Before the cold weather completely set in this year, I ventured a few hours north of Atlanta to spend a weekend at one of the most picturesque mountain cities in North Carolina. This was my first-weekend visiting Cashiers where I stayed at the charming High Hampton Inn. This year, I have really tried to make an effort in planning more weekend southern escapes. While most of my weekend getaways were focused around the Southeastern and Florida coastline, I really fell in love with the mountains this autumn. My first fall weekend trip took me on a fun apple picking excursion in the north Georgia mountains where I stayed at The Parker Ranch. It was so peaceful and relaxing, it made me giddy with anticipation for my trip to western North Carolina for an all-inclusive stay at The High Hampton Inn just in time to catch all the foliage changing to their beautiful and vibrant fall colors.
The High Hampton Inn is a historic North Carolina inn that exudes Southern hospitality. It was the perfect place to escape for a reprieve from the hot mosquito invested summers of the low country. The High Hampton Inn was originally built as the Hampton Hunting Lodge by Wade Hampton, a former South Carolina governor and U.S. Senator, as a retreat for his family. Hampton’s niece Caroline and her husband Dr. William Halsted named the property “High Hampton” after purchasing it years later and developed the property to include beautiful exotic trees and shrubs. Later, Mr. E.L. McKee purchased the Halsted Estate who fell in love with the property after vacationing in the area.
The Lodge and the Inn were completely destroyed by fire in 1932 but rebuilt in 1933 along with several cottages. Because this took place during the height of the Depression, twenty men dedicated their work to rebuild a bigger and better Inn within 6 short months! The size, craftsmanship, and detail in the Inn make it hard to believe that this was accomplished in such a short amount of time. The Inn continues to serve as a retreat since it’s development in the 1830’s and delivers a quaint rustic feel that perfectly reflects it’s over one-hundred-and-sixty-year history.
As per usual, I left work and fought through the Friday afternoon Atlanta traffic to escape north on I-85 towards my weekend adventure. Shortly after taking my exit off of the interstate, I realized that my last hour of driving would be through the dark winding mountain roads that would lead me to the Inn.
Greeted by the row of rocking chairs on the wrap around porch, I arrived for a late check-in at the High Hampton Inn, found my room overlooking the beautiful waterfront view and nestled in for the night. Each room at the Inn is set up slightly different than the others but they all feature rustic-themed yet comfortable accommodations. Natural wood accents and soft warm lighting made me immediately settle in and feel right at home. I opened the windows to let the cool night air drift in as I drifted off to sleep.
Besides having the main inn to accommodate plenty of guests, The High Hampton Inn has a ton of the cutest little cottages scattered throughout the property perfect for families to stay together under one roof. One of the most picturesque cabins is the honeymoon cottage as it sits on the water complete with a wooden waterwheel.
The dining room of the High Hampton Inn is filled with tables meticulously set with crisp white tablecloths ready for the breakfast, lunch or dinner sessions. The Inn pulls together a delicious buffet selection that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters and the staff are some of the most pleasant I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Beyond mouthwatering dining, you’ve also got beautiful views onto the outside lawn and water as you enjoy your meals. As you may have read from some of my other posts, I often finish my main course just so I can get to dessert. I have to admit I was so overwhelmed by the vast selection of the dessert offerings during lunch and dinner hours, that I’m pretty sure I returned from my weekend getaway a solid 5 lbs heavier 😉
Beyond the delicious food and wonderful staff, one of my favorite things about the dining room at the High Hampton Inn was that once you arrived on site, your table was reserved for the entire duration of your stay. That meant no worrying about if you’ll have a seat ready for you when you are ready to eat. Just show up during the dining hours and eat when you would like. No waiting and no confusion. I also loved that a dress code was in place for the dining room. To me, this just made the evenings even more special to be surrounded by guests that were all dressed up too. The dress is casual for breakfast and lunch. Monday and Thursday dinners require dress pants and a collared shirt for gentlemen, but no coat or tie is required. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday dinner require a coat for gentlemen over the age of 12, in addition to dress pants and a collared dress shirt. Ties are optional and ladies are asked to dress accordingly each night. No denim is permitted during evening meals.
Insider’s Tip: Place an order for breakfast or lunch “to-go” with the concierge the night before you take a hike. Specify the time you’ll want to pick it up and what you would like in your order, and a boxed meal will be ready and waiting for you to take on the go!
Golf: The High Hampton Inn has plenty of activities to keep you and your family busy. I grabbed an early morning game of golf while the cloudy mist still hovered over the greens. The colorful leaves created the most breathtaking path as I made my way down the fairway towards the pin of each hole.
Hiking: After golf, I changed into my hiking clothes, grabbed a boxed lunch and headed to the top of Chimney Top Mountain. The staff at the front desk provided some great tips and insight for our hike, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what they meant when they told us the last bit of the hike was “very steep, but worth it.” Our hike to the top took about two hours and included some seriously steep climbing towards the end of our trek up the mountain… and yes, the views were definitely worth the climb. I was captivated by the sites and could have spent the rest of the day up there, but after about 45 minutes, we took the two-hour hike back down the mountain so that I could get to my massage appointment at the Spa & Health Club on time.
Spa & Health Club: After hiking up the mountain wearing a backpack, my shoulders were extremely tight and my knee had a bit of swelling, so heading over to the Spa & Health Club was the perfect way to wrap my stay at the High Hampton Inn. If you are familiar with my travel recaps, I love to take full advantage of my downtime and relax with a massage whenever possible. I have to say though, the High Hampton Inn masseuse might have provided the best massage I’ve had in years. And just in case you want to do a little bit of exercising or rock wall climbing, the clubhouse has amenities to cover those interests too!
Other Recreation: The great thing about the High Hampton Inn being located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is that you’ve got plenty of options to choose from when you decide to explore the surrounding trails, waterfalls or any of the other fun things to do. In addition, to golf and hiking, you can try yoga, fishing, tennis, kayaking or a ton of other recreational offerings including a whole kids program. I even love that the High Hampton Inn has a charming longstanding tradition for kids to participate in a “Teddy Bear Picnic.” Kids dress up their stuffed teddy bears for a contest and the Inn hosts an actual picnic for the children with their bears. Isn’t that just the cutest tradition??
Exploring Cashiers: Of course, the Inn has plenty to keep you and your family entertained while on the property, but if you’re looking for a bit of antique shopping or just want to get out and explore the town, the town of Cashiers is very short drive down the road.
Upon arrival, I felt like I had walked inside the set of Kellerman’s, the hotel in one of my favorite movies, Dirty Dancing. As a HUGE fan of the original, I was even more excited to learn that the High Hampton Inn was indeed used as the set of Kellerman’s Resort in the 2016 ABC remake of Dirty Dancing! After my fan-girl subsided, I realized that the image that I had of a great mountain retreat tucked away as if it were waiting for my discovery is why I fell in love with Kellerman’s and that’s exactly why I loved the High Hampton Inn so much. I was transported to a weekend where I was able to relax, eat ridiculously well, and spend some time playing around in the outdoors. And if that’s not a recipe for the perfect weekend getaway I don’t know what is!
After an eventful weekend packed full of fun and memories, I packed up and headed home. The foggy mountain roads led me to the nearby Silverrun Falls where I stopped for a quick rest and view of the falls before I bid adieu to North Carolina until my next adventure.