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.
Dessert was chocolate pate to share.
And some chocolate martinis!
Here’s the pretty dining room.
The open kitchen.
Painting of the ugly dog.
We bought T-shirts!
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!