Best Mountain Getaway Ever

Recently, my husband and I took a two-day mountain getaway to one of my favorite places on the planet. It is a small village in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina called Highlands. The town itself offers many boutiques, antique stores, fine dining restaurants, and galleries. But it’s the peace and serenity of the stunning mountain vistas, many awe-inspiring waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and hiking trails that keep us returning to Highlands, the best mountain getaway ever, year after year.

Spectacular view of the mountains from US 64 West a few miles outside of Highlands, NC--Best Mountain Getaway Ever
Spectacular view of the mountains from US 64 West a few miles outside of Highlands, NC
Late Fall color in the Western mountains of North Carolina--Best Mountain Getaway Ever
Late Fall color in the Western mountains of North Carolina

The Inn At Half-Mile Farm

Over the years, we have stayed in several of the excellent hotels in and around Highlands, but The Inn At Half-Mile Farm is, in my opinion, is the most charming place to stay in the area. The renovated historic farmhouse sits on 14 acres with a  pond, an orchard, and three reconstructed authentic log cabins. The inn is not just beautiful from the exterior. The elegantly designed farmhouse common spaces and guest rooms are a decorating enthusiasts delight. There is so much to see and admire that I am planning an upcoming post that will just feature the inn’s decor.

Sitting Room at the Inn Of Half Mile Farm --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
Elegant farmhouse decor of the Sitting Room at the Inn At Half-Mile Farm
The Inn At Half Mile Farm--Best Mountain Getaway Ever
The Inn At Half-Mile Farm

View of Apple Lake from the back porch of the Inn At Half Mile Farm--Best Mountain Getaway Ever
View of Apple Lake from the back porch of the Inn At Half-Mile Farm. The lake is stocked, and the inn provides fishing poles, bait, and canoes for their guests.

We stayed in one of the elegant suites in the inn, but you can also book one of the three log cabins on the property. These cabins, which were all built in the 1800s, were found in other parts of North Carolina and Tennesee, deconstructed, transported, and reconstructed on the grounds of Half-Mile Farm. The rustic historic charm of the interiors has been maintained, but they have been updated with luxurious modern amenities.

Authentic 1800's log cabins at the Inn At Half Mile Farm --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
The authentic 1800’s log cabins are equipped with kitchens and have multiple guest rooms, which make them perfect for group getaways.

One of the authentic 1800's log cabins at the Inn At Half Mile Farm --Best Mountain Getaway Ever


On this trip to Highlands, we visited three of the spectacular waterfalls in the Nantahala National Forest. The first one we viewed is Bridal Veil Falls. It is located on Highway  64, just 2 ½ miles from downtown Highlands. You used to be able to drive under the falls, but it is now blocked off for safety reasons. It doesn’t have a lot of water volume, but it is still fun to walk behind it.

Bridal Veil Falls outside of Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
Bridal Veil Falls

Next, we visited Dry Falls, which is similar to Bridal Veil in that it is easily accessible from the road, and you can walk under it.  However, the 75-foot powerful water flow of Dry Falls is much more impressive than the relative trickle of Bridal Falls. It’s called Dry Falls because the rock shelter behind it is so deep that you can stand in the back of the falls and remain dry. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did get a little damp from the spray.)

Dry Falls outside of Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
Dry Falls
Walkway that allows you to walk behind Dry Falls, Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
When you descend the many steps down from the parking area, you can take the walkway that winds behind and around the falls.
Behind Dry Falls, Highlands NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
View from behind Dry Falls

The last waterfall we explored during our mountain getaway was Glen Falls. This one is off the beaten path and much more of a hike than the other two falls we viewed. The Glen Falls trail is well maintained with many railroad tie steps, but it is quite steep, and because of this, the return trip is rated difficult. The great thing about Glen is that it’s actually made up of three different drops of 70 ft, 60 ft, and 15 ft. We hiked down to the first two viewing areas, but the day we were there, it was threatening rain. Because of this, we were advised by some hikers not to bother with the third tier as that part of the trail was filled with roots and the bottom falls was not as impressive as the other two cascades. Nevertheless, the views of the falls that we did see were well worth the effort.

View of the mountains from the top of Glen Falls, Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
View of the mountains from the top of Glen Falls
Glen Falls, Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
View down the first tier of the triple Glen Falls waterfall
Glenn Falls, Highlands, NC --Best Weekend Getaway
View from the bottom of the first tier
Second cascade of Glen Falls, Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
The second cascade of Glen Falls

Other Scenic Views Around Highlands

Everywhere you look in this mountain paradise, you see beauty. On the way back from our hike of Glen Falls, we stopped and snapped a few shots of views that caught our eye.

Mirror Lake, Highlands, NC--Best Mountain Getaway Ever
Mirror Lake, Highlands, NC
One of the many beautiful Highlands golf courses --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
One of the many gorgeous and challenging Highlands golf courses

In the morning, we checked out of The Half-Mile Farm Inn, it was raining, but we wanted one more view of our glorious mountain getaway. So despite the inclement weather, we decided to visit Sunset Rock which provides a breathtaking vista of the town of Highlands and the surrounding mountains. You can drive up to the top of the lookout, park, and then walk a couple hundred feet out to the rock. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize this and parked in the marked lot at the bottom of the road. The hike up the steep road would not have been so bad, but when we started back down, the skies opened up, and we were absolutely soaking wet by the time we reached our car. It was foggy on Sunset Rock, but the view was still pretty spectacular.

View of the charming town of Highlands from Sunset Rock--Best Mountain Getaway Ever
View of the charming town of Highlands from Sunset Rock
Sunset Rock, Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever
It’s very difficult to show the sheer cliff drop off of the massive outcropping of Sunset Rock but believe me; it is quite scary if you are afraid of heights like me.

View from Sunset Rock, Highlands, NC --Best Mountain Getaway Ever

Highlands really is the best mountain getaway ever, and since I plan to return many more times, I will have another chance to check out this glorious view when the weather is better.

Further Recommendations From Our Fall Trip To Highlands


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30 thoughts on “Best Mountain Getaway Ever

  1. We love Highlands and we always stay at Old Edwards which we love! The spa is top-notch and the elegance and beauty we love. But we are always open to something new. Your photos are just gorgeous, fall at its best!

    1. Thanks so much Pam. We’ve stayed at the Old Edwards before as well and it is lovely. The Old Edwards is managing The Inn At Half Mile Farm now so you can stay there and still have use of the spa, restaurants and other amenities of Edwards. I think you would really enjoy the setting at the farm.

    1. Thanks, Cathy. We got lucky the day we drove to Highlands. We hit fog and drizzle on the way up the mountain but when we got up to the Highland plateau, the sun came out and I was able to get the beautiful shots of the mountains with the sun shining on the leaves.

  2. Lisa,
    The mountains of NC are some of my favorite, such beauty. I have driven through Highlands but never stopped. Evidently I need to make it a destination. I love that you so show such wonderful travel opportunities.

    1. Thank so much, Deborah. Highlands really is a special place–perfect for a getaway for you and your hubby. We went there the first time years ago for our anniversary and have gone back many times since. It’s the kind of place you never get tired of because each season offers something gorgeous to look at.

  3. Your pictures are gorgeous! I’ve put this on my places to visit list (The only places in North Carolina I’ve visited are Charlotte and the Biltmore!) Thanks so much for sharing at our Party in Your PJs link party.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I miss being able to drive behind the falls too. It was such a unique feature. We have not hiked up Whiteside Mountain before but I will make a point of trying it next time we go.

  4. We love Highlands and have property there if we wish to retire there one day. We try to visit every other fall and do the New England fall tour alternate years, but this year we did neither, so it was a real treat to see your beautiful photos. There is just something so peaceful about the Highlands area, and we love the fact that there are so many fine dining establishments for such a small place. On a sad note, lovely Mirror Lake, which looks like a frozen winter wonderland during the cold months, is experiencing heavy silt issues that will cause environmental problems and cost mega bucks to dredge out. Because so much of that lake is part of private properties, the town doesn’t want it’s tax dollars spent to fix the problem. I fear that lake will end up as no more than a trickling creek, just as it’s other portion did years ago. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I am glad you enjoyed my photos of Highlands. We are thinking about buying property up there as well. I am so sorry to hear about the problems with Mirror Lake. It is such a lovely feature of the area. I will keep my fingers crossed as well. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I hope you get to visit Highlands–it’s a very special place. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I’ve never been to North Carolina, but I definitely want to now. These photos are stunning and the hotel looks lovely. Thank you for sharing on Over the Moon; that’s where I found you. Happy Thanksgiving to you!


    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Christie. North Carolina is truly a beautiful state. I hope you have the opportunity to visit it sometime. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    1. Thanks, Mary for commenting. It is definitely worth it to come a little further south. Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving weekend!

  6. Hello. Your post and pics are great! We love the Highlands, NC area. My family has been here for centuries but I moved her about 15 yrs ago. We love all 4 season!
    I husband moved here about 5 yrs ago and opened a small business. Next time your up check us out—

    Life is an Adventure!!! Kelly 🐾

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