When I arrived at the High Hampton Inn, I felt like I was stepping onto the set of Dirty Dancing, and guess what? I was! ABC’s upcoming TV adaptation of the classic movie was filmed there, and much of what gave “Kellerman’s” its distinctive old-time charm and family appeal makes up the big beating heart of the High Hampton Inn.
It’s all about family and the simple pleasures of life.
The historic family-friendly resort located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains is largely unplugged, so you won’t see televisions in the guest rooms, and the WiFi and cell phone reception is spotty or non-existent, so you’ll find yourself soaking up the mountain scenery, swimming and boating at the lake, or even relaxing in a rocking chair on the porch.
Like I said… it’s about the simple life. But, for those who simply can’t disconnect completely, there’s WiFi in the main lodge along with a television.
Speaking of the main lodge, it’s the epicenter of the entire resort, and it’s where you can discover the various activities taking place each day. People love to come in for the daily afternoon tea, to sit by the fireplace, play parlor games or just relax and read. It’s a wonderful gathering area!
And so is that porch I mentioned. Who doesn’t love rockers, especially red ones?!!
There were rocking chairs outside my cottage too! How serene and peaceful is this setting?
Speaking of accommodations, they range from 116 guest rooms and suites in the main inn to cottages throughout the property and 32 private rental homes in the surrounding areas. I stayed in the Halsted cottage, and it had the most amazing handcrafted rustic mountain furnishings.
I left my windows open night and day for some natural mountain air conditioning, but there were fans in the room had I needed them.
And I have to mention that it was completely quiet when I was sleeping. No noise whatsoever. So restful! And that also reminds me that there were no mosquitoes or gnats, people. Do you hear me? None. I’m not just talking about when I was there; I’m talking about ever. Mountain magic perhaps?
High Hampton Inn Highlights
Hiking – There are eight different hiking trails within the 1,400 acres of the High Hampton Inn & Country Club. You can hike to the summits of Rock Mountain and Chimney Top, hike the fitness trail, or take one of the paths that encircle the lake. There are 15 miles of options! (Directions to nearby waterfalls are available in the lobby too.)
Hampton Lake – This was a key setting during the filming of Dirty Dancing, as it’s so full of character. The boat house is amazing! Families have access to canoes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and paddleboats. Of course, swimming is also a favorite activity here.
Dahlia Garden – The dahlias are simply stunning! The original bulbs for the dahlias were purchased in England around 1894, and they continue to plant them in the spring, and dig them up in the fall. They’ve been doing this for 106 years! The best part is that guests are encouraged to cut blooms to put in their rooms and also cut them to bring home before they leave. High Hampton Inn also hosts an elegant “Dining in the Dahlias” dinner each year.
Champion Tree Trail – The stewardship of the property is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Pick up a tree identification sheet in the lobby, and walk outside where you’ll see dozens of champion trees of all kinds. It’s remarkable! Find the Copper Beech, Bottlebrush Buckey, Bald Cyprus, Frasier Fir and Ginkgo tree among others.
Miniature donkeys – Ed and Fred have been there 30 years and give donkey cart rides for kids on Saturday mornings on the side lawn where the champion trees reside.
Llamas – During the summer season, llamas visit on Thursdays for lake trail hikes, a meet and greet and the llama Olympics. They visit again on Saturdays for two or three lake trail hikes. After Labor Day, they visit for special occasions only.
Lawn Activities – Lawn games are always available for guests, so enjoy a game of croquet, bocce, corn toss, tetherball, volleyball, badminton or practice your putting.
Laurel Garden – This magical little hideaway is tucked back in a wooded section of the property with stunning mountain and lake views, and it has a wonderful stone fireplace for ambiance and warmth on chilly evenings. It’s often used for picnicking in the daytime and private events at night.
Spa & Health Club – I’ve been to the High Hampton Inn Spa twice, once for a head and neck treatment and most recently for a foot massage. I have to tell ya, my feet still feel better than they have in years, and my latest massage was a month ago.
Rock Climbing Wall – You’ll find this just outside the spa and health club building, and although my newly massaged feet didn’t climb it, I’ll bet it’s tons of fun!
Children’s Program – During the summer, there’s an amazing daily program available for kids of all ages. There are 15 counselors on staff including lifeguards and boat house workers.
Golf, Tennis and Fishing – On my first visit to High Hampton Inn, I took a fly fishing lesson and although I never quite got the hang of it, I loved it! If you get the chance, try it on the pretty little lake by the honeymoon cottage. It has a peninsula extending out into the water, and it’s perfect for fly fishing! Tennis courts are also available for use, and for golfers, there’s a full 18-holes.
Dining – Guests have the option of adding on a full American meal plan to their stay (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Every meal is served buffet-style, and the menu changes daily. Water and iced tea are included, and soda and alcohol are available for an extra charge.
The High Hampton Inn has a rich 94-year history steeped in generations of families who visit year after year, and nowhere is this more evident than in the dining room where guests are assigned a table for the duration of their visit. The placement of their table is determined by the seniority of how long they’ve been visiting the resort. The greater the seniority, the better the view.
Another perk to visiting annually is that it gives you first right of refusal for the room or cabin you stayed in for those exact dates in the upcoming year.
I hope you’re able to tell from this post just how unique a family destination the High Hampton Inn is. There’s nothing else like it out there. According to general manager Clifford Meads, “It’s who we’ve been and who we are, and it doesn’t change over time.”
I left for home in the early morning hours, and turned back to see the cozy glow of lights within the lodge. This is one special place, y’all. I’m going to miss it.
Tip: Because cell phone and GPS reception is spotty, print out your driving directions before you go. Also be aware that the roads leading into Cashiers are very winding and slow-going. It’s a beautiful drive though, and there are many waterfalls worth stopping to see in the area. (Look for an upcoming post about them.)
Visit the website for more information on the High Hampton Inn in Cashiers, North Carolina.
A huge thank you to the High Hampton Inn for hosting me. All opinions are my own.