“Arrive in North Carolina mountains. Wake up in Europe.” A great slogan that’s absolutely true. Highlands reminds me of Switzerland. Nature all around, waterfalls, hiking trails, outdoor adventures at every step. And you don’t have to leave comfort behind. There are excellent places to stay, eat, shop and indulge your artistic spirit. Like the Highlands Playhouse, the Instant Theater and the Nature Center. The Old Edwards Inn, established in 1878 and part of the National Register of Historic Places, is the city’s landmark and an extraordinary spa resort.
Highlands and its natural forest, bog and wetlands surroundings represent the most diverse biologic area in the Appalachian Mountains, boasting over 160 species of birds and 500 species of flora. Its unique ecosystem offers incredible opportunities for exploring wildlife and plants equaled only by the tropics.
The Highlands Botanical Garden covers 11 acres on the shores of Lindenwood Lake. There are nature trails that lead to displays of carnivorous plants, native azaleas and medicinal herbs. The Coker Rhododendron Trail is an old growth hemlock hardwood forest.
Things to do at the Garden
1. Visit the Nature Center, test your nature and survivals skills; Meet the bears, touch snake skins, turtle shells and dried animals scat. Say hello to the busy working bees…literally. Just keep some distance so you don’t get stung.
2. Bring your kids for an awesome day camping trip. We’ve witnessed one in action. The little ones were flabbergasted by the live snake demo. Then they started their hiking journey along the many yet short and easy going trails.
Along the way they learned how to spot predators, trace animals, think like a bat and hide like a bunny. Lana and I had to settle for something more mundane like watching a snail go by.
3. Hike the trails around the lake, through hardwood forest, and over an old beaver dam. Along the way admire some unusual plants at the Cherokee, Herb, Butterfly and Wildflower gardens.
4. Sing and perform at the Amphitheater. Nothing like playing American Idol…
There is so many sweets inside you’ll need more than a minute to make up your mind.
2. Wash the sweets off with some deliciously aromatic coffee and catch up on all the gossip at Buck’s Coffee Café next door.
3. Get your hands on one of kind gifts only Highlands can put forth.
My 4 years old really liked the frogs; I preferred the Little Flower Shoppe.
Call (828)-526-2695 for tickets.
Here is the upcoming shows calendar (2008):
- Till July 6: “Always Patsy Cline”
- July 10 – July 20: “On Golden Pond”
- July 24 – August 10: “70th Anniversary Salute to Broadway”
- August 14 – August 31: “Inherit the Wind”
Things to do in the area
Unleash the “Indiana Jones” in you and go hunt for rubies, sapphires and even gold in Franklin, NC less than an hour drive from Oconee State Park and Lake Jocassee.
Who knows you may be the next “romancing the stone” star!
See Bridal Veil and Cullasaja waterfalls along scenic Hwy 64.
Located between Highlands and Franklin NC, Bridal Veil is the only waterfall in the Carolinas that you can drive through it.
Cullasaja river boasts the teens’ most favorite rock-sliding and swimming spot in the area. Motorists stop frequently to take photos, enjoy the incredible views and just have a laugh watching the children jump Tarzan-style into the river.
Want to see more?
Read my previous post and visit the South Carolina Upcountry legendary waterfalls.
The fun is unlimited in the Carolina mountains!
Filed under: Charlotte, Devils Fork State Park, Extreme sports, Free Things to Do, Greenville, Historic Carolina Sites, Oconee State Park, Parks and Gardens, Swimming, Walking and Jogging | Tagged: Charlotte family fun things to do, Cullasaja rock sliding, Devils Fork park things to do, Devils Fork State Park attractions, family attractions near Greenville, Franklin gem mines, Greenville kids activities, Highlands Botanical Gardens photos, Jackson Hole Ruby Mine, Lake Jocassee attractions, rubies and sapphires mining, weekend fun outdoor near Greenville | 3 Comments »