We all need a break every now and then and if you’re in need for a mini-getaway or simply a day trip, consider Highlands, North Carolina.
Recently featured as one of Country Living magazine’s best small towns, this charming location’s motto is “The Height of Happiness” and that is increasingly appreciated as you make your ascension. The town limit’s average elevation is over 4,100 feet which makes this one of the highest incorporated municipalities this side of the Mississippi River!
The nearby Nantahala National Forest is a treasure trove of hiking trails to select from. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you can enjoy sweeping views or waterfalls from a variety of trails. Sunset Rock is one of the most popular trails in the area due to it’s being accessible year round. The trail is just a short 1.2 mile hike and offers incredible views of the town.
The town is also known for its picturesque streets lined with luxury boutiques, antique shops, award winning inns, and farm to table fine dining restaurants. Old Edwards Inn and Spa, known for its upscale rustic architecture and award winning spa, is one of the top rated hotels in the South rated by Conde Naste and Travel and Leisure Magazine. The hotel, along with the Highlands as a whole, is a hotspot for weddings in the spring and summer.
This year, Highlands will also be host for the inaugural Bear Shadow Music Festival. Held April 23rd through 25th, come and enjoy outdoor live musical performances that include folk, bluegrass, and the blues. For more information on this event, please click here https://bearshadownc.com/. The festival also features music workshops, outdoor excursions, and even yoga in the park!
And if you are left wondering as to the event’s name, you have another fun feature of this area to discover! About five miles east of Highlands is a unique feature that is only visible during the Autumn season and for a brief time from mid-February to early March. During these times, a bear-like shadow appears when the sun sets behind Whiteside Mountain and is known as “Shadow of the Bear”. The phenomenon is a popular attraction for those seeking the beauty of the mountains.
Highlands, North Carolina is a perfect getaway for those seeking the serenity of nature while still enjoying the finer things in life. Only in Highlands can you spend a day hiking, followed by a luxurious massage, and local gourmet cuisine, all while feeling part of the town, not part of the bustle. This small mountain town is our favorite hidden Blue Ridge gem.