Our Weekend Getaway to Highlands, NC!
I had so many people tell me how much they loved Highlands, NC, and I wanted to take a weekend trip with Bryson. We've had a stressful 18 months+, so it felt like the right time to getaway for the weekend and be able to talk and spend time together just the two of us! I didn't go into this trip with a lot of expectations other than: 1) hoping it would be cooler in the mountains, 2) hoping the leaves would be turning there, 3) we would find good food, and 4) we would get to hike as much as we could!
Highlands, NC is about 5.5 hours away from Middle TN, and we stopped halfway in Chattanooga the first night because we left after work that afternoon. We ate at our favorite in Chattanooga, Alleia, and we ate at our favorite breakfast spot Kenny's! Pretty much from Chattanooga to Highlands is just a highway and not an interstate, so be prepared for that if you get car sick!
We arrived around lunch time in Highlands, so we went to eat at Mountain Fresh Grocery for lunch. We both enjoyed a delicious panini with fig, brie, and bacon! We walked around downtown to explore their little shops. We especially enjoyed the food store, the two outdoor stores, and the kid shops! (I'll share all the details below for your viewing pleasure and easy access if you end up getting to take a trip there!)
We stayed in this Airbnb, and it was quite possibly the cutest part of the trip! It was so clean and well designed. We are dreaming of building something similar to this in our backyard one day! It's two-in-one cabins if you wanted to pair up with friends and have a weekend together! Annie was also an amazing hostess, and she was available to answer all my questions! I've heard amazing things about Old Edward Inn, so hopefully one day, we'll be able to stay there!
We went to Dry Falls as our first hike of the trip, and it was super easy and beautiful! It was a paid location ($3 for each car), but it was very easy to go down to and the perfect beginning to our hiking adventures. We had heard about Sunset Rock, so we went to hike it as well before the sunset. It said that you could drive up to the top (which you could if you have 4x4), but we decided to hike it and not chance hurting our car. It wasn't a bad hike, and it was 1.5 miles up and down! The sunset wasn't the most amazing one we had seen, but it was still pretty to go to the top and see all the surroundings!
We went to eat dinner at The Ugly Dog Public House. We had to wait for a while, but that is the common theme of traveling right now. Most restaurants and stores are short staffed. We both got burgers which were yummy, but the fries were to die for! We also got the fried macaroni bites which were a huge hit for the both of us, too!
The next morning, we slept in and wanted to eat breakfast at the Blue Bike Cafe, but the wait was an hour. So, we drove to Cashiers to see about Zookeeper Bistro, but the wait was long there as well. So, we finally drove back to Highlands, and we both got a little snack at the local coffee shop, Calders Coffee Cafe. They had great WiFi, so we went ahead and planned to eat lunch and dinner and make reservations to make our life a little easier. We ate lunch at Midpoint, and if you go there, you must get the $26 mushroom patisserie. It was so beautiful and actually quite tasty! Then, we planned to eat dinner at The Ruffled Grouse Tavern and made reservations.
We both splurged and grabbed vests at Highland Hiker because it was chilly on our second day. The winds were 10-20 mph, and we both decided it was perfect vest weather!
On the way back to our car to go to a pottery sale at the arts center in town, I tripped and fell in a storm grate (so glamorous - I know). So, we had to take a little detour to the local pharmacy and grab some band-aids and ice packs. We went back to the Airbnb to nurse my wounds, and then, we headed to go hike again (I was feeling up for it)!
We went to Whiteside Mountain to do our final hike of the trip, and it was amazing. The first part was straight up hill, but it was a gravel road for the most part, so it wasn't terrible. When we got to the top, it was so pretty! You can either go back the way you came or you can summit the mountain and walk in a loop around the entire top! We chose to do that, and we weren't disappointed by the views. The whole way was about 2 miles, but it wasn't bad at all!
For some reason when I'm around a Kilwins, I feel the need to get fudge. So, before dinner, we grabbed Owen a treat and me some fudge. Our dinner may be one of the major highlights of our trip because it was a major vibe. The restaurant was really cozy and had fires going. The colors and decor were just perfect for the mountain setting. Our food was amazing, and I loved that they had a paired down menu! It makes choosing your entree much easier!
We had a wonderful trip all in all, and I would definitely recommend Highlands, NC as a place to check out for a weekend getaway!
Places to Stay:
- Old Edwards Inn
- Lunori Airbnb - where we stayed
- Highlander Mountain House
Places to Eat:
- Mountain Fresh Grocery - we ate breakfast and lunch there, and we grabbed some charcuterie snacks there, too
- The Ugly Dog Public House - fries are a must
- The Blue Bike Cafe - didn't get a chance to eat there, but heard amazing things
- Calder's Coffee Cafe - try one of the Applachai Tea Lattes
- Midpoint - you must try one of the dessert mushrooms
- The Ruffled Grouse Tavern - it's a seasonal menu, but everything we had was delicious!
- Madison's - heard amazing things, but you'll need to make reservations quite in advance!
Places to Shop:
- Bear Mountain Outfitters
- Highland Hiker
- The Dry Sink - they had a wall of fun cookie cutters, so we snagged a pumpkin one for Owen!
- Bryson's Food Store - we bought some nuts and jelly for B's dad
- Reclamations - really neat antique store, but super pricey!
- The Bascom - A Center for the Arts - we went during their pottery sale, and it was awesome!
Places to Hike:
- Dry Falls - super easy and kid-friendly
- Sunset Rock - so pretty and you can drive if you have 4x4!
- Whiteside Mountain - This was our favorite hiking spot!
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