Nestled about 4,000 feet above Charlotte in the cradle of the Nantahala National Forest, Highlands, NC has, for decades, been one of Southerners’ go-to refuges from the oppressive heat of summer. Gentle 75-degree days and a setting as rural as it is refined render Highlands an ideal summertime getaway. However, what makes this sleepy mountain town the perfect weekend retreat is Half-Mile Farm, a luxury country inn owned and operated by Old Edwards, the same group that quietly transformed the Highlands from a summer hideout to a year-round destination via sister properties Old Edwards Inn and Spa and 200 Main.
At Half-Mile Farm, serenity is paramount. The inn restricts lodging access to guests over the age of 18 and strictly enforces a noise policy. But ask any guest, and they’ll tell you how grateful they are for a quiet reprieve so well-tailored to the breathtakingly landscaped grounds that comprise Half-Mile Farm. Stunning mountain vistas and views of Apple Lake, the inn’s private water feature, paint a peaceful portrait from the many private balconies and patios that adjoin guest rooms.
Guests can select from a wide variety of amenities and room styles to build their ideal weekend away, including stacked stone fireplaces, wet bars, heated bathroom floors, and furnished balconies. Moreover, tasteful rustic chic decor and beyond-comfortable furniture ensure guests feel not only serene but also downright pampered.
What to Do
It’s easy to pass a memorable weekend in Highlands without ever leaving Half-Mile Farm. Four acres of fields, forest, and streams beckon guests from their rooms to enjoy the beautiful Highland weather. A hiking trail and stocked fishing ponds, as well as complimentary use of canoes, row boats, and stand up paddleboards await the more adventurous traveler. Similarly, a mineral pool bordered by gorgeous stone work and on site massages call to guests eager to luxuriate. In fact, Half-Mile Farm curates packages designed to accommodate a plethora of agendas. Test out the Champagne Supper Club Package, Gear Up and Go Package, Golf Package, or Romantic Mountain Escape Package.
Guests will find plenty to do within a short walk or drive of the inn, as well. For example, the nearby Highlands Aerial Park offers canopy tours of Nantahala. And hikes abound of varying terrain and difficulty levels. The Bascom Center for Visual Arts, which houses galleries and a sculpture trail, and the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center offer high-quality cultural experiences. Plus, the Old Edwards Club is at the ready for visiting golfers.
Where to Eat
Each morning, Half-Mile Farm provides a complimentary chef-made breakfast, incorporating ingredients harvested from an on site garden. And in the afternoon, guests can enjoy a complimentary hors d’oeuvres reception. Highlands offers a plentiful selection of restaurants to supplement the inn’s delectable food, from casual to white tablecloth. Peruse the wine selection at Mountain Fresh Grocery when you first arrive. Block off a dinnertime to visit Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro where New Orleans flavors meet European gastronomy. And save time for farm-to-fork dining at Madison’s Restaurant in Old Edwards Inn and Spa.
The population of Highlands grows to six times its year-round size in the summertime. After one weekend at Half-Mile Farm, the answer to why the population swells so drastically will be apparent. Instead, the question becomes, why do Southerners ever leave?