Just outside Highlands, North Carolina, an iconic retreat welcomes visitors to fourteen acres of secluded luxury surrounding a circa-1870 farmhouse. Now known officially as Half Mile Farm: A Country Inn by Old Edwards Hospitality, the Inn has been a favorite with visitors to the area since its opening in 2001. Rooms in the main house, which overlooks scenic Apple Lake, maintain a rustic elegance—mellow hardwood floors, comfortable armchairs—which is also reflected in the living room with its big stone fireplace. In addition to the main house and its neighboring courtyard building, the Inn offers accommodations in historic farmhouses and cabins dotted around the property.
Visitors here enjoy bountiful breakfasts—one memorable meal during our stay featured a bacon omelet, cheese grits, and pork chops—in the dining room of the main house, and sunset wine and hors d’oeuvres in the living room or on the spacious porch. Relaxation is a major draw at the Inn, and we logged some quality time on the private deck of our upstairs room looking out over the flower beds filled with native plants and the serene lake. However, for guests who feel that they have to be up and doing, the same lake is stocked with fish, and canoes are available for gliding over its shining surface.
The Inn also boasts a swimming pool, and the forested grounds supply plenty of opportunities for hiking. Farther afield, the area offers mountain golf courses, whitewater rafting, and fly fishing in rushing mountain streams.
Then there are the waterfalls. Located a short drive up winding US Highway 64, Bridalveil Falls offers the ultimate in waterfall convenience—you can drive behind it. Another mile or so brings you to Dry Falls and a roadside trail that lets you walk behind the spectacular falls without getting wet.
If you prefer adventure of another kind, downtown Highlands is filled with charming restaurants and shops.
Half-Mile Farm is located at 214 Half-Mile Drive just north of Highlands, North Carolina, off U.S. Highway 64. For more information or reservations, check the website at www.halfmilefarm.com or phone 1-800-946-6822.
photos by Jack Purser