Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
Highlands, NC

Nestled on the southern plateau of North Carolina's majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Highlands is a vibrant village with breathtaking mountain vistas, spectacular waterfalls & serene forests
"America’s Best Small Mountain Town Has Beautiful Waterfalls, Stunning Fall Foliage, and Some of the Best Resorts in the South."
Travel + Leisure

Highlands History

Founded in 1875 by hardy pioneers from all over the nation, sober industrious tradesmen from the north, Scotch-Irish laborers and craftsmen from the surrounding mountains & valleys, and wealthy aristocratic planters and professionals from the south, the town has served as a cultural center for well-known artists, musicians, actors, photographers, authors, scholars, and scientists who have thrived in its natural setting.
Bobby Jones' Legacy
In 1928, when Robert Tyre "Bob" Jones, Jr. struck the very first ball christening the Highlands Country Club golf course, the founders had a feeling history was being made.
Those founders, including the Colonel Robert P. Jones (Bob’s father), had engaged well-known Scottish architect Donald Ross to carve a golf course out of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Using the natural terrain, Ross designed the course with a high demand for accuracy that became the perfect practice ground for the young Bobby Jones. In the summer of 1930, the amateur Jones accomplished a feat that has yet to be equaled. He won the Grand Slam, four major golf tournaments in one year.
Point of Intersection

Originally the road from Franklin to Walhalla was little more than a mountain trail, leading through the mountains where the Town of Highlands is how situated. In 1872, when S. F. Kelsey and Charles Hutchinson of Kansas, bought 800 acres on the west plateau of Satulah mountain the Franklin-Walhalla road was the only exit from the wild plateau. Few travelers, other than occasional horseback riders, passed through the primeval forests of this highland country.

A legend related in a history of Macon county has it that Kelsey and Hutchinson had taken a map of the United States and on it had drawn two lines, one running from New York to New Orleans, the other from Chicago to Savannah or Charleston - working on the theory that the point of intersection of these lines would be the exact center of population between the great population centers of the east - they set out to locate the spot. They came to Franklin, and then on to the present sight of Highlands.
That Mr. Kelsey thoroughly believed in the theory he and his partner are said to have advanced is evidenced by the statement he once made to J. Jay Smith, who had lived in Highlands longer than any other living inhabitant of the town. Mr. Kelsey said: "Smith, Highlands is like the hub of a wheel. People will eventually come through Highlands to reach every point in this part of North Carolina, in northwestern South Carolina, and points in North Georgia."

Wellness Lifestyle Evolution

What evolved was a health and summer resort at more than 4,000 feet on the highest crest of the Western North Carolina plateau in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This paradisiac settlement, the highest incorporated town east of the Rockies, provided common ground for both northern and southern pioneers a decade after the Civil war.

By 1883, nearly 300 immigrants from the eastern states were calling Highlands home. In the early 1880’s 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 1920’s, when the Cullasaja River was dammed, forming Lake Sequoyah, to provide hydroelectric power. A spectacularly scenic road to Franklin was carved into the rock walls of the Cullasaja Gorge. The muddy roads in and out of town were reinforced with crushed stone.

In the mid-1970’s an the influx of multi-family homes and shopping centers spawned land use plans and zoning laws intended to protect Highlands’ natural assets. The town’s population stands at slightly over 1,100 year round residents with 3,200 on the plateau.

"Highlands is a town too cosmopolitan to be provincial, too broadly based to be singular in attitude and prospective, too enamored of its natural surroundings to be totally indifferent to them, and just isolated enough and small enough to be anxious about the benefits and setbacks of growth and development."

Heart of the Blue Ridge: Highlands, North CarolinaHeart of the Blue Ridge: Highlands, North Carolina by Randolph P. Shaffner

Soothing Climate

Highlands has a subtropical highland climate (KöppenCfb), with cool winters and warm summers. Highlands experiences notably cooler weather than the rest of the American South; this cooling is caused by its altitude.
Highlands NC
Highlands is one of the very rare locations at this latitude that has an average high of 78 ºF or 26 ºC in July, far lower than the rest of the American South.
Astride the Eastern Continental Divide, at just over 4,100 ft (1,200 m), the town's elevation contributes to its relatively cool summers and abundant rainfall, averaging 87.57 inches (2,224 mm) per year.

Average snowfall is 13 inches (33 cm), largely due to the fact that Highlands is further south and east in the Appalachian Mountains. Areas of similar elevation on the northwest side of the Appalachian region, such as Banner Elk, are not as protected from periodic blasts of Arctic air and receive more substantial snowfall.

The Seasons in Highlands


Go paddling on pristine headwaters, hike to spectacular waterfalls, watch falcons soar, and explore downtown shops in the sunshine during spring in Highlands.


Zip-line through the vibrant forest treetops, embark on a scenic hike to witness stunning waterfalls, browse the local stores, and enjoy a warm, intimate meal throughout the fall in Highlands.


Enjoy a tranquil reprieve or adventure out hiking before ice skating on Main Street and snow-tubing on Scaly Mountain. Winter is one of the most delightful seasons to savor Highlands.

The Seasons in Highlands


Go paddling on pristine headwaters, hike to spectacular waterfalls, watch falcons soar, and explore downtown shops in the sunshine during a spring trip to Highlands.


Zip-line through the colorful forest canopy, go leaf peeping on a hike to a beautiful waterfall, explore downtown shops, and have a cozy dinner during a fall trip to Highlands.


Enjoy a tranquil reprieve or adventure out hiking before ice skating on Main Street and snow-tubing on Scaly Mountain. Winter is one of the most delightful seasons to visit Highlands.

Lifestyle & Activities

Highlands, NC, beckons you to slow down, relax and discover a pristine mountain playground in the Nantahala National Forest. From hiking trails, fishing, zip lining, swimming holes, and waterfalls to cultural attractions, stylish shopping, and award-winning dining, this bucolic mountain village is a refined but relaxed destination for vacations and weekend getaways.

Hike to the top of Whiteside Mountain or watch the sun go down at Sunset Rock. Immerse yourself in pure bliss at The Spa at Old Edwards, savor nationally acclaimed music and theater at the Performing Arts Center, take an art class, and explore the galleries at the Bascom Center for the Visual Arts.

Wine & Dine

Wolfgang's Restaurant

Recipient of the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” for the past eleven years, their wine list features over 1000 wines.
  • Voted the best place for dining in Highlands by Southern Living.
  • Voted Best Restaurant & Best Wine List in The Highlander’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
  • Our State Magazine named Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro – The Place You Must Eat in Macon County.
  • Renowned for its seasonal wine tastings and pairing dinners, showcasing the perfect symphony between exquisite dishes and their impressive wine selection.

Ristorante Paoletti

Recipient of the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence" for the past eighteen years, their wine list features over 850 wines.
  • Features private dining experiences where connoisseurs can indulge in tailored menus accompanied by expert wine pairings from their extensive cellar.
  • Daily homemade pasta, the area's largest selection of impeccably fresh seafood and hand-cut aged meats, are a time-proven success among locals and visitors alike.
  • Their 10-seat bar serves up craft cocktails and the entire dinner menu.
  • Open for dinner, April through New Year's Eve.

Madison's Restaurant

Recipient of the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence" for the past fifteen years, their wine list features over 1000 wines.
  • Seasonally inspired menus reflect the culinary team's commitment to sustainability and innovation, offering guests a dynamic dining experience with each visit.
  • Dine on farm-fresh fare crafted by gifted chefs using ingredients grown in their own gardens & provided by regional farmers and purveyors.
  • The Private Wine Cellar offers an intimate dining setting for up to 12 guests.
  • Madison's sommeliers offer expert guidance on wine choices.

Health & Culture

The Spa at Old Edwards Inn

Immerse yourself in pure bliss at The Spa at Old Edwards. Incorporating native elements of wood and stone, the European styling of the spa, along with unparalleled service, transports you to a world of profoundly rejuvenating luxury and wellness.
  • #1 Hotel Spa in North America by Conde Nast, with first ever perfect score in their Annual Traveler Survey
  • Wellness, rejuvenation and natural beauty enhancement are the hallmarks of every treatment at The Spa at Old Edwards.
  • Each treatment is performed by a world-class spa technician in a private treatment room, or in the quiet of one of six luxurious Spa Suites.

The Bascom: Center for Visual Arts

The Bascom is a three-story, 27,500-square-foot visual arts center, built on the frame of a hand-hewn post-and-beam barn constructed in 1838 & moved to the site from Pennsylvania in 2007.
  • Explore exceptional exhibitions by artists from near and far, available throughout the year to spark your imagination and cultural appreciation.
  • Participate in enriching art education with their diverse classes and workshops, nurturing the artistic skills of novices and experts alike.
  • Visit their picturesque six-acre campus featuring a historic bridge and outdoor art installations, where nature and creativity intersect.

The Lipscomb Performing Arts Center

The Performing Arts Center showcases an elite roster of entertainers, complemented by live satellite transmissions from iconic opera and theater institutions in New York and London.
  • Experience world-class performances, including live theater and HD broadcasts from the MET Opera and National Theatre of London.
  • Home to renowned festivals and local theater groups, offering a rich schedule of artistic endeavors throughout the year.
  • Anticipate the excitement of their forthcoming expansion, destined to further elevate performing arts experiences in the Highlands.

Nature & Outdoors

Whiteside Mountain Hike

Enjoy the adventure of hiking one of America's landmarks along the Eastern Continental Divide. Whiteside Mountain rises to an elevation of 4,930 feet and is the jewel of the Appalachians.
  • Whiteside Mountain Trail is a moderately challenging 2-mile loop trail that takes 2 hours to complete.
  • The trail climbs above sheer 750-feet high cliffs, offering outstanding views to the east, south, and west.
  • A tranquil retreat for birding, hiking, and walking, offering a peaceful escape into nature where quiet encounters with wildlife are the norm.
  • The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. As a bonus, dogs are welcome.

Private Rainforest Tours

Exclusive tours guide you through the hidden gems of Highlands, showcasing stunning rivers, pristine lakes, majestic waterfalls, and breathtaking mountain views on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau.
  • Venture through the lush trails of exclusive rainforest tours, offering a glimpse into the enchanting vistas of alpine mountains and the tranquil waterfalls of the Nantahala Rainforest.
  • Whether you're an avid hiker or prefer a leisurely stroll, tours are tailored to fit your pace and interests, ensuring a personal and fulfilling rainforest experience.
  • Tours will bring you face-to-face with Highlands' rich biodiversity, including rare flora and native wildlife in their natural habitat.

Mountain Fly Fishing

Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Highlands and engage in the revered art of fly fishing. This serene locale is a haven for anglers seeking the ultimate mountain stream fishing experience.
  • Renowned for its clear waters, Highlands offer exceptional spots for fly fishing, suitable for both beginners and seasoned anglers.
  • The rivers are teeming with brook, rainbow, and brown trout, providing a rewarding experience for every cast.
  • The fishing sites are accessible throughout the year, offering a serene escape in every season, with the fall colors providing a particularly breathtaking vista.

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Ease of Accessibility

Landing at 581 Sagee Woods Drive by helicopter is the ultimate convenience and luxury, offering a true sense of arrival.

Highlands is an ideal retreat for those seeking a break from city life and is easily accessible by private jet, helicopter, or car and offers luxurious amenities for those seeking a serene sanctuary to unwind and rejuvenate.

Teterboro Airport, NJ
Private jet from Teterboro Airport to nearby Macon County Airport is 639 miles. Flight time is 1hr 10min.
Palm Beach Intl Airport, FL
Private jet from Palm Beach Intl Airport to nearby Macon County Airport is 620 miles. Flight time is 1hr 8min.
Washington Dulles Intl Airport, VA
Private jet from Washington Dulles Intl Airport to nearby Macon County Airport is 416 miles. Flight time is 45min.
Dallas Love Field Airport, TX
Private jet from Dallas Love Field Airport to nearby Macon County Airport is 785 miles. Flight time is 1hr 26min.
Macon County Airport
Macon County Airport is the closest airport to Highlands, located 15 miles away, with a 4,000-foot runway capable of handling most private jets. JetSuite, Flexjet, & Delta Private Jets serve the airport.
DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, GA
Helicopter from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport to Sagee Manor's helipad is 104 miles. Flight time is 40min.
Palm Beach Intl Airport, FL
Helicopter from Palm Beach Intl Airport to Sagee Manor's helipad is 606 miles. Flight time is 4hrs.
Westchester County Airport, NY
Helicopter from Westchester County Airport to Sagee Manor's helipad is 663 miles. Flight time is 4hrs 20min.
Vertiport Chicago, IL
Helicopter from Vertiport Chicago to Sagee Manor's helipad is 528 miles. Flight time is 3hrs 30min.
Sagee Manor Helipad
Sagee Manor's helipad allows for easy and direct access to the estate by helicopter, eliminating the need for time-consuming ground transportation.
Drive from Atlanta, GA
Driving distance from Atlanta to Sagee Manor is 130 miles. Drive time is around 2hrs 20min.
Drive from Asheville, NC
Driving distance from Asheville to Sagee Manor is 72 miles. Drive time is around 1hrs 40min.
Drive from Charlotte, NC
Driving distance from Charlotte to Sagee Manor is 160 miles. Drive time is around 3hrs 15min.
Drive from Nashville, TN
Driving distance from Nashville to Sagee Manor is 292 miles. Drive time is around 5hrs.
Excellent Roadways
Sagee Manor enjoys a convenient location with excellent road connections to major cities, including Atlanta, Asheville, Charlotte, and Nashville.