Highlands is a delightful town in the foothills between Cashiers and Franklin on the scenic Highway 64 that winds through the Pisgah Forest. For decades it was forgotten, except as a stop for travelers coming up through Georgia, but now it is coming into its own as a tourist destination with heavy emphasis on the nearby outdoor beauty of the Nantahala National Forest and a thriving arts and cultural life.
Highlands is home to The Bascom, a green visual arts center that only opened in 2009, which offers classes and exhibits the work of nationally renowned artists like Frank Stella and the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center where the Highlands Cashier Chamber Music Festival is hosted each summer. It is home to properties on the National Historic Register like the Highland Inn, operating in Highlands since 1880 and the luxury Old Edwards Inn & Spa. Try Ristorante Paoletti for dinner or Cafe 460 on Main Street, an old-fashioned soda fountain on Main Street for an inexpensive breakfast or lunch.
If you are a golfer, check out the Highlands Country Club on Dilliard Road which takes you directly to Georgia. World famous golfer Bobby Jones of Atlanta founded the club with some buddies in 1928.
Get some insights about the biodiversity of southern Appalachia by visiting the Highlands Botanical Gardens on Horse Cove Road. Free and open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk. It is also a location on the North Carolina Birding Trail. Take a meander outside Highlands for skiing in nearby Sapphire and Cashiers during the winter or hiking and waterfall viewing along the Cullasaja River on Highway 64 toward Franklin in the summer, spring and fall.