Often people who come to the Cashiers, North Carolina area to look at real estate for sale will ask me where a nice place to stay is. I found this article on High Hampton and thought I would post it for those of you who like something different. I took the picture last winter which is the view from the Resort looking onto the lake.
see: last minute accommodations
High Hampton Inn casts cultivated country spell in Blue Ridge foothills
BY DANNY LEE ENQUIRER CONTRIBUTOR
Some say the High Hampton Inn & Country Club isn't for everyone, but it's hard to imagine who would dislike the historic resort's comfortable mix of rustic charm, seasoned sophistication, and service that is attentive without being intrusive.
"I'm not sure we want the secret to get out," chuckled Lexington, Ky., anesthesiologist Emil Menk as he reeled a bass lure through the shallows of the inn's 35-acre, spring-fed Lake Hampton. "It's really a great place to get away."
The 1,400-acre resort, finishing its 85th year open to the public, is located just a few blue ridges north of the South Carolina line and an hour or so southwest of Asheville. Once the property of wealthy South Carolina planters, it is just south of Cashiers (pronounced CASH-ers), N.C., along N.C. 107. From Cincinnati, it's about a six-hour drive.
Daily rates for the 117 rooms begin at $135 a person on the traditional "American Plan," which includes meals. "It seems expensive," said Menk, "but if you get three meals a day, it's really quite reasonable."
At the High Hampton Inn & Country Club in Cashiers, N.C., the ambience is much more pine and planky than fine and swanky. There is hardware dating to the Tennessee Valley Authority era, window latches can be balky, and room keys come attached to rough wooden disks.
Paths are covered with checker piece-size stones worn perfectly smooth and flat by untold ages in rushing mountain streams - tough to walk on in heels, but perfect for teaching your children the art of skipping rocks, which is exactly the kind of low-tech, high-satisfaction activity the old inn offers.
And everything works: beds are soft, bathrooms are modern and convenient, and there's even wireless Internet service in the lobby - but only there, along with the inn's only phones and televisions.
NO NEED TO WANDER
It's a nice surprise in these days of specialization to find that the resort is essentially self-contained. You can hit most of the high points of Blue Ridge mountain tourism without ever leaving the property: swim and boat, or hike the scenic trails that range from a gentle round-the-lake stroll to challenging jaunts up the resort's looming, granite-faced Chimney Top Mountain (4,618 feet) and Rock Mountain (4,730 feet). Go now through November, and the forests will be bursting with rich reds and golds.
You can get a steam bath, massage and workout at the 5,500-square-foot spa and health club, curl up with a book in one of the innumerable nooks and crannies, try tennis on one of the six clay courts or a round of golf on the resort's course, which has been praised for its beauty and playability in Golf Digest Magazine.
After-dinner activities include speakers, magic shows, live music and bingo that can fill the lobby with a 100 or more laughing guests of all ages. A casual mixer-type atmosphere puts guests at ease and establishes relationships that can span a vacation, or years.
In the summer, organized activities for kids include hay rides, pajama parties,and arts and crafts. Teens enjoy kayaking, bonfires, disc golf and geocaching, a sort of treasure hunt game using satellite-based global-positioning technology.
A COOL RETREAT
The inn traces its roots 170 years back to Civil War General and South Carolina governor Wade Hampton, who used the mountain refuge to escape the stifling, mosquito-cursed summers of his lowland plantations. The present inn, reconstructed after a 1932 fire, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its chestnut-bark exterior provides natural bug protection as well as a backwoods look.
On the broad veranda of the hunting lodge-style inn, you can play Ping-Pong or sit in a rocking chair and contemplate the old-growth bald cypress and heirloom gingko, bottlebrush buckeye and copper beech trees growing on the front lawn. Or you can try the ring-and-hook game that seems irresistible to children.
The dining room is full of families of 10, 15 or 20 members of succeeding generations surrounding long tables decorated with fresh dahlias grown on the property. (From late July through early October guests are welcome to cut blooms in the sun-washed garden near the front gate to decorate their rooms or cottages.)
Other High Hampton visitors make the resort the scene of social, rather than family, reunions. Allison Holly, of Miami, Fla., spent girlhood summers at nearby Camp Merrie-Woode while her parents vacationed at the High Hampton. "We would put on a musical every summer, and come to High Hampton Inn to put on the show," she said.
After she and other camp friends graduated from Wake Forest University and launched adult lives, "We just started thinking, wouldn't it be fun to come back with our families and have a group trip," she said. "We knew that it was super family-oriented and kid-friendly."
The wholesome atmosphere of the resort, together with its buffet-style meals where men are expected to dress "appropriately" for dinner, seemed perfect for the old friends, their spouses, and a posse of 10 kids, none older than seven. "I love it; the men have to wear a coat and tie for dinner," laughed Allison. "It's fun; it really brings everyone together."
Togetherness isn't limited to your own group. Like a traditional cruise ship, you'll have the same table throughout your visit, dining near the same folks for the duration. It's easy and pleasant to get into the habit of exchanging the day's itinerary over the dining room's hearty and delicious fare such as pork roast, egg soufflé Spanish style, steamed vegetable dishes and the inn's trademark trout.
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