Looking for a weekend trip? Hop over to Highlands

Cheryl Bartley, left, and Madge Cleveland enjoying their first bottle of sake of the night at Asia House.

For the 26th year, we took our annual girls’ trip on MLK weekend. But, in our case, MLK stands for “Madly Leaving Knoxville.” We choose this weekend because, over the years, several of us have worked for government agencies and this is the Martin Luther King holiday, extending the weekend and allowing recovery time for some.

We are lucky enough to have friends who own a beautiful condominium in Highlands, North Carolina (thanks, Mel and Jim!), so that’s where we headed this past  weekend. We knew the weekend would be rainy and we also knew some restaurants would be closed for the season, but we were confident we’d have a great time anyway.

Here are some of the fun things to do in Highlands — even on a frigid, wet January weekend. We did miss one of our regular members — Susan  Brown, who was in Finland. But, Katie Kline, Madge Cleveland, Cheryl Bartley and I made the most of it. We recommend the trip. Come along!

We made a great discovery for a lunch spot on the way to Highlands. As we cut through Cashiers, about 11 miles from Highlands, we stopped at Randevu. Salads, sandwiches and fish and chips all were great. From left, Katie, Madge and Cheryl.

We were somewhat puzzled, though, by the fact that these side-by-side signs spelled the name of the eatery two different ways! Hmmm.

When we did make it to Highlands, this cute water can man greeted us on the porch of our condo. Adorbs.

Someone had made a great start on a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle titled “The Merry Boatmen.”

Here’s Madge in the beautiful living room where we spent most of our “at home” time.

The screened in porch was just charming, though a little chilly at this time of year.

Cute squirrel on the breakfast table.

We enjoyed watching the geese on Harris Lake.

Loved the cocktail napkins Katie brought!

Katie got down to business with that puzzle!

We had made dinner reservations at Asia House. It was a perfect first night meal.

Katie had pad thai and really liked it.

My shrimp and vegetables were delicious, as well.

Then, back to the condo for a nightcap before we actually turned in early (for us)!

Saturday was fairly miserable. Temperatures were in the 40s all day with wind and rain. Brrrr.

But, you can’t keep a good woman down — or four of them! — so, off we went to shop at a few of our favorite places. Here are the “do not miss” stores we love in Highlands.

You must go to The Dry Sink for kitchenware, party ware, bath and body items and other things that make life so much more fun. Located on Main Street, The Dry Sink has been a Highlands mainstay for more than 45 years.

Probably the most famous Highlands landmark — located in the  heart of downtown — is the Old Edwards Inn. We walked in to try to get a Bloody Mary, but the bar didn’t open until 2. No matter. We knew we would be back for lunch the next day.

To get those Bloodies, we ended up at a sister property to the Old Edwards Inn. Located just down the street, Four65 Woodfire Bistro + Bar, is a charming spot.

We bellied up to the bar.

The Bloody Marys were excellent.

Here’s the stylish dining room.

The pizza ovens look like the one at A Dopo Pizza in Knoxville.

Here’s what they turn out! (A guy sitting beside us at the bar let us take a photo of his pizza.)

Time for more shopping. Katie and I got some great things at Acorns on 4th Street. Housewares, art and some clothes were the highlights.

And Katie got a cashmere sweater and three pair of gloves for $175 at McCulley’s, also on 4th Street.

I thought the best food of the trip was the dinner we had at Wild Thyme Gourmet, located in Town Square at 343 Main St.

First things first.

Cheryl had bacon-wrapped quail served on a bed of wilted spinach and honey sage balsamic reduction. She raved about it.

I chose the catch of the day: grilled mahi mahi with a ginger, garlic and fresh lime juice splash.

Selfie time!

Dessert was chocolate pate to share.

And some chocolate martinis!

Here’s the pretty dining room.

The open kitchen.

Last stop of the night was a fun bar called The Ugly Dog Public House. Its slogan is, “Come. Sit. Stay.” Ha.

Painting of the ugly dog.

We bought T-shirts!

Cute logo.

We worked all weekend on this darn puzzle. By the end of the trip, it looked pretty much the same as it did at the beginning — in spite of the fact that we found and placed 21 pieces. I’m telling you, it was hard!

For lunch on Sunday, it was back to the Old Edwards Inn to dine at the restaurant called Madison’s. They say their dining experience is “farm-to-fork.”

I ordered Manhattan clam chowder, one of my favorites.

But Katie had the best order of the day — a chicken salad sandwich that was over the top.

I just wanted to mention one other hit location of the trip.

If you can believe it, it is a grocery store: Mountain Fresh Grocery. But it’s the best grocery store on the planet, I think. It also contains a restaurant, a wine shop, a bakery, a bar and a pizzeria. We went there every day.

So, there you have it. Hop on over to Highlands!


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31 Responses to Looking for a weekend trip? Hop over to Highlands

  1. Charley Sexton, on January 20th, 2020 at 3:51 pm said:

    I love a good screened in porch. And that looks like a REALLY good one!

  2. Scott Schimmel, on January 20th, 2020 at 4:01 pm said:

    Great review!

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 4:02 pm said:

    Charley: It was a fantastic screened in porch! We kind of used it as a walk-in cooler due to the temperature!

  4. Lillian T Mashburn, on January 20th, 2020 at 4:08 pm said:

    no visit to the Stone Lantern? My favorite shop for my oriental craze. Lovely!

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 4:11 pm said:

    Lillian: Thanks! Will put it on the list for next time!

  6. Susan Sinclair, on January 20th, 2020 at 4:20 pm said:

    I have a t-shirt from The Ugly Dog! We went a few years ago for the wine festival and ended up there. My friend had the whole place singing “God bless America!”
    Looks like you gals had a fun time!!

  7. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 4:33 pm said:

    Susan: I hope I run into you when we both are wearing our shirts! We had a blast! Sounds like you did, too!

  8. Alan Carmichael, on January 20th, 2020 at 4:51 pm said:

    Looks like a fun weekend despite the weather. I am somehow reminded of Eric Church singing, “All you got to do is put a drink in my hand.”

  9. Gay Lyons, on January 20th, 2020 at 6:52 pm said:

    I love a girlfriends’ trip. This one sounds great. The food all looks great. When in Highlands, I have to go to Colonel Mustard’s. Is it still there? Surely it is. Been a while since we’ve been. I’m a sucker for a condiment.

    Hmm. Randevu v. Randuvu
    How did they pronounce it? Like Rendezvous?

  10. Steve. Carmichael, on January 20th, 2020 at 7:03 pm said:

    Great area ! Been to Cashiers. This blog makes me wish I was female so I could join in on MLK trip ! Looks like fun was had by all !

  11. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 7:38 pm said:

    Alan: Haha. Very funny.

    Gay: Hmm. Don’t know about Colonel Mustard’s. Would like to find it if it’s still there. As far as Rendevu, no idea how they pronounce. When you Google it, it seems to be a legitimate spelling, though I’ve never heard of it before.

    Steve: Maybe you could start a guys’ trip! Old Edwards Inn has a golf course affiliated with it. Then the girls and guys could meet (briefly) for a drink! We can’t have guys along. We talk about you too much!

  12. Joe pryse, on January 20th, 2020 at 8:00 pm said:

    Col. Mustard is still there

  13. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 8:02 pm said:

    Joe: Thanks! Will go next time.

  14. Cathy, on January 20th, 2020 at 8:58 pm said:

    I saw someone mentioned Stone Lantern. Sadly it closed recently. Was a favorite of mine for a long time. Dusty’s is another neat lil’ grocery store with the best meat and a nice bakery. Mountain Fresh has AWESOME breakfast (LOVE their french toast)!

  15. Cathy....again, on January 20th, 2020 at 9:04 pm said:

    Almost forgot (suprisingly)…..Bistro on Main (at The Main Street Inn), their Crab Grilled Cheese with Lobster Bisque AND their White Chocolate Puff Pastry are absolutely to die for!!!! (But they are usually closed for the winter)

  16. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 9:08 pm said:

    Cathy: THANKS for info!

  17. Carla Gates, on January 20th, 2020 at 9:26 pm said:

    Next time make sure and go to Midpoint and Bridge at Mill Creek. Wild Thyme has the best lunch in town! I’m lucky…I’ve lived in Highlands for 45 years. No place on Earth like it. ❤️

  18. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 9:30 pm said:

    Carla: No kidding! Lucky you! Will check out those spots next time. Wonder if they are open during off-season.

  19. Janet Jones, on January 20th, 2020 at 9:50 pm said:

    Mountain Fresh Grocery is a must! Madison’s is my fave, especially al fresco. Highlands is a perfect little town!♡

  20. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 10:11 pm said:

    Janet: Have to agree with all you said!

  21. Jill Duffy, on January 20th, 2020 at 10:11 pm said:

    My husband and I visited Highlands for his 60th birthday, and had a fabulous time. Such a quaint town. Restaurants, shops and the people are quite exceptional.

  22. Cynthia Moxley, on January 20th, 2020 at 11:28 pm said:

    Jill: I agree. Look forward to going again.

  23. Monique Anderson, on January 21st, 2020 at 7:31 am said:

    Anyone up for a girl’s trip? Would love to visit the Highlands

  24. Delphine, on January 21st, 2020 at 9:29 am said:

    Next time stop in at Satullah Mountain Brewery and say hi! We’d love to see you and have you taste some of our delicious beer. We are the first and only brewary in Highlands.

  25. Diandra Trotter, on January 21st, 2020 at 9:42 am said:

    The Stone Lantern did close. The owner passed away, and the shop only stayed open for about a year or more after his passing.
    Colonel Mustard’s is still in action, but with a new owner.
    Glad you gals had such a great time. Next time you’re in town, try The Blue Bike Cafe for a delicious breakfast or lunch!

  26. Cynthia Moxley, on January 21st, 2020 at 10:15 am said:

    Thanks for all the great info, everybody!

  27. Ellen Swann, on January 21st, 2020 at 8:57 pm said:

    Just moved to the area and never want to leave. Did you make it to Dusty Rhoads Superette? Best butcher ever. And a treasure trove in their freezers. Come back in the spring to go to Cashiers Market, August Produce. So many good restaurants in the area. Love my new home! I’m a lucky girl.

  28. Susan Calloway, on January 21st, 2020 at 10:24 pm said:

    Enjoyed your read! Did you hit “The Blue Bike” new this year for breakfast and lunch. It’s a welcomed addition to Highlands locals and visitors. On Carolina Way off 5th street, “Maritage” is one outstanding new restaurant. Again, Andrea Schmitt is treating us to a sparkling treat. Don’t miss this one on your next trip to Highlands

  29. Darlene, on January 22nd, 2020 at 6:16 am said:

    Visit Wolfgang’s for dinner on your next trip. It’s across from Four65. To enjoy the full menu viewed online, make sure to set reservations in advance. Otherwise, you can sit in their Bistro section with a limited menu. Chef *may* permit ordering from the main menu if the restaurant isn’t busy though. Their food is DELICIOUS from the bread to the dessert. SO much tastier than even the well-known restaurant Capital Grille!!!!! At Four65, hope to get Joel as your bartender. He makes superb drinks!!!! He also has a soft spot for rice krispy treats from Kilwins. Lol Kilwins is down by Thyme Gourmet. They make amazing ice cream, fudge, truffles, peanut brittle and more. So good! If staying or passing Franklin, NC to/from Highlands (15-20 min West), def stop by Motor Company Grill. It’s a diner with absolutely delicious food and MANY great Google reviews to back it up! My boyfriend and I fell in love with the Highlands and travel there as often as we can. I miss it already just reading this article and it’s only been a few weeks since we were there! Rofl! Enjoy your travels up there!!!!

  30. Cynthia Moxley, on January 22nd, 2020 at 10:27 am said:

    Thanks, everybody! Wolfgang’s was closed when we were there. But maybe our next visit will be at a different time of year. Love all the other suggestions, too.

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