The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Highlands NC.
Fall color with a touch of class

by Alexandra Edwards

Autumn in the Southeastern part of the country is probably the most beautiful season of all.  The climate is still warm and sunny, yet the air is fresher and skies much clearer than they were during the summer months. Surrounded by the scenic mountains of National Forests, the many colors of fall are a feast to the eyes.

One of the nicest scenic tours from Cleveland to view fall colors  is to take highway 64 East along the winding roads of the Cherokee National Forest. Follow the rippling rapids of the Ocoee River toward Murphy, North Carolina.  Remain on Hwy. 64,  follow the signs for Franklin through the majestic Nantahala National Forest. Once through Franklin, follow signs for Highlands, North Carolina.  Atop the Blue Ridge Mountains at a high elevation of 4118 feet, Highlands is the highest incorporated municipality east of the Mississippi.  This quaint  little town with a population of 2000 residents swells to over 25,000 residents during summer months. Over the years spured by this increase, plus  the booming vacation and short stay visitors trade, a selection of  unique shops, fine restaurants have opened. There are plenty of good hotels and bread and breakfast inns, and it is a great place for Bradley

Alexandra Edwards

Countians to spend the weekend.

Surrounded by picturesque waterfalls and mountain trails, the Highlands plateau is rich in natural beauty with many plant species which include white pine and Canadian hemlock conifers, oaks, hickories, red maple, tulip poplar, mountain magnolias, sweet and yellow birch, mountain ash and many more.  A great land bridge connects the plateau with the northern part of the North American continent, causing Canadian type plants to grow. The peak of the color season is  usually from October 10 to October 25. October being the busiest month of the year for Highland tourism.

The mountain town of Highlands was incorporated in 1879. According to the town's history information. Legend has it that the founder of the town, Samuel Truman took a map and drew a line from New York to New Orleans, then passed another line between Chicago and Savannah. He felt that the point of intersection (Highlands) would be the perfect spot to develop a prosperous town and vacation community.  Because of its ideal climate, clean air, and natural beauty, Highlands was promoted as a health retreat and summer resort.

In the 1920's the Cullasaja River was dammed to form Lake Sequoyah, providing hydroelectric power. The Highlands Country Club with it's fine Golf Course further enhanced the town's reputation.

The 1970's brought a sudden influx of multifamily homes and shopping centers, making real estate and home construction two of the town's top industries and Highlands has continued to grow. The downtown area has no chain stores, the shops have remained individual retaining its rustic charm.

Several scenic waterfalls surround Highlands. On Hwy. 64,  you will pass Dry Falls where the Cullasaja River projects over a cliff. You can actually walk behind the waterfall without getting wet, hence the name. Just go down the stone steps and follow the path.  Picturesque

Bridal Veil Falls is on the old Hwy. 64 where cars can drive underneath the falls. During the summer months, "Bust Your Butt Falls" is a popular swimming hole where brave swimmers can jump off a boulder into the Cullasaja River. Cullasaja Falls is hidden off the road a little and it is strongly advised to drive beyond the falls to a safe place to view or photograph this magnificent scenic view.

Glen Falls is located 1.7 miles from Highlands on Hwy. 106. Follow the signs for Glen Falls, turn left onto a dirt road, and drive 1.1 miles to the parking area. Glen Falls is composed of 3 falls dropping 640 feet. A foot trail descends 700 feet in one mile. The walk down is easy, but it the walk back up is fairly steep.

The quaint shops along busy Main Street, although a tad on the expensive side, do carry some unique gifts and the many boutiques are fun to browse for that special something. Highlands host many good restaurants from family eateries to fine dining.

What makes the town of Highlands even more charming is their unique liquor laws.  Most of the restaurants have wonderful wine lists, many boasting Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, however, they do not serve beer or liquor. Though brown bagging of beer or liquor is allowed in some restaurants, the serving of mixed drinks is only permitted by a select few.

Highlands is a wine lovers paradise. Good wine can be purchased in many of the shops and some of the hotels and inns offer their guests afternoon complementary wine and cheese socials as part of their service.

A local newspaper reported recently that the Town Board had agreed to place a liquor referendum on the November 6 ballot to allow all Highlands restaurants to serve beer and mixed drinks, stating it would see an increase in tax revenues from additional alcohol sales.

The Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center will be hosing  their "Culinary Weekend" from November 8 - 11th.  "Throughout the weekend Highlands many fine chefs will delight in showcasing their finest Epicurean presentations offered with perfectly matched wines," says Executive Director, Bob Kielyka. For tickets or more information call 866-526-5841.

Other upcoming events in the town of Highlands Include: October 5th, an Art and Wine Auction to benefit the fine arts center, October 12-13, Don't Count Your Chickens Show - Folk Art and more at the Highlands Conference Center, October 31, Downtown Trick or Treating, November 24, Tree lighting ceremony with Carols, Santa Claus and hot chocolate.

About half of the land in the Highlands area is privately owned, the rest is part of the Nantahala National Forest, and is open for hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, and other outdoor activities.  The majestic natural scenic views of the The Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway that surround Highlands, give evidence that you truly are right in the middle of God's country.

Enjoy Fall at its best, head for the mountains.