Cashiers just might be one of North Carolina’s best-kept secrets. It’s where Southerners have long flocked for an escape from the big city, Floridians road trip to get a taste of autumn leaves or a white Christmas, and it’s where golf enthusiasts from across the globe buy real estate to enjoy the luxurious yet laidback lifestyle. The mountain town is situated on the highest plateau of the Blue Ridge Mountains — thought to be among the oldest mountains in the world — less than 150 miles from Atlanta and just slightly further away from Charlotte. This idyllic destination offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and leisurely ways to indulge year-round, making it the perfect place to have in your back pocket anytime you’re jonesing for a weekend away from it all.
Where to Stay
High Hampton has been a fixture of fine hospitality in Cashiers for a century, and you’ll see ledger entries from guests, particularly from the U.K., who have traveled across the world to stay here. The amenity-rich resort recently began a brilliant new chapter under the direction of the Beall family, known for the beloved Blackberry Farm resort in Tennessee. Fans of the latter will be pleased to find the same caliber of design sensibility, though High Hampton has more of a cozy, Appalachian mountain town-meets-English manor vibe. It also offers an abundance of activities and a killer culinary program that will tempt you to stay on property for the entire duration of your trip. Breakfast and dinner are included with your reservation, offering a leisurely and delicious way to start and end each day with the finest local and regional ingredients.
The generous rooms, cabins and cottages offer spectacular lake and mountain views and are outfitted in a traditional, rustic design with delightful pops of color, plus all the modern amenities you could need. Whether you’re looking to hit the links with the best views in town as your backdrop, rejuvenate at the spa, rile up your party for a pickleball tournament, or spend the afternoon in the cellar for a whiskey or wine tasting, there is no shortage of things to do here for any age. Plan your stay around a holiday or event weekend to enjoy intimate discussions with trailblazing winemakers, like Cathy Corison, or indulge in a stellar New Year’s Eve tasting menu followed by a night of dueling pianos and Champagne in the club house.
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What to Do
What makes Cashiers distinct from other popular mountain towns like Asheville and Park City is that it’s more about leisure and relaxation than extreme sports and wild nights. However, there are still plenty of hikes and natural wonders to enjoy, if that’s your thing. Check out Whiteside Mountain, which is one of the longest hikes in the area, and go waterfall hunting at Rainbow Falls, Panthertown Valley, Silver Run and Whitewater Falls. You can also hop on the stunning Blue Ridge Parkway in search of more intense elevation, and your concierge — or even a local — will be happy to help find the right challenge for you. Stop in at Highland Hiker to get all the gear you need before hitting the trails.
And there are plenty of other diversions to enjoy besides hiking. The town is home to excellent shopping, such as T.J. Bailey’s for luxury menswear, The Village Hound for English antiques and upscale pet goods, and Toby West Antiques, which will allow you to bring the town’s mountain manor design sensibility back home. A 20-minute drive into nearby Highlands is great for more apparel and home shopping if you can’t get enough and has an excellent namesake wine shop where you can pick up a few bottles for friends, family or yourself.
If you stay at High Hampton, you can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and fishing and have access to the resort’s tennis courts, pool, hot tub and croquet facilities. It’s also worth venturing 10 minutes for an afternoon of fly-fishing or boating on picturesque Lake Glenville.
Where to Eat and Drink
For such a small town, Cashiers has a pretty impressive roster of wonderful dining institutions. Whiteside Brewing Company is a favorite for its excellent local beers and diverse menu of both pub fare and health-conscious dishes that will please any eater. Plus, it boasts plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a sunny day, so you can let the kids or dogs run wild while you sip an IPA. The Ugly Dog Public House is another must-visit for everything from burgers and dogs to roasted salmon and quinoa salads, plus plenty of libations for post-hike refueling.
Winslow’s Hideaway is a cherished fine dining institution that feels quintessentially Cashiers. The restaurant offers a satisfying mix of French, Creole, Cajun and local dishes in an understated, friendly atmosphere that has been run by Winslow himself since the ‘70s. You simply must not miss out on the deep-fried lobster tail as a starter.
If you’re popping into Highlands for an afternoon, visit The Ruffed Grouse Tavern at Highlander Mountain House for a meal inspired by regional meats and produce, plus a classic cocktail or a new-to-you wine from the hotel’s eclectic list. And if you’re spending a glorious afternoon fly-fishing or canoeing on Lake Glenville, be sure to snag lunch at Happ’s Place, a townie favorite for nearly half a century that boasts elevated takes on classic comfort food in a converted barn, complete with an ample back porch and roaring fireplace that will make you feel right at home.
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