It's not just for rainy days in Highlands…shopping, this is! Highlands offers such an exciting array of boutiques, stores and shops in which to browse and buy that shopping easily competes with all of the other activities Highlands has to offer. Quality is perhaps the most pleasing feature of the local shops, although variety is prevalent as well.
Visitors searching for unique gifts have found their mecca for Highlands offers items ranging form traditional to the eclectic. Handcrafts of wood, iron, brass, pottery, and fabric are plentiful as are paintings and prints. An abundance of local artisans provide for the wide range of one-of-a-kind creations. Handmade gifts are always special.
Other popular purchases range from bird and bat house, music boxes, estate jewelry, oriental rugs, majolica, porcelain, silver, and antiques from buttons to armoires.
Many frequent visitors are fond of the jewelry stores that offer custom-designed jewelry and scores of gems from which to select a dazzling stone.
And new jewels demand new clothes! From novelty sweaters to fine fashions for men and women, Highlands is replete with name-brand selections. Shoppers can find their desire from lingerie to tee shirts to furs and leather to black-tie attire.
Local residents are also able to fulfill their shopping list as the traditional stores - food, hardware, furniture and dry goods - can be found in the downtown area. Bookstores, card and candy shops, drug stores, florist shops and office supply store also provide for the needs of visitors and residents alike.
Main Street is the central shopping district with many stores along the street as well as centers such as Wright Square, Oak Square, Town Square, The Picket Fence, and Mountain Brook Center. "On the Hill", the section of Fourth Street just north of Main Street, boasts many businesses as do quite a few of the side streets in the downtown locale. And several shops can be found on the main avenue leading into town.
Points Of Interest
SATULAH FALLS - Located 2 miles south of Highlands on U.S. 28. It is a cascade.
LOWER SATULAH FALLS (or Clear Creek Falls) - A high narrow waterfalls visible from the overlook further down U.S. 28 (Approximately 2 ½ miles).
GLEN FALLS - Located off a dirt road 3 miles sough of Highlands on N.C. - 106 The road is marked by a USFS Sign. Glen Falls is composed of a series of 3 large falls dropping approximately 60 ft. each on the east fork of Overflow Creek in the Blue Ridge Valley Area. The 1 mile foot trail down to the Falls is steep. Coming back up is rugged.
KALAKALESKIES - Is located off U.S. 64/28 west, 2 ½ miles northwest of Highlandson the Cullasaja River. The Sequoyah Lake Dam is at the head of these falls. There are eighteen small falls within a ¼ mile paralleling U.S. 64/28.
BRIDAL VEIL FALLS - This picturesque falls cascades over U.S. 64/28 near Highlands (3 miles out). Cars drive under the falls. Height is 120 feet.
DRY FALLS - On U.S. 64/28, just 4 miles from Highlands. Pleasant walk from highway. Path goes behind falls, and you can walk under them without getting wet. Height is 75 feet.
LOWER CULLASAJA FALLS - Approximately 20 miles from Highlands. Take U.S. 64 to Cashiers, going south on Highway 107, 8 miles till crossing the North Carolina / South Carolina state line, then another mile and take first paved Highway to the left. Follow the signs. The falls are 411 feet high.
There are many lesser falls on Highway 64/28 west from Highlands, parking is scarce, park with care, and off the roadway, and use extreme caution anytime around water.
BLUE VALLEY OVERLOOK - Located 3 ½ miles S.W. of Highlands on N.C. 106. Looking from Blue Valley Overlook you experience the feeling that the whole world is made of mountains - they seem to go on forever. Shifting blues and greens make this overlook different each time you experience it.
WHITESIDE OVERLOOK - Located 5 ½ miles from Highlands on U.s. 64 E. Looking out over the Whiteside area you will be faced with the majesty and austerity of the mountains. The fact that the mountains had always been and will always be is brought to the foreground with this view. They are survivors and demand the awe we feel when looking at them.
SUNSET ROCK - Located at the end of a 20 minute moderate hike beginning just across from Highlands Nature Center. Sunset Rock overlooks the town of Highlands. Looking to the east off of Sunrise Rock you will be able to see the whole of Horse Cove.
History of Highlands
The unique mountain town of Highlands, N.C., with its rich history, wonderful climate and enviable way of life, is located in rugged Western North Carolina.
Highlands stands tall in the high country. The town's average altitude is 4,118 feet, making ti one of the highest incorporated municipalities east of the Mississippi River. Surrounding mountains reach heights of more than 5,000 feet.
Highlands sits atop the Highlands Plateau-a large float mountaintop- and can be reached by automobile traveling scenic, winding roads.
Before the town was settled, the plateau land was owned by the Dobson Family of Horse Cove. The land was purchased by Samuel T. Kelsey and Clinton C. Hutchinson in March 1875. In 1876, Kelsey and Hutchinson sent flyers out to other states advertising the climate and altitude of the new town. By 1883, Highlands had grown to 300 residents, and it was incorporated.
Since the early 1900's, Highlands has been a popular summer resort. Summers are cool here, usually in the 70's. Many people come to Highlands from across the South in the summer to enjoy the cool climate and laid-back atmosphere, and relax from the fast pace of city life.
Highlands also is a "renewal" point for professional people and executives in high-powered positions, who have second homes here.
The township's winter population is about 2,000. During the summer, though, the number swells to more than 20,000 folks.
In the magic of summer, Highlands offers entertainment for everyone. The Highlands Playhouse stages four professional productions in its hilltop theatre. The Highlands Chamber Music Festival conducts a month-long festival which is critically acclaimed as one of the best.
The Highlands Institute of American Religious Thought sponsors seminars that probe our relationships with each other, and with our spiritual and temporal ideals.
The Bascom-Louise Gallery inside the Hudson Library showcases outstanding regional artists in showings.
The Nature Center, Botanical Gardens, and museum offers lectures and courses on animals and plants that inhabit the plateau and on outdoor life here.
Then there are other arts and crafts showings, outdoor art shows and flower and garden exhibits.