High Hampton Melds Mountain Magic, Southern Charm

Multi-gen N.C. getaway gives sophisticated summer camp vibes

By Diana Oates

As a North Carolinian born and raised, I can say that you are born into one of two tribes: It’s the beach people versus the mountain people.

I was born into the beach people posse, and it wasn’t until I moved to Dallas that I started to hear about the beautiful benefits of vacationing in western North Carolina.

A yearning to get eyes on my son’s summer camp ultimately inspired a trip to the land of laid-back luxury that is High Hampton Resort.

The recently polished property, brought back to life by the Beall family (Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain), is just outside the quaint town of Cashiers on a plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Checking in immediately sparked something within me that can only be described as North Carolina nostalgia. I, feeling like a 10-year-old kid again, was suddenly back in this bucolic Blue Ridge retreat with my own family, who were all deciding what activity to embark on first.

The interiors are elevated but authentic, and it truly seemed like we were checking into our own private place.

The 1,400-acre estate has 15 miles of hiking trails, tennis and pickleball courts, and a croquet lawn. The Tom Fazio 18-hole golf course is a fan favorite among fathers, and the pool and kids’ club are hot spots for youngsters. There were daily fitness classes, book signings, and even fishing.

However, it was the dining program that set this place apart from other local lodging options.  

We ate all our meals at the same table and got to know the staff as if they were an extension of our family. We bonded with Bailey, our sweet server, who handled waiting on a 2, 4, and 7-year-old with grace and grit. Clayton, the gregarious dining room manager, even took my son in the back to see how his delicious dinner was made.

I was impressed, but not necessarily surprised, to see fabulous farm-to-table options on the menu for adults — think farm-fresh egg omelets with goat cheese and a garden salad for breakfast and Simpson Farm’s flat iron steak with parsnip puree and grilled squash for supper — but it was the thoughtful and downright delicious kids’ menu that won me over. During a short stay, my kids tried fish and chips, Springer Mountain chicken with vegetable medley, and Charleston rice, and house-made tagliatelle.

Don’t have adventurous eaters? Don’t worry; the tea-brined chicken tenders were to die for.

High Hampton Inn has inns, cottages, cabins, and houses to suit all party sizes. It is an ideal place to unwind before or after taking your kiddos to camp in the North Carolina mountains, which more and more Texans are choosing to do to escape the severe summer heat.

While it is true that you’ll need to rent a car from Asheville, Greenville, or Atlanta to visit this relaxing retreat, the drive to your destination is indeed part of the experience.

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