It's hard to visit High Hampton Inn & Country Club in Cashiers, North Carolina, for the first time and not wish you'd grown up vacationing at the rustic Blue Ridge Mountain retreat with the many families who return year after year. There's a chummy, wholesome atmosphere at the inn set on a picture perfect hill across from towering Rock Mountain. High Hampton's 1,400 acres include a 35-acre private lake, Lake Hampton.
Welcoming guests since 1922 the shingle-style inn is on the National Register of Historic Places. In keeping with its long tradition, guests are asked to dress for dinner and invited to a daily Afternoon Tea.
At 3,600-feet the inn makes for a refreshing getaway during its spring, summer and fall season. It's especially popular in the summer because temperatures tend to be about 15 degrees less than in the surrounding area.
High Hampton Inn: Accommodations and Dining
When I arrived at the inn and saw guests rocking and milling about on the inn's huge wraparound porch I felt I had gone back to a simpler place and time. After I checked in I was charmed with my room's wooden walls and floors and antique furniture. I opened several windows to take advantage of the cool, fresh mountain air.
The main inn offers 120 guestrooms and suites. Seventeen private cottages with one to 14 bedrooms are also available. Many of the cottages have fireplaces and screen porches. The secluded Honeymoon Cottage on its own small lake is favored by couples.
There are no telephones or televisions in the rooms, which I found restful. But don't fear guests can easily access these modern conveniences as well as free wireless Internet in the lobby great room.
Dinner and other meals were served buffet style in the dining hall. My group was assigned a table where we sat and were served by the same friendly wait staff members throughout our stay. Guests who chose the American Plan are provided with three meals a day and may opt for a picnic lunch box.
The Rock Mountain Tavern at the inn offers live entertainment and a large outdoor patio with scenic views.
High Hampton Inn: Recreation
While the inn is rambling and quaint, inspiring nostalgia, its new 5,500-square-foot fitness and spa facility is supremely modern. The club is just a short drive or long walk from the inn and offers cardio and strength training equipment, locker rooms and a variety of exercise classes. I found my massage there super soothing, especially after several activity-packed days at the inn.
High Hampton Inn has an abundance of recreational choices, including a gorgeous golf course. I took a golf lesson on the driving range and was impressed by the instruction. Another favorite activity of mine was hiking. The tall hemlocks and white pines towering over Lake Hampton provide a picturesque setting. The formal inn gardens are also lovely to survey. More ambitious hikers may want to scale adjacent Chimney Top and Rock mountains.
Other fun outdoor activities include swimming, boating, fishing, croquet, bocce, tetherball, volleyball, badminton, putting, horseshoes, shuffleboard and basketball. When it rains the inn provides playing cards, board games and puzzles. There's also a library. Various workshops are offered during the season, including instruction on wildflowers, fly fishing, cooking and bridge. Plus there's daily recreational programming and nightly entertainment.
High Hampton Inn: Nearby Attractions
Just a few miles from the inn downtown Cashiers features a charming shopping district with dozens of upscale boutiques and restaurants. The winding mountain roads to and from the inn are all punctuated by pull offs and parks that show off the numerous waterfalls, cascading streams and other geologic features of the area.
And don't miss The Biltmore in Ashville (see also The Inn at Biltmore) while you are in the area. It's one of the most stunning mansions you'll ever see, rivaling the great homes of European royalty. In addition to its carefully restored chambers and extensive gardens the estate has a winery well worth touring.
More About High Hampton Inn
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High Hampton Inn is located: 49 miles from the Ashville Regional Airport
1525 Highway 107 South, Cashiers, NC 28717 USA
Phone: (828) 743-2411; Reservations: (800) 334-2551
Web site: High Hampton Inn & Country Club