Friday, April 12, 2024

Today’s Paige: 5 Things to Know Before You Go to Highlands, N.C.

The charming mountain town of Highlands, North Carolina, was once a simple summer retreat for Floridians. Now it is a year-round rustic yet refined destination for couples, families, retirees or even those flying solo! At elevations between 3,500 and 4,000+ feet, many agree the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is the Height of Happiness. Cool temperatures, natural beauty and unlimited outdoor adventures surround this area of the southern Appalachian mountains. It’s our doable drive or easy direct flight to the mountains… so let’s go! 


Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Highlands, N.C.

Tried and true downtown accommodations include the historic Relais & Chateaux property, Old Edwards Inn & Spa (owned by Palm Beachers Art and Angela Williams) and the Highlander Mountain House, an English Country House Hotel recently renovated to perfection by Hotelier Jason Reeves. The area’s best remote retreats include Half-Mile Farm (also part of the Old Edwards Hospitality Group), Skyline Lodge and High Hampton. Websites like Airbnb and Vrbo offer hundreds of spacious mountain homes as well.


Whiteside Mountain Trail

Trails, hikes, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and mountain adventures… there is truly something for everyone. Sunset Rock Trail, Whiteside Mountain Trail and Dry Falls top the list. Golfers love Old Edwards Country Club and Cullasaja Club, and Sapphire National Golf Club is open to the public. Fly fishing enthusiasts hook up with Brookings Anglers and horse lovers enjoy several nearby stables for trailriding. In the summer, check out Cashiers Sliding Rock for a cool summer slide and dip and the Nantahala Outdoor Center for whitewater rafting. Winter activities include skiing and tubing and year-round arts are celebrated at Highlands Playhouse and the Bascom Center for the Visual Arts. 


Oak Restaurant at Skyline Lodge

This isn’t a late-night town but it sure is a fabulous one when it comes to food and wine. Delicious places to dine include Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro, Madison’s Restaurant, The Ruffed Grouse, Oak Steakhouse, Four65 Woodfire Bistro + Bar, Ristorante Paoletti, The Ugly Dog Public House and Mountain Fresh Grocery. And you must stop into SweeTreats for custom-blended ice cream (a Kornblue favorite since the 1980’s)!


Steve and Stephanie Miskew with Paige Kornblue at Highlands Wine Shoppe

Bubbles, whites and reds outside by the fire—yes please! Grab a glass and meet locals and visitors at Highlands Wine Shoppe, owned by South Florida’s award-winning Certified Sommelier Stephanie Miskew and husband, Steve. Don’t miss Highlands Food & Wine Festival in November and Bear Shadow Music Festival in April—both events bring in James Beard-caliber chefs, world-class wine and world-renowned musicians for weekend-long festival fabulousness (think Boca Bacchanal meets Jazzfest, mountain style)! 


Look no further for great gifts, home furnishings and mountain chic furniture than ACP Home Interiors (yes, the same store once in Boca Raton!). Bardo and Highland Hiker are also great shopping stops in downtown Highlands. The Highland Hiker team also provides guidance for day hikes and fly fishing excursions.


If you have the time to stop on the drive up to western North Carolina, consider these destinations: Amelia Island, Savannah, Charleston, the Golden Isles (St. Simons Island, Sea Island Resort, Jekyll Island) and The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee. 

For more information on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, check out the TRAVEL section of Paige Kornblue’s Blog and her podcast at 

Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue is an award-winning journalist who founded Paige Kornblue Media and The Paige Kornblue Show highlighting everything from interesting people, fascinating places to the gems that make our communities special. In addition to The Paige Kornblue Show podcast and Boca Magazine, Paige is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor. She has anchored and reported for top-rated television stations across the country including WPTV NBC NewsChannel 5 and WMUR ABC News 9. Paige has also worked at NBC Sports and Dateline NBC and provided live reports for CNN and The Weather Channel. Some of her most memorable stories include exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Senator John McCain, Barbara Walters, Emmitt Smith, Desmond Howard, Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. PK is a proud Boca Raton native who grew up loving Boca Magazine and all that comes with the fabulous city of Boca Raton! You can often find her on stage assisting charities as event emcee and moderator, on the courts working to improve her tennis game and on momma time enjoying each moment with her three young kiddos!

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