Upon arriving in Highlands, my husband and I nearly missed the inn entirely. Sitting modestly on the corner of Main Street, Old Edwards Inn and Spa blends in seamlessly with Highlands’ mountain look and feel. Once we stepped inside, though, we realized Old Edwards was nothing like the mountain cottages and inns we’d passed earlier. Old Edwards is all about European elegance from its décor—dark mahogany paneling, Christofle silver, and period antiques—to its dining—high tea with sweet petit fours and a sophisticated breakfast featuring our favorite, savory cheese grits.
Photos courtesy of Old Edwards Inn and Spa
Old Edwards Inn and Spa Highlands, NC
After a four-hour drive from Charlotte, our spa suite (starting at $695 and part of a renovation completed in 2004) was more than inviting. Its soft Frette bedding was relaxing, while our private balcony was a soothing place to unwind with a glass of champagne, which was offered upon our arrival. A visit to the luxe spa would’ve added to our relaxation, but due to our tight schedule we opted for dinner in lieu of massages.
And it’s a good thing we did. Dinner at Madison’s is the ultimate treat. Consommé braised lamb with Yukon potato mousseline, basted fillet of beef with cream arugula, and a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list topped off the selections.
Strolling down cozy Main Street that night, we realized that the inn, in fact, isn’t hard to miss with its glowing lights and wine garden full of patrons enjoying the cool mountain air. —B. M.
Acorns showcases a variety of traditional and transitional home décor. European and American antiques are coupled with imported linens, tabletop items, and garden accents plus rustic pieces such as weathered windowpanes and wrought-iron chandeliers. Main St., between Fourth and Fifth sts., Highlands,
Deals abound at Scudder’s Galleries, an auction showroom where you’ll find everything from a Heckman yellow pine Chippendale-style desk to a collection of Wedgwood Christmas plates and an eighteenth-century Jacobean oak butler’s dish. Many of the items sell for half their estimated worth, making this auction a must-stop while in Highlands. Open Monday through Saturday, auctions begin at 8 p.m. 352 Main St., Highlands, 828-526-5355
This unique collection of handcrafted furniture, eclectic home accents, and lighting are Dutchmans Designs’ forte. Crushed apricot and lime potpourri offer a sweet smell while shopping the various candles, lamps, wall art, chandeliers, and furniture that range from cottage chic to traditional and transitional. 342 Main St., Highlands, 828-526-8864
High Hampton Inn & Country Club Cashiers, NC
As you drive up the boxwood-lined entrance to High Hampton Inn & Country Club, you’ll find one of Cashiers’s most picturesque lodge grounds. While it looks posh and elegant, the truth is High Hampton is a rustic resort. Guests have come here for its family atmosphere and hard-and-fast traditions. A coat and tie are required at dinner, and in place of video games and TVs, families bond over card games and Ping-Pong while couples sit side by side on the lodge’s wraparound porch. Guests can tee off on the inn’s par-71 golf course, play tennis, or swim in the private, thirty-five-acre Hampton Lake. The best family-time option is hiking through Cashiers Valley with its rambling streams, waterfalls, granite faces, and mountain peaks. And the inn offers two hour-plus trails that reach as high as 4,730 feet. —B. M.
1525 Highway 107 South, Cashiers, 800-334-2551, www.highhamptoninn.com