Friday, October 03, 2008

Highlands Trip

Jack and I were able to take a run-away trip to Highlands, North Carolina last month. This is a wonderful place in the Blue Ridge Mountains - a couple of hours from Atlanta and Tennessee. Highlands is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest. This is a rain forest so even in a drought, there was plenty of vegetation and waterfalls.

In planning the trip I got on line and searched for places to stay. The only place I found that was up a mountain was Skyline Lodge. It looked nice enough on the website, but you never know for sure until you get there. We were not disappointed. While it is an older place - built in the late 1930's/early 40's, it was a nice rustic place. We stayed in the "Eagles Nest" which is their largest room. The evening we arrived the clouds were low so there wasn't much of a view. We checked in and then went to the restaurant where we sat in front of a roaring fire and enjoyed some wine. We had a wonderful meal there. With it being the off season, there were few people at the lodge which made it an even more personal experience.

The next morning we drove to Franklin. The main reason we headed that way was to drive through the forest and see some of the waterfalls and park areas. Once we got to Franklin, we ate at The Creekside Gazebo Cafe. This was a relaxing outdoor place to eat with good food. After lunch we headed back to Highlands, and then drove to Cashiers. There wasn't a lot to see in Cashiers, but on the way we discovered Whiteface Mountain. Since it was a little muddy from the rain, we decided to come back the next day to hike the trail. Since our journey to Cashiers was short, we headed back to Highlands. There we walked down Main Street and ended up at Buck's Coffee for a little afternoon indulgence. That night we went back to town and had a nice Italian dinner at Ristorante Paoletti.

The next morning we got up and ate breakfast at the High Country Cafe and then we headed to Whiteface Mountain. We hiked up which was not a bad trail but for low country people we were huffing and puffing at first. By the time we reached the top we had adjusted to the altitude. It was a pretty view up there. After taking some pictures we headed back down and then hit the road to Brevard. While on our way we saw a sign pointing the way to White Water Falls so we took a little detour. This was a beautiful waterfall and well worth the extra time and little hike. We got to Brevard and had a late lunch before heading into the Pisgah Forest to see Looking Glass Falls. There's a beautiful stream in this forest and I'd like to go deeper into it next time. After getting back to Highlands, we went to Buck's for our afternoon coffee. That night we ate bar-b-que at The Rib Shack.

We decided our last day would be a real lazy, kick-back kind of day. We started off with breakfast at the lodge restaurant. There I had the best stuffed french toast ever! Afterwards we drove down the road some and took in the views. We walked the main street of Highlands and then had lunch at Fressers Eatery. We headed up to the lodge then and just enjoyed the deck and the wonderful weather. Of course we had to hit Buck's for our last afternoon cup of coffee. A very relaxing wonderful day.

Highlands is a beautiful place. You can really see a range of sorts of the beauty of God's creation. It is a relaxing trip and Jack and I fell in love with the area. We can't wait to go back!

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