BY: JANET STEINBERG
The village of Highlands, in the southern Appalachian Mountains is the perfect destination for city dwellers in need of a retreat.
Highlands was founded in 1875 after its two founders, Samuel Truman Kelsey and Clinton Carter Hutchinson, drew lines from Chicago to Savannah and from New Orleans to New York. They felt that the place where these lines met would eventually become a great trading center and commercial crossroads. In the 1930s the town became a golfing mecca when Bobby Jones of Atlanta, and some of his well-heeled golfing buddies, founded the Highlands Country Club.
The Highlands area offers stunning Blue Ridge Mountain panoramas. With more than its share of natural beauty, there are cascading waterfalls of every variety. Bridal Veil Falls (that you can drive under)…Dry Falls (where you can stay dry)…and Bust your Butt Falls (where you can…use your imagination!)
|DRIVE UNDER BRIDAL VEIL FALLS|
With a permanent population of less than 1000 people, the count swells to 10,000-15,000 during the spring to fall season. However, over the past few years, the winter season has continued to burgeon as well—particularly on weekends.
|OLD COVERED BRIDGE LEADS TO THE BASCOM CENTER|
Eclectic shops, restaurants, and The Bascom Center for the Visual Arts, highlight this scenic mountain town.
|PATRICK DOUGHERTY'S SAPLING SCULPTURE "DO TELL" AT THE BASCOM CENTER|
Add to that a stay at the utterly fantastic hidden gem Old Edwards Inn, a Customized Massage in the Inn’s Spa, a fabulous dinner at Madisons, and a second night’s dinner at Nicholas Figel’s outstanding Cyprus Restaurant, and you will find it hard to believe you are in a tiny Appalachian Mountain town.
Garnering a prime seat by the open kitchen in Cyprus Restaurant, and watching the dimpled ebullient Nicholas Figel work his culinary magic, would have been enough for me to have a perfect evening. (Cyprus must save on electricity because Nick’s smile lights up the room.)
|CHEF NICHOLAS FIGEL IN CYPRUS RESTAURANT'S OPEN KITCHEN|
However, add to that the Cognac Toasted Veal Marrow-bone and the Parmegiano Reggiano Eggplant he whipped up for appetizers, plus the dinner chosen from his ever-changing specialty menu, and there is little wonder why Cyprus, along with Madisons, are Highland’s top restaurants.
If you want to be seated in front of the open kitchen, it is suggested you call a week in advance. When asked Nicholas his philosophy for the success of his exciting 5-star dining destination, he stated: “I like to think of my trade as a form of communication and to always approach it with great sincerity.”
Whether seeking serenity or adventure, this 3-stoplight town will provide you with leisurely fun-filled days and peaceful romantic nights at the Old Edwards Inn.
Like the 1922 lyrics of the Gus Kahn song says: “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina…”
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer, International Travel Consultant, and winner of 38 national Travel Writing Awards.