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2601273981_b68cf66a53When Samuel T. Kelsey discovered Highlands, NC with Clinton C. Hutchinson way back in 1844 they had a inkling that one day the land would be a major crossroads in the region. Highlands did develop into a very popular destination and continues to be to this very day. The tourist that flocks to Highlands every season causes the population to grow some 15 times over the permanent norm. People come from miles and miles around to get a way from the day to day burdens of everyday life.

Highlands, NC and the surrounding area seem to offer the perfect refuge for those who seek emotional relief. Highlands is located in the southwestern tip of North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains. Comfortably surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest the area is as beautiful as any you will find on earth. Tourists seem to differ on which season is best to visit Highlands. Many prefer the summer season where the temperature rarely hits 80 degrees while others are taken with the winter season and the snow blanketed winter wonderland. Highlands, NC seems to have something for everybody. Rather you like to fish, hike, swim, golf, play tennis, shop or simply enjoy breathtaking scenery Highlands has it all.

The trout fishing in Highlands, NC is as good as anywhere east of the Appalachians. The trout are so hospitable they seem to hop on your hook just to see you smile. Both the Cullasaja River and the Chattooga River offer fishing that will lay the foundation for memories and fish stories that will suffice a lifetime. Harris Lake as well as others are well known for superb hook and line destinations as well. In addition the shops in Highlands offer all the gear you need to make your fishing trip comfortable and rewarding.

If you prefer hiking than Highlands, NC offers some of the most beloved nature trails this side of Yellowstone. The area could easily be a backpacker’s paradise. Whether it is the Appalachian Mountains, the Nantahala National Forest or the many scenic waterfalls the area is a backpackers dream. Until you have hiked in the land where the mountains seem to touch the sky or experienced the wonder that is Dry Falls, Bridal Veil Falls or Cullasaja Falls your eyes have not witnessed nature at its finest.

In addition you can find comfort at one of the many Highlands lodging locations and enjoy some of the finest dining your mouth has ever been blessed with. If Golf is your idea of relaxation than the Highlands Country Club, which was created by the legendary golfer Bobby Jones back in the 1930’s, will satisfy this desire. You can also play tennis or swim. If shopping is your cup of tea than you will find numerous antique shops, clothing apparel shops and gift shops as well. If you enjoy sight seeing you can visit the Bascom, which is a visual arts center or stop by the Highlands Historical Society. There are so many things to do in Highlands that it is hard to mention them all. When it comes to recreational activities Highlands, NC has more than enough to offer.

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77739326_248e57672cHighlands, NC restaurants are known far and wide for their wide selection of superb dining options that offer a touch of elegance in a mountain top country atmosphere. The village of Highlands, North Carolina has been in existence for 165 years. Although this romantic hideaway has been a well kept secret the secret has slowly slipped out of the bag. Nestled in the southwestern Appalachian Mountains this Blue Ridge community gives cozy a whole new meaning. The scenic beauty surrounding Highlands is the stuff of legend. The streams flow clean and free and the mountains seem to kiss the clear blue sky and you can enjoy it all from Highlands, NC restaurants.

For over a quarter of a century the Ristorante Paoletti has been one of the most popular Highlands, NC restaurants. This may be a tiny upscale restaurant but the atmosphere is definitely reflective of the mountain top spirit of hospitality. For Italian food at its best you don’t want to miss this restaurant. The award winning Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro offers excellent dining in a country atmosphere. The dining experience offered here is totally upscale but the look of mountain country charm will leave you breathless and send you home with a satisfied appetite and a memory you will always cherish.

One of the great Highlands, NC restaurants is the Log Cabin Restaurant that has been a local favorite for years. The log cabin was constructed 85 years ago and wasn’t transformed into a restaurant until 1995. The charm and elegance displayed here is unique and rewarding. The scenic view is priceless and the dining experience is superb as well. The Oak Street Café is a small dining destination that offers a large portion of southern hospitality. They manage to provide an upscale product with a touch of class totally enjoyed in the Blue Ridge Community. When you want to get out and enjoy a good old fashioned pizza there is nothing quite like The Pizza Place in Highlands. The perfect solution for your favorite pizza pie can be found at this charming little restaurant.

Highlands, NC restaurants have something for everyone’s taste. The dining experiences are created to offer a touch of class and elegance in a memorable mountain country atmosphere. The small village of Highlands, North Carolina manages to provide the excellence in dining found only in the large metropolis. This makes a journey to this mountain top getaway definitely food for the soul.

cartecay_whitewaterGilmer County, GA is known for being the Apple Capital of Georgia. It’s one of those quiet counties that is nice to go and enjoy the peacefulness and outdoor recreation. There’s no hustle and bustle, the people are nice (we stop there all the time), and the cabins there are more bang for your buck.

3090480439_c084af3037Gilmer County still has mountain ranges much like Fanning, but I feel it’s not as expensive as the Blue Ridge area. You may get more house for your money. There are still 2 rivers in Ellijay for you to whitewater raft on, plenty of fishing available, and the laid back life.

Every mid-October they have a big apple festival which I highly recommend.

black_rock_overlookWaaaaay up in the right hand corner of Georgia is Rabun County. The county seat is Clayton. It’s not an often talked about county unlike Fannin or Fulton but it is a jewel in the North Georgia mountains.

2080316386_ad2f152dd7_mIt was made famous by Foxfire (read about that here) and Tallulah Gorge, but there is much more going on there than meets the eye.

I traveled on Black Rock Mountain and kicked myself for not staying there, but we had a deadline to meet. It was a hard drive up there and entirely worth it. You couldn’t hear the hum of a car at all, and you heard every single sound a creature made. Our daughter said to be quiet. She hears a butterfly. That’s how peaceful it was there.

There’s Lake Burton and Lake Rabun, both equally fantastic places to fish, golf, hike, and just find some peace in the outdoors. There’s plenty of vacation rentals (not a lot of bed and breakfasts sadly) and I highly suggest you lodge that way than in a franchise hotel.

Their peak season is autumn. And no wonder. The leaves change colours, cooler temps, and a variety of fairs and festivals begin. There’s something to do literally every weekend. And of course there’s always something to do at the vineyards. 🙂

So next time you’re on the Southern Highroads, don’t just drive through Rabun. Stop and visit.

via jimmywayne

via jimmywayne

Southern Highroads may only go through one county in South Carolina, but there’s enough activity and attractions there to spend an entire day. There’s plenty of outdoor recreation as well as festivals occurring several times a year. So let’s take a look at Oconee County, SC

The county seat is Walhalla (fun name huh?) and they host the Oktoberfest Fest in the area every year, usually beginning in mid-October.

via Sare-Bear

via Sare-Bear


The attractions they have are primarily outdoor, such as The Stumphouse Tunnel, Issaqueena Falls and Brasstown Falls, and the Chattooga River (made famous from Deliverance, which I will refrain from Youtube’ing. Heh). There is also the Oconee Station that was built in 1792.

via jimmywayne

via jimmywayne

There’s three beautiful lakes there, Lake Keowee, Lake Hartwell, and Lake Jocassee. And the SC Botanical Gardens are also here. If you’ve never been to a botanical garden, I highly recommend it. It’s more than just seeing a bunch of flowers and plants. Typically there’s unusual species of flowers, birds that are not too afraid of humans so you can see them upclose, and always something to be learned. Just take a Bendedryl before you go there. 🙂

Highlands, North Carolina Hotels have dotted the scenic landscape of the small village for over a century. They have changed some with technology but they still offer that unique atmosphere of southern hospitality at its best. Highlands, North Carolina is known to have less than a thousand regular inhabitants that call this mountain getaway home. Although this is the case, typically fifteen thousand tourists will call it their home away from home at any given time during the travel season. Those who visit Highlands need a place to rest their weary bones and relax and Highlands, North Carolina Hotels are ready to oblige.

Highlands, North Carolina Hotels do their part in making Highlands one of the best kept getaway secrets in the south. There are many people that have never heard of Highlands, NC and therefore the pleasures that can be found there are hidden from their view. Many others however have found that this little Appalachian Mountain Paradise is the place to go to ignite or rekindle romance or to simply relax in a place where everybody knows your name.

For a truly unique lodging experience in Highlands it is recommended that you give Fire Mountain a visit. No, Fire Mountain is not a volcano but it does overflow with charm and opportunities for romance. Fire Mountain is a lodging destination that offers you a variety of options. Located just a few moments outside of Highlands this hideaway offers quaint little cabins, cozy tree houses and a charming country inn. Streams, waterfalls and a mountain top view that will simply take your breath away surround this retreat. Memories are made of this.

Highlands, North Carolina Hotels have developed a family tradition of offering comfort and class to their visitors. Take the Mitchell’s Lodge & Cottages for example. This family operated inn has been in existence for over 7 decades and is still going strong. They offer a pavilion where you can get cozy around an old fashioned wood burning fireplace and a spa to relax those tired muscles after a long day of hiking, fishing and shopping. Now this is a place to getaway.

If you want something a little more modern in Highlands, North Carolina Hotels you can always visit the Highlands Hampton Inn. Sure this is more of an upscale inn but it still manages to offer a touch of home and fits in well with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain scenery that can be enjoyed throughout the visit. You can also visit the 4½ Street Inn. This structure is over a century old and was a home at one time. The restoration process has made this inn a gem to be enjoyed. The Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast is another great lodging option in Highlands that offers relaxation and the spirit of romance. For nearly 5 decades this inn has provided hospitality that tends to blow their visitors away. If you are looking for a destination to get a way from it all Highlands, North Carolina Hotels are waiting to take you in.

Photo by amburn.everett

Photo by amburn.everett

No matter where your entry point is onto the Southern Highroads, you’re guaranteed a place closeby that offers Whitewater Rafting. I, personally, have not done it.. don’t want to do it.. but will gladly watch my mother-in-law do it (don’t laugh! heh). So below are some options along Southern Highroads to partake in Whitewater Rafting.

Rafting the Chattooga River – The Chattooga River covers North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The Chattooga is one of the very few commercially-rafted class V rivers in the Southeast. The Chattooga is a free-flowing river (no upstream dam to control the flow) which quickly responds to rainfall or drought conditions.

Cartecay River Whitewater -The Cartecay River runs through Ellijay, Georgia. It is the site of a class II whitewater run. The river is a tributary of the Coosawattee River. Both the Cartecay and Ellijay Rivers meet in Ellijay and merge to form the Coosawattee River. The Cartecay River and most of the watershed are located within the southeast corner of Gilmer County, Georgia, but there are small sections of the watershed in Fannin, Pickens, and Dawson Counties.

Nantahala River – Easy Class II rapids before heading into the Class III. Eight miles long and waiting for you to come on in! The water is fine!

Rafting on the Ocoee River -I spoke about rafting on the Ocoee before so I won’t go into it here too much, just suffice to say, it’s beautiful, it’s popular, it was in the Olympics.