North Carolina Uncategorized

Getaway To Highlands NC

The wife booked us a three night  get-a-way in Highlands NC,  so we headed up I-985 from Atlanta for the 2.5 hour plus trip. It took 4 hours. So much for Google Maps prediction when it is foggy and light rain in the mountains.

Highlands NC is in Western North Carolina about 25 miles north of Georgia. In this section of Western North Carolina there are other desirable small towns like Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, Sylva, Glenville, Lake To a way and Brevard, a quaint college town.    Both Highlands and Cashiers are resort mountain small towns with lots of charm. Both are favorites of Atlanta people escaping the heat and humidity during the Summer months and Florida halfbacks moving up from the Sunshine state.

Highlands has a walkable town filled with antique shops, interesting stores for shopping, restaurants, some gourmet,  and places to stay like 200 Main where we are staying.

Many people come here on a vacation and end up buying a seasonal home and for some that turns into their retirement home. There are no 55 Active Adult Communities but there are many mountain homes and cabins with scenic yards. There are many mountain lifestyle communities with activities and amenities that are similar to what Active Adult Communities offer.  Lonesome Valley, Sapphire Valley, and  Bear Lake Reserve are some of the larger communities but there are many more. Many full time residents now call this area home.

Western NC is known for being an appealing retirement area with award winning golf courses, gourmet restaurants, and renowned trout fishing waters. Most get an introduction to the area by renting a home first from rental companies like SPM Resorts and Sapphire Real Estate and Rentals.

I would image with the influx of tourists in the Summer that might get irritating to locals, but this helps supports the gourmet restaurants and attractions. During Winter I bet it gets a little quiet around here but locals love it.

Most of the time weather is great break from city heat and people enjoy hiking the nature trails, golfing, fishing on the mountain lakes and visiting the many waterfalls in the area.

In the meantime back to my trip,  since it is foggy and raining today, we will curl up around the cozy fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book and research where to make dinner reservations.

Fireplace at 200 Main Highlands N C
old Edwards inn
Old Edwards Inn Highlands

Small Town for Sale

Toomsboro mayor Roger Smith stands at the fence of the newly restored bed and breakfast at the center of his mid-Georgia town
Toomsboro mayor Roger Smith stands at the fence of the newly restored bed and breakfast at the center of his mid-Georgia town

There is a story in the Huffington Post that says buying a small town just keeps getting easier.  It says a developer who owns most of Toomsboro Georgia is putting his properties up for sale.  The town has 700 residents and features several small businesses like a florist, a convenience store and a custom cabinet shop.  According to the seller it was be ideal for a movie production company for a movie or a music video.

Toomsboro is in Wilkinson County where I went to high school and I knew several classmates who lived in Toomsboro.  Kurt was a butcher in Toomsboro the last time I went through there.  .

I know this sounds sensational saying a town is for sale, but several things just do not make sense to me.  So what does it mean to buy a small town… don’t the people living there have a say?   Reportedly a developer has the properties for sale…. well I can assure you there has not been much new development in Toomboro in quite some time.  I remember when the Swampland Opera closed down and most buildings in town were showing their age and in need of repair.   Maybe I could be wrong and the developer renovated the buildings and the town.  Gosh, you know he is upside down on those loans.

Despite all the publicity, have any sales of small towns ever worked out?   I remember Kim Basigner was going to buy Braselton, another Georgia town.   That sounds about as a good idea as her marriage to Alex Baldwin. With perhaps too much disposable income, Kim headed up an investment group that purchased the entire town of Braselton, in her native Georgia, for $20 million (she would later have to sell it).

Some guy who is the sole resident of Buford Wyoming put his house up for sale and a Vietnamese businessman bought it and could say he owned the whole town.  Big deal.

The town where The Hunger Games was filmed is reportedly for sale for 1.4 million.  The owner says the town gets lots of visitors.

If a small town is for sale, it is probably not a good place to live, much less retire to.   Who wants to live in a town that someone owns most of the property in and probably runs everything.   My guess is most of these towns are ghost towns and the people have long left for better living somewhere else, leaving  some buildings that may be called a town on paper but no longer in reality.