Known as "The Plateau" by local residents, Highlands, Cashiers, Sapphire, & Lake Toxaway sit around 3487' in elevation the highest plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With surrounding peaks reaching 5127', this gives the advantage of being 15+ degrees cooler than the rest of the Southeast during the summer months. Making it ideal for getting away. Not only does it have the ideal temperature, but it also is a temperate rain forest, with average rainfall daily in the warmer months with up to 100 inches a year. This makes for a lush green forest with rushing rivers, lakes, and 100s of waterfalls throughout the area. With 16 different golf courses in the area, national parks, and lakes there is truly something for everyone in these communities.
There are many legends about where the name for Cash-urs originated, so have it that Cashiers got its name from the gem mining trade in the early 1900s, the miners getting paid cash for the gems. others say it is from the mispronunciation of General Wade Hampton's bull named Cashus, as this was a favorite retreat for him, at the now High Hampton Country Club. Another has it that one of the founding settlers, Robert McKinney had a very expensive white stallion named Cash that turned up lost one fall, then was found as healthy as a horse the next spring in the valley a couple of mountains over, so he started calling it Cash's Valley. Cashiers Valley is located at the crossroads of Highways 107 and 64, convenient to South Carolina & Georgia this tiny mountain town can be missed if you blink your eye, with just two stop lights, one grocery store, and two gas stations, it is not your typical town. There are not a lot of chain businesses or typical sights from your ordinary cities, but what you will find is a lot of shops from local craftsman and artisans, fine dining from chefs that use local produce, and cool people that have come here to live the mountain way of life. At the Crossroads, you will find the heart of this tiny community, The Village Green. With activities held regularly for the community from arts and crafts fairs to the weekly summertime Groovin on the Green concert series. Filled with whimsical paths, gardens, play castles, and sculptures - one with the words "It is Here Where We Rest and Dream." This is the perfect description of the dream that many have when coming to this area to find the spot where they will build their second home and rest out their golden days.
-Whiteside Mountain - rising over 2,100 feet from the valley floor to the summit at 4,930 feet with 700' and an overlook from the 2.2-mile trail that allows you to see for miles around. This is a favorite spot for many tourists when visiting the area.
-Slide Rock - or the other "Bust your Butt Falls" about 2.8 miles off Whiteside Cove Road. This is a perfect swimming hole for all ages on the Chattooga River with a gentle sliding rock that lands into an icy pool, this is a must do when in Cashiers.
-Silver Run Falls - just off HWY 107 south of Cashiers, Silver Run Falls is an easy family friendly hike about 200 feet of flat terrain from the trailhead to a large pool with a 20-foot waterfall, perfect for swimming the day away or just a quick picture. There is also a secret waterfall at the top of the trail for those that want to find it.
-The Village Green - in the heart of Cashiers, almost every community function takes place here from the Groovin on the Greem summer concert series every Friday, to the annual Arts and Crafts fairs every fall and spring.
-Grimshawes Post Office - the smallest working post office in the United States with breathtaking views of Whiteside Mountain. Located off HWY 107, down Whiteside Cove Road approximately 4 miles.
-Falls at Bull Pen - Located at the bottom of HWY 107 just before the SC state line is Bull Pen Road, this road takes you to an old iron bridge that crosses the Chattooga River with roaring rapids below. The bridge itself is a landmark, the perfect opportunity for a photo op, but the river itself has plenty of spots for a picnic or swimming.
-Premier Golf Courses & Country Clubs - Wade Hampton, High Hampton Inn & Country Club, Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club, & Wade Hampton Golf Club.
-Zachary Tolbert House - visit this house for a look into what mountain homes were like 200 years ago, or stop for lunch at the Cornucopia and get a feel for how it must have looked as the old general store.
Nestled between Lake Toxaway and Cashiers, this area of the plateau has been a favorite for relaxation all the way back to the Creek Indian days, dated roughly 270 years ago when some pleasure seeker carved a granite soaking pool into a spring. Full of fun packed activities for the whole family with the ski slopes in Sapphire Valley, to the hiking trails at Gorges State Park, or swimming & kayaking at Fairfield Lake. It was originally home to the historic Fairfield Inn, built in 1896. A favorite for many southerners trying to beat the heat, using the railway system built in Asheville tourists has been coming to this hidden getaway for over 120 years to seek the quiet beauty these mountains have to offer. The Inn burnt down in 1986, but the resort community still thrives. with many golf courses, local taverns, restaurants, community center, and ski slope. The current community of Sapphire Valley Country Club was built in 1954. Many other developments have joined the area since then. Making this a well-rounded community, with history and culture, a most desirable second home to so many mountain lovers. It is just waiting to be discovered by the next generation of tourists and pleasure seekers.
-Whitewater Falls -the largest waterfall on the east coast with a 411' drop, Whitewater Falls is an easy walk up a short trail with spectacular views from the top and an opportunity to walk down the stairs to a viewing deck below.
-Whitewater Equestrian Center - offers horseback riding and Gem mining.
-Gorges State Park - or Gorgeous State Park has a state of the art new welcome center with a science and nature room and views overlooking North and South Carolina, many trails and camping throughout the park and several waterfalls including Rainbow Falls, Turtle Back Falls, Drift Falls, and Stairway Falls.
-Golfing & Country Clubs - Burlingame at Sapphire Lakes, Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Red Bird Golf Links are the three country club resort communities that offer golf, tennis, fitness center and other amenities.
-Fairfield Lake - Private lake for Sapphire Masters Association members ideal for fishing, swimming, or taking out a kayak.
-Camp Merrie-Wood - Built in 1919, this traditional girls camp is nestled on Fairfield Lake. Listed on the national historic register, and winner of several awards Merrie-Woode is possibly one of the most scenic, charming locations on the entire plateau. Picturesque with tiny cabins, sailboats, and all the campers gear sitting at the bottom of a massive rock face. It is directed by former campers and continues to be a place girls learn lessons to last a lifetime that all started here in Sapphire.
-Sapphire National Golf Club – With over 5,000 acres, the Sapphire Valley Resort offers to the public a course with dramatic elevation changes and equally dramatic views. The Sapphire Mountain Brewery awaits you at the 19th hole. Sapphire is the only full public course on the entire mountain.
-Fine Dining & Restaurants- many mountain area restaurants and bars offer fine dining and music entertainment throughout the year, The Cork & Barrel, Mica's Bar & Grill, Sapphire Mountain Brewery, The Library and more
Lake Toxaway is the largest privately-held lake in North Carolina. It covers 460 acres with 14 miles of shoreline. It was settled in 1890 and was dubbed "Switzerland of America" after several fabulous resorts were created by EH Jennings, the Fairfield Inn, The Sapphire Inn, the Lidge, the Franklin Hotel & the Toxaway Inn, These resorts were only possible because of Southern Railway. A rail system was built from Asheville to Toxaway and the creation coincided with the creation of the lake. This was the first artificial lake built in the Appalachians. The Toxaway Inn was 5 stories tall and accommodated 500 guests, it offered modern conveniences like central heat, elevators, indoor plumbing, and long-distance telephones. it had such guests as Henry Ford, John D Rockefeller, Harvey Firestone, The Vanderbilt Family, R.J. Reynolds, and Thomas Edison.
-The Greystone Inn - built-in 1915 as a private residence for socialite Lucy Armstrong, it was turned into the Greystone in 1985. Listed on the National Historic Places, the Greystone Inn has been recognized with a AAA Four Diamond Award, named Country Inn Magazines Most Romantic Inn award, awarded by southern living, and been featured in 200 magazines.
-Toxaway Falls - 123' waterfall just off HWY 64, can be seen from your car or you can stop and walk onto the bridge to look further.
-Lake Toxaway Country Club - 18-hole championship golf course designed by Kris Spence, tennis, croquet, swimming pool, state of the art fitness center, and club-centered activities and social events.
-Mountain Treasures Gem Mine - find a treasure digging in the dirt, you may be the one to find the prize Sapphire that this area is known for.
Located 4 miles from Cashiers and 20 miles from Western Carolina University, Lake Glenville is the highest elevation lake east of the Mississippi River at 3,492' in elevation. It has 26 miles of shorelines and plunging depths with 5 tributaries feeding it with several waterfalls. It was built in 1941 when the Tuckasegee River was damned up to create the reservoir to help with power shortages during WWII. It flooded the town of Glenville covering schools, homes, businesses, & farmlands.
-Panthertown Valley - often referred to as “the Yosemite of the East”, is a popular 6,295-acre backcountry recreation area within the complex. Panthertown has thirty miles of U.S. Forest Service officially designated trails in the Nantahala National Forest plus many miles of Forest Service roads and unofficial user-created footpaths located throughout the valley. According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than 25,000 visitors from around the world explore Panthertown Valley each year. Visitors can enjoy deep gorges and broad valleys, mountain bogs and granitic rock domes, tranquil creeks and plunging waterfalls.
-Pines Recreation Area - a charming sandy beach with swimming and fishing pier, located about 8 miles from Cashiers crossroads, just off of Pine Creek Road past the dam.
-Andrews Park - Campground located on the lake with accommodations for tents or RVs.
-Signal Ridge Marina - All your boating needs for refills, rentals, or just to snack up.
-Golf - Several golf courses and country clubs like Chinquapin, Bear Lake Resort, and Trilluim Links & Lake Club
Highlands was founded in 1875 after its two founders, Samuel Truman Kelsey and Clinton Carter Hutchinson, drew lines from Chicago to Savannah and from New Orleans to New York City. They felt that the place where these lines met would eventually become a great trading center and commercial crossroads. Highlands was named for its lofty elevation.
In the 1930s the town became a golfing mecca when Bobby Jones of Atlanta and some of his well-heeled golfing buddies founded the Highlands Country Club. Today that club is one of seven successful residential country club communities in the area. The Highlands Country Club is south of Highlands on Hwy 106. Highlands also has an affinity for the arts with several centers for arts, with four performing arts theatres: The Highlands Playhouse, the Instant Theatre Company, the Highlands Community Players, and the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center, which hosts touring groups. The Bascom Center is another center for the arts where exhibitions and classes can be taken throughout the year.
-Many country clubs and golf courses can be found in and around Highlands, Cullasaja Club, Highlands Country Club, Highlands Falls Country Club, Old Edwards Club at Highlands Cove, Wildcat Cliffs Country Club.
-Old Edwards Inn - a world-class Inn and Spa in downtown Highlands with picturesque guest rooms and dining, ranked #2 for romantic destinations and honeymoon locations and topping many travel lists for top vacation spots around the world.
-Blue Valley - Long Range views of North Carolina and Georgia where the valley often appear like their namesake - Blue Valley.
-Glen Falls - not only does it have a spectacular waterfall, but also views of Blue Valley overlooking Georgia
-Hwy 64 Waterfall Trail - Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, Cullasaja Falls all just off Hwy 64 in the Cullasaja River Gorge. These 3 waterfalls offer incredible views and opportunities to get up and close to waterfalls with Dry Falls & Bridal Veil Falls having access under the falls.
-Quarry Falls - aka "Bust your Butt Falls" is another sliding rock waterfall in the area that is perfect for the family with a cool pool and brisk temperatures for cooling off in the summer heat.
-The Bascom Center for the Arts - offers art classes for all ages and workshops throughout the year with many auctions and exhibits on display for the community.
-Fine Dining and Entertainment - many fine dining and restaurants throughout Highlands from fine cuisine to rustic BBQ, with entertainment at many local spots throughout the seasons
-Highlands Aerial Adventures - Zip lining tours through the mountains and over the streams just a few miles from town square.