Cool Mist: Visitors follow the trail behind the cascading water at Dry Falls in Highlands, North Carolina. (Opposie) Courtyard doors to guest rooms at the newly renovated Skyline Lodge, a few miles from the small town center.
Prairie-Style: Reopened last summer after a major renovation, parts of the Skyline Lodge were designed and built in the 1930s—a student of Frank Lloyd Wright was the original architect. Today, guests relax in the central courtyard where there was once a pool.
Vintage Vacay: In a brochure from the 1960s era of Skyline Lodge, Highlands is described as “magnificently astride the saddle of a 4,300-foot mountain overlooking the waterfalls.”
In the Village: Main Street in Highlands is lined with local and regional shops, boutiques, and cafes. Outdoor adventures, including waterfalls, hiking trails, and botanical gardens, are just a short drive away.
The vintage Land Rover at Skyline Lodge adds to the mid-century vibe. (Right) One of the soaring granite fireplaces in the lounge at Oak Steakhouse Highlands.
Mountains for Miles: A pre-dinner gathering on a patio at the 50-acre Skyline Lodge. Founded in 1875, the North Carolina town was promoted from its start for the cooler climate, healthy air, and excellent potential for orchards and gardens.
Steak served up with family-style sides of potatoes and mushrooms at Oak Steakhouse in the Skyline Lodge, where McCrady’s alum Colin Bard is the sommelier.
Guest rooms are outfitted with cabin-cozy furnishings, original art, and balconies or patios, and many have granite fireplaces.
The covered bridge crossing at the entrance to The Bascom: A Center for Visual Arts in Highlands, located on a former horse farm. Exhibitions change regularly, and the grounds includes a nature trail.
Land of Waterfalls: Pinky Falls near Skyline Lodge isn’t the tallest or most dramatic, but its rushing water offers a beautiful, calming respite.
Natural Instincts: A hiking destination, Highlands has many in-town and nearby trails. (Clockwise from top left) The Kelsey Trail Preserve entrance.
The boardwalk at Highlands Botanical Garden.
A deer pauses beside the stairs in the Highlands Botanical Garden.
A painted trillium in bloom.
A massive eastern hemlock trees along the trail in the Kelsey Trail Preserve.
The Old Edwards Inn & Spa on Main Street.
Pizza and salad at Mountain Fresh Grocery.
Inside the Highland Hiker.
An outbuilding at The Bascom.
A nonalcoholic cocktail at Oak Steakhouse.
The pottery display at The Bascom’s Dave Drake Studio Barn, named for the enslaved African American potter from Edgefield, South Carolina, known for his glazed stoneware jugs.
Map illustration by Kaitlyn Gough
Plan your mountain getaway to Highlands with our guide on where to stay, play, shop, and eat