A Complete Guide to Highland's, N.C.
Updated: Jul 28, 2018
If you live in Atlanta, you are aware of how hot and relentless the summer months can be. Atlanta is geographically located about 4-5 hours from the coast, which makes a weekend get-away to the beach a commitment. Many Atlantan’s escape to one of the several lakes for the weekend, but if you’re not a huge lake person, the options seem limited. However, If you are an outdoorsy yet a little bit bougie, I suggest taking a trip to Highlands, North Carolina to get your mountain fix. After spending a weekend in Highlands, you will return to Atlanta feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the challenges of the week ahead.
Highlands, North Carolina is located a mere two hours outside the city of Atlanta, and is acknowledged for it’s picturesque mountain town, plethora of hiking trails, spectacular waterfalls, pure rivers to kyak or fly-fish, pristine golf courses, world-class restaurants, and upscale boutiques.
Places to stay
$$$ The Farm at Old Edwards
$$$ Old Edwards Inn
$$ 200 Main
$ Highlands Inn
$ Main Street Inn
My favorites: The Farm at Old Edwards Inn OR The Main Street Inn depending on my budget. The Main Street Inn is a charming family owned hotel with a true bed and breakfast feel. The restaurant in the hotel serves great food, and the patio outside of the Main Street Inn is my favorite place to relax and listed to live music in the crisp mountain air. The Farm at Old Edwards is my absolute favorite; The Farm is a bunch of small Cabins on a massive farm with a lake filled with Lilly pads and little canoes guests can take out, and a mansion on top of the rolling hill for guests to eat breakfast or host events. I stayed in the most adorable cabin for my 24th birthday with my girlfriends. It looked like something out of Southern Living, built with authentic cabin materials, high ceilings, top- notch appliances, and luxurious bathrooms.
Buck’s Coffee: Bucks has the best coffee and options for you Starbuck’s enthusiasts like a Vanilla Chai Latte. I honestly just go for a classic black coffee and fix it myself. The coffee is extremely smooth and barely needs any sugar or cream because the beans are fresh and far from bitter.
Mountain Fresh Grocery: They have a breakfast bar to quickly assemble a meal; eggs, sausage, waffles, parfait materials, but they also have a coffee counter where you can order a fresh, customized breakfast like a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with a side of stone ground grits. (It is a fact that calories don’t exist the higher the elevation-so be generous with maple syrup).
Madison’s Restaurant: For a more sophisticated breakfast, make a reservation for brunch. I love planning large brunch parties at Madison’s because the menu has something for everyone and the experience is elegant and classy.
Wild Thyme Gourmet: I absolutely love Wild Thyme for a healthy, fresh meal. The food is different compared to the majority of restaurants in Highlands, offering flavorful American/Asian fusion plates. Wild Thyme has an extensive wine list for those opting to indulge during lunch. My favorite spot in the house is the outside patio while enjoying the Warm Sesame Chicken Salad.
Bistro on Main: For those a little ravished after a long hike (@natkieta), I suggest the Chicken Pot Pie. They make the pie from scratch with plenty of fresh vegetables and a perfect flaky crust.
Paloetti’s Ristoreante: Honestly, tears come to my eyes when I think about the their gorgeous little tortellini’s prepared ‘Panna Con Piselli e Prosciutto’ or with peas and ham, delicately dressed in a creamy, dreamy, parmesan sauce. Too much? Anyway, this place is perfect for a romantic date night (they event have a sommelier select the perfect wine to accompany your meal), but is one of the more expensive restaurants in Highlands. Make a reservation ahead of time!
Wolfgang’s Restaurant: 10/10, Highly Recommend. They have a large menu, great wine list (honestly, everywhere is Highlands has a KILLER wine list), and ambience. They take large parties if you make a reservation. My favorite dish on the menu is the aged in house, black angus 8 oz. filet mignon served over a cabernet sauce, with a baked potato and fresh vegetables.
Cyprus: This is my favorite place to host parties! The environment is relaxed and they have a stunning rooftop patio bar with darling twinkle lights. The menu is globally inspired; you can order Thai food, Italian food, French food, you name it! I love this place for the memories I have made here and all of the special people I had the chance to celebrate with at Cyprus.
The Wine Garden: Instagrammable place to snag a glass of bubbly and charcuterie & cheese.
Ugly Dog Public House: Best place to listen to live music and get a little rowdy. Ladies who attended my last birthday celebration, who remembers leaving here? Cudo’s, Ugly Dog.
Sweet Treats: Create your perfect ice cream flavor! Select either vanilla or chocolate and add in toppings, fruits, nuts, and sauces to be softly blended into your ice cream. I always get vanilla with chocolate chips, strawberries, and peanut butter with walnuts on top! It is so good.
Kilwin’s: I am pretty sure Kilwin’s found a way to dip anything delicious in chocolate to make it even tastier. This ice cream shop isn’t unique to Highlands, but has quality desserts.
Annawear: I can’t go into this store without backup. Without adult supervision, I will purchase the entire store. They have the cutest dresses, tops, rompers, booties, and jeans that fit me perfectly! Bonus: Their accessories are on point- lingerie, trendy hats, necklaces, and everything to perfect your outfit.
Bear Mountain Outfitters: Has everything you need to look like a Highland’s native. High quality clothing made for outdoor activities, but is also transitional for going out to dinner, etc.
Rosenthal’s: The nicest boutique in Highlands selling designers like Armani, Valentino, Stuart Weitzman, Jimmy Choo, and more!
Acorns on Church: My favorite place to find home accents, coffee table books, and gifts for your family!
Hiking/ Sites/ Activities
Dry Falls- US 64/28 W Highlands, NC 28741
Whiteside Mountain Trail- Moderate, Highest elevation - 4930
Glen Falls- 1091 Glen Falls Rd, Highlands, NC 28741
Old Iron Bridge- Bull Pen Rd, Cashiers, NC 28717
Kayaking-Dillsboro River Company, Sylva, NC
Golf- Sky Valley Country Club (Par 72), Highlands Country Club (Par 70)
Zip-lining- Highlands Aerial Park, Scaly Mountain, NC
Horseback riding- Arrowmont Stables, Cashiers, NC
Old Edwards Inn Spa- They have everything!