highlands, nc

A Regal Night's Sleep: A Peek inside a Trio of High Country Luxury Lodgings

 

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Cashiers-Highlands Plateau holds as many allures as there are stars in the sky high above Whiteside Mountain. From a romantic escape to a weekend adventure, what often draws visitors to the Cashiers-Highlands Plateau are the picturesque views, enchanting waterfalls, temperate climate, charming collection of shops and restaurants, and incredible array of exciting events and outdoor activities. Of course, once they arrive, these sightseers are often pleasantly surprised by the caliber of our accommodations and the fact that Southern Hospitality is still alive and well. Whether seeking rustic refinement in a rental lodge or a posh place along Main Street to rest one’s head for the night, our lodgings serve as a sophisticated sneak peek into what life might be like as a regular high country homeowner. To that end, NC Living Magazine is proud to shine the spotlight on three of our finest proprietors of repose to aid you in planning your next visit to our beautiful little corner of the world…

 

Old Edwards Inn & Spa
This five-star oasis at the heart of Highlands’ renowned Main Street has garnered the attention Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes Magazine, Southern Living and TripAdvisor, among others – making its mark as one of the best hotels in the state, the South, the nation and the world. Boasting Old World-inspired architecture, Old Edwards Inn touts itself as a “casually elegant” resort. At center stage lies the historic inn with its individually appointed guest rooms featuring period antiques, fine European bedding and Italian linens alongside thoroughly modern conveniences such as free WIFI, heated floors in the bathroom and flat-screen TVs. Radiating out from there is the award-winning Spa with a number of sophisticated Spa Suites, a variety of quaint Cottages and an awe-inspiring assortment of Guest Estates. Not far away, the Old Edwards Club showcases 18 holes of golf that are as scenic as they are challenging, as well as an outdoor heated mineral pool, clay tennis courts and state-of-the-art fitness center. In perfect balance with the stylishness of the surroundings and the superiority of the guest experience is the diversity of the culinary encounters. Presenting farm fresh local cuisine crafted using ingredients harvested as close as Old Edwards own gardens and a number of regional farmers, Old Edwards showcases seven sophisticated restaurants, eateries and watering holes, including the highly-touted farm-to-table Madison’s Restaurant, The Wine Garden, Hummingbird Lounge, Arts at the Lodge, The Spa Café, The Grill Room at Old Edwards Club and seasonal opportunities for poolside dining. Eat, Drink, Play, Sleep and Repeat.

 

200 Main
A sister property to Old Edwards Inn, this rustically refined mountain retreat currently features 40 guest rooms and one chic suite – some of which boast private balconies overlooking Main Street. In order to keep up with growing demand, 200 Main will throw back the curtain this summer on two additional buildings to include 20 new guest rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness room. The new guest rooms will comprise two queen beds, a fireplace and a choice of either patio or balcony. In keeping with the tranquility of its setting, 200 Main offers an overwhelming sense of leisure with its heated outdoor mineral pool, fire pit on the terrace, friendly cornhole competitions on the lawn, and so much more. Adventure abounds within mere miles of 200 Main, including hiking trails, waterfalls, zip lining, boating at Lake Glenville and an active arts scene – not to mention the unique boutiques and excellent eateries of Highlands and the neighboring village of Cashiers.

 

Half Mile Farm
This self-proclaimed “country inn” is also owned by Old Edwards Hospitality. Like its sister property at 200 Main, Half-Mile Farm has undergone significant property enhancements – all of which will be revealed June 2017. Imbued with the sense of an authentic Bed & Breakfast experience, Half-Mile Farm provides complimentary chef-prepared breakfasts and afternoon social hours featuring delectable wine and hors d’oeuvres on the house. In addition to a spectacular collection of rooms and suites in the historic main inn, Half-Mile Farm also boasts a number of surprisingly sophisticated cabins. As a member of Old Edwards Hospitality, Half-Mile Farm guests are afforded room signing privileges at each of the restaurants at Old Edwards Inn, as well as access to the amenities at Old Edwards Club. However, with 14 acres of fields, forests, streams and lakes for the exploring, there’s rarely a reason to leave the Farm in search of distractions. While here, guests can take a dip in the heated outdoor mineral pool, wander along a creek side trail, go fishing or canoeing on the 6-acre Apple Lake or simply relax and soak up the serenity of their scenic surroundings. 

Estate with Guest House and Mountain and Valley Views

Tranquil and picturesque long range vistas abound from this 22-acre Blue Valley estate in Highlands. Positioned at an elevation of 3,780 feet, the property features excellent privacy and incredible panoramic views of several mountain ranges, with layered ridges that turn a cool, misty blue in the distance.

Taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings, the main home offers several inviting outdoor living spaces for entertaining friends and extended family. To the front, a huge open deck makes the perfect place to savor morning coffee as the sun rises over Queen Mountain, the Satulah Mountains and the Small Fodder Stack Mountains beyond, plus several ranges in the Chattahoochee National Forest. On the terrace level, a large patio with a stone fireplace, built-in grill, putting green, horseshoe pit and shuffleboard court promises fun for all ages. The kitchen is completely remodeled and centrally located, while the newly added sunroom with wall-to-wall windows boasts a satellite kitchen with two dishwasher drawers and its own grilling porch. Three bedrooms, three baths, a living room, two dining areas, a playroom, den and two office spaces complete this 5,000+ square foot home. A whole house generator is included.

The guest cottage has one bedroom and one full bath, with an adorable kitchen, bonus room, half bath and rocking chair front porch. A large storage/equipment building sits nearby. With its own well and septic installed, the third home was purchased for additional acreage and is being sold as-is. It has gorgeous views looking over the Chattahoochee National Forest from the back of the house and Brushy Face and Little Yellow Mountains from the front.

Although only four miles from downtown Highlands, this spacious estate feels like a distant magical getaway. Sitting on top of the mountain plateau, it adjoins lush national forestlands filled with native flora, as well as deer, turkey, many species of birds and other wildlife.

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.