Brian Renfro
Brian Renfro

Historty and Video Tours of Highlands, NC

Highlands, NC

A Brief History

Highlands, NC has a rich and long history as a mountain resort town offering escape from the heat of southern cities and towns.  Highlands was founded in 1875 by two developers living in Kansas. What evolved is a health and summer resort at more than 4,000 feet on the highest crest of what is now referred to as The Highlands/Cashiers Plateau in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. By 1883, nearly 300 immigrants from the eastern states were calling Highlands home. In the early 1880s the town contained 8 country stores specializing in groceries, hardware, and general merchandise, a post office, a hotel and boarding house for summer guests, a public library, four churches, and a first class school. Very little changed until the late 1920s, when the Cullasaja River was dammed, forming Lake Sequoyah, to provide hydroelectric power for the town residents.  Today, Lake Sequoyah and Mirror Lake offer recreational canoeing and fishing. The demographic mixture of Highlands has been remarkably unique. The town has served as a cultural center for well-known artists, musicians, actors, authors, photographers, scholars, and scientists who have thrived in its natural setting.

Popular Recreational Activities in Highlands, NC

At an elevation of around 4,000 feet with mountain tops rising to 4,600, Highlands, NC is a special destination to go birding. Over 160 species of birds use this beautiful ecosystem regularly for breeding, wintering or spring and fall migration. Head to the Highlands Nature Center, Botanical Garden, and Sunset Rock Trail to start your birding adventure. Moreover, Highlands has multiple trails where you can hike and reach summits to be delighted by the impressive view of the mountains. Shopping is a local and unique experience, as stores remained individual and chain stores have not taken over the village. Highlands offers the most exquisite fining dining in all of Western North Carolina. Embrace Highland’s majestic mountain location, numerous activities, comfortable accommodations, unique retail shops and extraordinary cuisine. This a wonderful community that is constantly growing together.