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. These are mountain homes and cabins with natural 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 irratating 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.