis courts, rock climbing, fine dining, and a day spa. This is a home and location for the discerning buyer.
It’s no secret that the world currently has an overabundance of celebrity chefs. They put their name on everything from spatulas to dog food. In this day of blogs and YouTube, anyone can aspire to achieve celebrity status and acquire their own show (and a cult following) on the television channel that’s wholly dedicated to food. You could even say that the celebrity chef movement spawned an onslaught of celebrity psychologists, celebrity doctors, and celebrity dog trainers.
But long before reality TVbefore cooking was even a form of entertainmentAmerica was not a place that came to mind when people thought of sophisticated gastronomy. It took pioneers such as Julia Child to bring America to the forefront of gourmet cooking. Although many consider Child to be the first celebrity chef, it was a man named James Beard who hosted the first-ever televised cooking show.
Many know his name, but few know much about him. Born in 1903, Beard emerged from a culture of microwaved TV dinners, Jell-O molds, and Spam. He was raised in the Pacific Northwest by his self-sufficient English mother, who taught him to cook the seafood and wild berries that they gathered themselves from the Oregon beach.
A fierce student of the theater, he lived abroad for several years to pursue his dream of acting at his mother’s encouragement. After eight years of failing to break into theater or movies, Beard was forced to learn to make money some other way. He started a catering business that later blossomed into a food shop called Hors d’Oeuvre, Inc. He then began what was to be a prolific career writing cookbooks (he would publish over twenty-five of them before his death in 1985). Upon his return from the war in 1945, Beard jumped right back into the culinary world, appearing on NBC in America’s first cooking show.
“This is Sarasota Unbleached Flour. Let me tell you what unbleached means. It means untouched, unartificial, unfooled with, untampered with, unmessed with, unfiddled with, uncorrected, unperfected,” a stout James Beard matter-of-factly touts to the camera.
This commercial for Sarasota Flour encapsulates just what made James Beard such an icon. He was one of the first to shake America from its lazy slumber of canned food and baking mixes. Some have described this period as “the death of food.” Companies had discovered the gold mine that was the American housewife and the result was a movement of factory farming, fast food, and processed food that America has yet to fully recover from. Beard railed against the idea that easy is always better. He suggested buying produce when it’s in seasona common sense idea that was revolutionary in a time when “organic” was just thought of as a type of chemical compound.
As his ideas gained popularity, Beard established the James Beard Cooking School, with locations in New York City and Seaside, Oregon. He spent the remainder of his life writing cookbooks, traveling, and tirelessly teaching others his concepts of good food, ethically prepared with fresh ingredients. He was eventually recognized by the New York Times as the “Dean of American cookery” for his efforts in coalescing American cooking traditions into a national cuisine.
Upon his death, Julia Child urged Peter Kump, a former student of the James Beard Cooking School, to purchase Beard’s Greenwich Village brownstone and continue Beard’s legacy. Although its purpose has expanded over time, the James Beard Foundation’s core principles have remained the same as was originally stated by a press release on the day it opened in 1986: “to provide a center for the culinary arts and to continue to foster the interest James Beard inspired in all aspects of food, its preparation presentation, and of course, enjoyment.”
The foundation now hosts over 250 events annually, featuring bourgeoning chefs from all over the world. It also launched the James Beard Awards, considered to be the food industry’s highest honor and called by Time magazine “the Oscars of the food world.” For more information about James Beard or to see the James Beard Foundation’s calendar of events, visit the foundation’s website at jamesbeard.org.
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