About the Area

Highlands, NC History & Highlights

Highlands History
The town of Highlands was established in 1875 after two Kansans - Samuel Kelsey and Clinton Hutchinson purchased 875 acres of mountain real estate.   Looking for what they thought would become a popular travel spot, they draw two lines:  one from New York to New Orleans and the other Chicago to Savannah.  Where they bisected, they founded Highlands.  Early miners came to the mountains looking for gold.
What pretty much stayed a small mining and then business town until the 1960’s, today has flourished into the one of the oldest and most wonderful tourist resort.   Golf was the real igniter with Donald Ross developing the Highlands Country Club in 1926.  One of the best golf legends, Bobby Jones, made his home in Highlands and the club still dominates the area today.  Its newly added croquet pavilion is a popular spot for many. Located at 4118 ft. above sea level Highlands’ cool weather has always been a constant draw for those wanting to escape the summer heart.


Hiking
For the outdoors enthusiast many flock to hike Whiteside and hike the many types of woodlands in the Nantahala and Panthertown Valley.  For the hiking enthusiast check out the local Nantahala Hiking Club.  They have several hikes a month which meet in various area. Watc.  Newcomers welcome but leave your four legged friends at home.


Waterfalls
Must see waterfalls in the Highlands area include Bridal Veil, Dry Falls, and Cullasaja Falls  which are all found along Hwy 64W.  Glen Falls is located south of Highlands on 106S.  There are many fabulous waterfalls in the surrounding area.  The grandfather of all is Whitewater Falls dropping 411 feet.   Check them out.  Nearby SC waterfalls offer a totally different hiking experience. 
Falls is located south of town on Hwy 106S.  Don’t forget to download your waterfall driving map.


Birding
Highlands has been established as a bird sanctuary for decades so there are many birders.  The Highlands Audubon Society has a very active chapter.  Its final event of the year is the Christmas bird count.  Come enjoy the fun!  And the quiet of the forest...  To learn more about Highlands birding, visit our birding page.


Highlands’ Area Highlights


Highlands Nature and Botanical Gardens
Established in 1927 by the University of North Carolina, Highlands is blessed to have the Highlands Nature and Botanical Gardens.  Known as the Salamander Capital of the World with over 50 different kinds as well as the Lichen capital of the World nature lovers are constantly awed by the many types of flora and fauna.  Lichen, found in both trees and on the ground, adds nutrients to the soil and help control erosion. It loves living in old growth forests. 
The Nature Center is just not for researchers and adults.  Besides many classes for all ages, lectures, guided Bartram hikes, the Center has just opened up a new membership level for kids in grades K-12:  the Salamember.  Please encourage your children and grandchildren to participate in this wonderful community asset.  During the summer, bring your flashlight for the salamander meander.  Watch for the weekly summer article in the paper.  Summer camp schedules open in February.  Don’t forget to sign up as it is a popular summer event.
828-526-2623  Located east of the library on Main Street.
Open to the public in May


The Bascom
The new $8 million nonprofit visual arts and educational center provides a gathering spot for all types of activities..  From school children to adults you will find programs year round.  Once held for many years at Helen’s Barn, their latest editions are the barn dances the last Saturday in the months of Jan-March.  Art exhibits and the gift shop are open year round with special events throughout the year. Thanksgiving through the first week of January you will find the area nonprofits have decorated their Christmas trees to resemble their organization.  Such creativity!  Weaving, water colors, oils, pottery are all possible classes geared toward the various skill levels. Have lunch or a glass of wine on the deck to enjoy the cool summer breezes.      Program guides can be downloadable for each season.
828-526-4949
544 W. Main Street. (look for the old covered bridge but enter on Oak Street.)


Highlands Historical Society
Are you into learning about the history of the area? The historical society has created a walking trail to cover the historical events of the city. History Alive!  This was called the Walk in the Park… Stop by the house located at 524 4th Street  Highlands for a schedule and walking map. Groups tours are also held.
828-787-1050.

Culture Arts
Like live music? A new summer season will provide wonderful live entertainment in the newly built Town Square on Main Street. Shop for a bit and stop in at Kilwins for one of their wonderful fresh orange or limeades or that irresistible dark raspberry fudge and listen to the music..
In addition to the Bascom the Highlands/Cashiers plateau has a very active cultural scene. Two great venues offer the Highlands Cashiers area residents a choice to see plays and events  - The Highlands Playhouse and the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center. Today’s youth also have their chance to perform. The 2012 calendar includes “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Walter Cronkite”. Check the schedules and all websites, phone numbers and additional contact information on our Highlands Cultural Arts page. There is often live music various nights at the Ugly Dog, the Oak Street Cafe, as well as the Hummingbird Loung in Old Edwards.

If you are drawn like so many people to the wonderful aura of Highlands, check out our available Highlands homes and homes sitesLakefront neighborhoods are always in high demand. Check out our lakefront homes and lakefront homesites. Of course foreclosures are always popular searches.

Questions? Just Ask!

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