Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
I'm sharing all of the details from our trip last week! My fiancé planned it for my birthday this year since last year was my 30th birthday and it was spent in lockdown. This definitely made up for it and we had the best time. I didn't realize how popular this resort is- I had so many of you saying you have been and loved it or have trips planned in the coming weeks and months and are so excited! 

I wanted to get this travel guide up as quickly as possible in case it helps any of you all in planning! I also wanted to note that all of these photos were taken on my iPhone. I wasn't planning on creating a travel guide as this was the first trip my fiancé had taken together on our own since 2019 so it was really important to me to be off of my phone and be very present/not creating content so the photos were just quick snaps and are not up to my usual travel guide standards. But this post was highly requested so hopefully, it can help in planning your future trips! 

Where did you travel?
Last week we went to Highlands, North Carolina. Highlands is an adorable mountain town very close to both the Georgia and South Carolina borders. Highlands itself is the CUTEST town. It has a Main Street which is lined with the most charming little locally-owned shops and restaurants. 

How did you get there?
We drove from Pittsburgh. However, we actually only drove from the lake in Hiawassee, GA, which is an hour to get to Highlands. I cannot believe that we haven't been to Highlands before because of how close it is to Hiawassee! If we would have driven straight from Pittsburgh to Highlands, it would have been a solid 9-hour drive. Last Friday, we stopped in Charlotte to stay with my sister and her fiancé, and then we all drove to Hiawassee Saturday morning. We stayed at the lake before our trip to Highlands because it's such a long drive and by doing this we would be able to arrive the day of our reservation without having to wake up at the crack of dawn and driving 9 hours that day. We also drove back from Highlands to Hiawassee once we checked out so we would have another day at the lake to relax and have fun. My parents were also at the lake so they could watch Henry as Old Edwards Inn does not allow pets. 

But, it's my understanding that Highlands is a pretty 'easy' drive from cities like Charlotte and Atlanta. I put easy in quotes because the roads are SUPER windy.

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
Cottage Deluxe King Room
Where did you stay?
We stayed at the Old Edwards Inn in a cottage deluxe king room. There are a LOT of room options at this Inn!! Now that I have been there, I 'get it' but it was a little confusing on their site. All of the rooms are really beautiful so I guess you really cannot go wrong. The resort has a decently large footprint in the town, but it's very easy to walk the entire thing in just a few minutes so even your location, in my opinion, doesn't matter too much. The options are The Inn, Hickory, The Lodge, Falls Cottage, and Residences. 

The Inn is the main building where the restaurants and bar/lounges are. This is set up more like a traditional hotel with several floors of rooms and a beautiful (small) lobby. I would think this would be the most desirable location during the winter months because you would not have to leave the Inn to get to a restaurant. 

Hickory is located right by the pool and fitness center and right across from the spa, so if you plan to do a lot of swimming or exercising, this might be for you. Each 'section' of rooms has different looks to them so I think if you're trying to decide, looking at the photos on their website will be the most helpful. 

The Lodge is where we stayed and I asked my fiancé what made him choose it and he said it was literally the only room available, haha! We loved our lodge room so much. These have separate outdoor entrances so it almost looks like you are staying in your own cabin in the woods. I think it is like 2 or 3 'cabins' all stuck together as one 'unit' but it all felt so private, I really couldn't tell definitively. You can also park right out front of your room which is convenient (not that we really ever needed our car while we were there because it was all so walkable). It all felt very private. The ceilings were vaulted and we had our own little screened-in porch and that let out to a spacious back patio that was fenced in and felt very secluded. In the mornings, they provide complimentary morning coffee service, but just to note, you have to go outside to get to Art's which has a front desk and concierge as well as a bar and lounge area (of course you can also have it delivered by room service). It's just steps away so it's not like you have to trek, but you'd have to bundle up if it were cold outside! Also to note, the coffee was great- this is something important to me when I stay anywhere. It wasn't too acidc or watery. Our room was beautifully appointed. It had heated floors in the bathroom (which is always the best) and Frette linens on the bed and in the bathroom. It was spacious and well decorated in a tasteful, casual way. 

Falls Cottages, are from my understanding, like larger Lodge rooms. We didn't really venture over to the cottage area because that was behind the lodge area so we didn't really have any reason to wander over there. 

And then lastly, they have residences which are stand-alone houses which would be good if you are going with a big group. They also have another property called Half Mile farm and it looks equally as fabulous- I want to go there and stay in one of the cabins... it looks like something out of The Holiday! 

Where did you eat?
There are 8 different locations you can eat on the property: Madison's, Hummingbird Lounge, Art's at the Lodge, The Spa Cafe, The Wine Garden, Four65 Bistro, and The Grill Room. We went to 7 out of the 8 spots (we didn't make it to the grill room). That's just what is on the Old Edward's Inn property, there are restaurants and all of that outside of the Inn but we spent most of our time at the actual inn as we were only there for two nights!

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
Madison's is located in the Inn and is more upscale and feels dressier. We ate there for dinner one of the nights and we both agreed it was truly one of the most spectacular meals ever. The food was top notch and the service was just as wonderful. We made friends with the sommelier as he was from Pittsburgh! He was fantastic and I was so impressed with their selection of wines- we ended up getting a bottle of Billecart Salmon to celebrate, and I would not call the champagne obscure by any means, but I don't often see that on wine lists, so I was just really into their selections! This is the kind of place you can order lots of courses, take your time, and get all dolled up (and not feel overdressed). It was pure bliss. It's only open to hotel guests for breakfast and dinner and I think it is open to the public for lunch. 

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
The Hummingbird lounge is also located in the Inn and is the most handsome lounge. It's like a true old-school lounge with wood paneling, velvet, plaids, a fireplace, and big windows. It felt like there should have been a jazz trio playing in the corner. You can order drinks here and the full Madison's menu. I am personally glad we actually ate at Madison's vs. the Hummingbird because it has a different vibe, but it was really enjoyable to have cocktails there. 
Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
The Spa Café is for spa guests only, so we ate after our massages. You can eat in your robe. It's a typical spa menu with lighter fare like chicken salad, charcuterie board, etc. I got asparagus soup and it was absolutely incredible!! 
A Paloma at Art's
Art's at the Lodge isn't really a dining area but more of a bar and coffee lounge. It's upscale cozy in decor and had two nice big fireplaces. They serve coffee in the mornings and cocktails in the evening. 

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
Wine Garden
The Wine Garden is only open seasonally because it is outside but this was one of my favorite spots because it is just so beautiful. Tables with umbrellas and a little waterfall and beautiful flowers all around. It's well worth eating here. The food was incredible. I had a pimento cheese burger and oh my goodness!!! 
Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
Four65 Bistro
Four65 Bistro feels slightly separate from the rest of the Inn, I think it might be separately owned but it seems to be on the Inn's property and that is what you can order while you are at the pool. The food is Italian. Think Neopolitan pizzas, sandwiches, etc. It was absolutely delicious. We shared a pizza and sandwich and both were just delicious. The cocktails were great, too. The atmosphere was very pretty and looked very different from the rest of the Inn's property. 

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina

What did you do?
There is a lot to do in this area, but we really booked this trip more for total relaxation. There are lots of waterfalls you can visit and hikes and fishing and golfing, but we didn't do any of that. 

We spent a morning/afternoon at the spa which was incredible. We did a couple's massage and it was truly a treat. The spa is pretty large and luxurious and they had a ton of options to choose from. 
Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina

We relaxed at the pool one afternoon. It is heated so even though it was decently chilly outside, we were more than happy in the warm water. They also have a hot tub which was really nice. While we were there, we had the entire pool to ourselves. 

We walked around the entire town one afternoon and went in and out of all the adorable shops. They had a cute Christmas shop where we snagged an ornament to remember our trip! They had everything from cheesy little gift shops to beautiful high-end furniture stores and even a store that was basically a mini Saks. They also had a shop that wasn't on Main Street called The Summer House and it was filled with the most beautiful interior decor you could imagine. Loved that store so much! 

We also went to Clayton, GA, which is about halfway between Highlands and Hiawassee. The town is SO cute. It's about a 30min drive from Highlands, but I highly recommend it if you have the time. It's similar to Highlands in that there are a lot of little small businesses and café's/bakeries/restaurants. I especially loved Butler's Galleries in Clayton. It was a huge antique store and they had SO much good stuff. We also heard Cashiers is cute, too, but just didn't have the time. 

Is this kid-friendly?
We didn't see any children while we were there but I don't see why you couldn't bring children. They had some lawn games set up outside in one area and the pool doesn't have a deep end so I would think kids would enjoy those aspects. I obviously do not have children, so I'm really not the best judge for this. I wouldn't say it necessarily looks like a place that caters to children, but I don't see why you couldn't bring them and why they wouldn't enjoy it! To me, it seemed more of a romantic getaway or a getaway for girlfriends. 
Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina

Travel Guide: Old Edwards Inn Highlands, North Carolina
This was our little patio
Anything else we should know about?
Old Edward's has nice perks and detailed service. When you check-in, they give you a glass of champagne, my fiancé had it in the reservation that it was my birthday so when I went to the spa, they brought us over birthday champagne (all complimentary), and at turn down one night, they had a birthday card on my bed with roses. They also give you free Dove ice cream bars whenever you want. This made my fiancé so happy! You just ask for one and they bring you one wherever you are. Such a fun little perk. 

One thing to note is that we went on weekdays because that worked best with our driving schedule and going to the lake. I would not necessarily recommend going on a weekday. If we go back, we will without a doubt go on a weekend. This is because a lot of shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays and there are usually live music spots around the resort but only on Fridays and Saturdays. Even in the Hummingbird lounge, they had a big grand piano with a sign advertising music on Fridays and Saturdays. 

On that same note, since it is in a mountain climate, we would like to have come in summer. At night (and even during the day), it was pretty cold. I also packed like an idiot so that was my fault. Or, on the other hand, we think fall would be incredible for the foliage and the overall cozy vibe of the inn. I think Christmastime would be ideal, too, because of the charming town. 

We also both said 2 nights was not long enough, we think 3 nights would be the perfect amount, so we'd likely book 3 nights next time. 

My only piece of constructive criticism (and it's really very minute) is that they had the same cocktail list at every single place. It would have been fun if they had a different list at each place to make it feel more separate. There were also a lot of menu items overlapping at each restaurant. Don't get me wrong, everything we ate was phenomenal, but I think to differentiate the areas a little more would have made things even better.

Another thing to note, it's pricey, but they have another place called 200 Main which seems to be similar but with lower rates- we never saw it (or at least I don't think we did). Outside of the Old Edwards Inn group, there is The Park On Main which we walked past and it looks SO cute. It's dog-themed and you can bring your dog! They also seem to have less pricey room rates but it looks really nice, too! 

Overall, I would highly recommend Old Edwards Inn and Highlands, North Carolina as a whole. We had the absolute best time. It was so relaxing and the perfect, romantic getaway to celebrate my 30th birthday 'do-over'! We will certainly be back and hopefully sooner than later!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a gem! I will have to put this on my list for a NC Mountains trip! PS - don't apologize for iphone photos - I appreciate the candidness moreso!


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