If you are looking to spend some time unplugged in the mountains of western North Carolina with cool breeze, relaxation or activities to do, High Hampton Inn should be on your list. It’s a fairly easy 3-ish hour drive from the Northern Suburbs of Atlanta and is stunningly beautiful and picturesque. We found ourselves constantly saying we felt like we were in the movie Dirty Dancing. As it turns out, on a tour, we were told that they recently filmed a remake of the movie and High Hampton Inn and Country Club was the new Kellerman’s. Just like Dirty Dancing, at High Hampton Inn, Cashiers there is almost a non-existent cell signal and wireless only in the lobby of the Inn.
The High Hampton is as close as I’ve ever been to an all-inclusive resort within the US. The High Hampton Inn rates, when on the Full American Plan, include your room with a private bathroom and all three meals (buffet style with a ton of variety), with a no tipping policy.
(The view from our room window).
Mr. Serious wanted to share from his perspective, too: “I was honestly not ready for another vacation. I was having a little vacation fatigue after going on a week-long cruise with the family. But, when Krystyn wants to go – well, we’re going! I appreciate Krystyn’s boldness and willingness to adventure, but usually the appreciation comes a little later, like once we’re there. I worked from home that day and we headed out to the High Hampton Inn. Cashiers, NC wasn’t too far away. We left around 2 pm from the Atlanta area, and made it to the resort in about 3.5 hours, not bad. I had never heard of this place, and didn’t really know what to expect.
Well here’s what to expect (presented in condensed from by Mr. Serious. See more detail further down):
• Cooler temperatures – Compared to Atlanta, High Hampton Inn North Carolina was about 10 degrees cooler – thank goodness. In fact, in the morning, we were all wearing our jackets and sweaters.
• All the food and desserts you can handle – Classy buffet spreads of Southern favorites, like squash casserole and Mac & Cheese were great – along with great, homemade desserts like cakes, pies and cobblers. All included with the meal plan! Also, there is tea time.
• Fun! – a Great Lake with boating (non-motorized) and fishing, plus great hiking trails, golf, tennis and proximity to beautiful waterfalls.
At High Hampton Inn, there is the Inn is a Southeast rustic mountain inn that offers 116 guest rooms and suites in their main lodge (also known as the Inn) and a selection of charming cottages that are available for rental with or without the meal plan. The 17 cottages can sleep a number of people, from a family, to a family reunion with several families ranging from 1 bedroom to 17 bedrooms. They can accommodate pretty much any size group!
Our room featured two queen-sized beds, a rustic desk and chair, a sitting chair and we had a rollaway bed.
We also brought a pack n play to allow all six of us to sleep in one room. Check out 365 Atlanta Family to see their High Hampton Inn Reviews (including the pictures of the Suite they stayed in). Notice, this room does not have a huge television. In fact, it doesn’t have a television at all. Remember, you are unplugging near the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is a television in the lobby of the Inn if you must watch.
Also, there is no air conditioning in the Inn. That’s right. No AC. But guess what? There was only like a 30 minute period where I wished they had it and that was because we just moved all of our bags and “stuff” into the room.
Once we set up the box fan and turned on the ceiling fan, we were good to go. At night, it was actually cool in the room. In July! We weren’t in our room much because of all of the activities in which we could participate, except a nap for the littles and even then, it was very comfortable! While it wasn’t necessary for us, when things start to cool off and High Hampton Inn NC is still accessible in the winter, there are heaters in the rooms.
Stay busy with activities on-site.
Near the hostess stand of the restaurant, you would find a table with a set of binders and various activities. If you wanted to participate, you would place your name on the list and show up at the desired time and place.
You would also find a daily schedule full of activities from which you could choose to participate. Or, you could do a plethora of other activities on site that didn’t require sign up or planning. Both the Inn and all of the Cottages are within easy walking distance of dining, golf, tennis, the private 35-acre Hampton Lake, hiking trails and family and children’s activity centers. We parked our car in a lot and left it the entire weekend. It’s not necessary at all. They do have golf cart rentals available for those that call for medical needs.
Our girls were glued to Hampton Lake for most of our visit. We didn’t even get to explore half of what High Hampton Inn NC had to offer.
Hampton Lake offered rentals of the any non-motorized boat equipment you could think of as well as swimming and we tried it all.
We went paddle boating with all of the kids. They had lifejackets available for all ages, so we didn’t need to worry about bringing them for the water. They also had towels available at the lake.
We learned that our girls are quite good with oars as they had a great time kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding.
When we could get them off of the “boats” they had a great time swimming in the lake. There were parts sectioned off for different ages and swimming abilities.
Of course, the grown-ups had a great time playing in the lake, too.
We didn’t get a chance to go fishing, but word is that the stocked lake has some good catches to be found.
If you are looking for some on-land fun, it’s just a couple steps away. There is a great ropes-course like playground near the lake as well as one just behind it with swings and tetherball. Near the “Noah’s Arc” children’s area, there is another full play set. We didn’t take advantage of the kids camps, but the girls could have done art camps, water camps and more. The camps were available during the weekends with sign ups on the table near the hostess stand.
We definitely have to plan another trip, because in addition to the activities we did do, there were a ton more that we weren’t able to fit in.
They also offer:
- Table tennis
- Board games
- Bocce ball
If you want to get a little more exercise and move around, you can also take some time at the spa and fitness center, or go on one of the many hikes at High Hampton. Cashiers, North Carolina and the surrounding area also offer more hikes that you will find below
The Hiking Trails around High Hampton Inn are abundant. We did part of the Lake Trail and wondered in and out of covered woods and the golf course before the girls were done and wanted to go back to the lake. The trails range in length from .1 miles to Rock Mountain Trail that is 4.2 miles long. You can also hike up the mountain as well. You can grab a map at the front desk that will cover both hiking trails at High Hampton as well as trails in the nearby and surrounding areas.
There is also a Llama Hike that I can’t wait to go back and check out. We were scheduled to try one, but unfortunately, the llama truck broke down and didn’t make it in time. This is what the girls had say about that.
Fortunately, there is a short walk to visit the donkeys, so they were okay with missing out on the llama this time!
The activities keep going well into the evenings. There were people hitting golf balls into Hampton Lake hoping to hit it into a small square of water as well as activities like horse races with the kids which the girls loved!
Be sure to take a lot of family pictures when you are all dressed up and looking good and venture down to the phone booths where your children will ask you quizzically what exactly a phone booth is.
With little escapes all over the resort, it’s hard to not find yourself totally relaxed in this resort that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places which has welcomed guests since 1922!
And, of course, get your family on the lawn in front of the lake and the mountain and get another good picture there!
Meals and Snacks.
High Hampton’s Full American Plan includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the first day of your check-in, you will start with Afternoon Tea. There are sandwiches, cookies, cakes, treats, lemonade, iced tea and more. Everyday at 4pm, you will find yourself drawn to the lobby to partake in afternoon tea, play a board game, or just relax on the amazing porch.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are buffet style in the dining room. The meals include classy buffet spreads of Southern favorites, like squash casserole and Mac & Cheese were great as well as made to order stir fry – along with great, homemade desserts like cakes, pies and cobblers. Breakfast includes pancakes, local sausages and bacons, muffins, waffles, an omelette bar and more. Lunch and dinner include a great salad bar with many items grown right in the High Hampton Inn gardens.
The buffet meals take place during set hours, but you are free to dine during that meal window at your leisure. Your very first meal, they will take you to your table which will be your family or group’s table for the duration of your visit. Make sure to take note that there is a dress code for dinner and men must wear a coat and tie for dinner and ladies must also dress accordingly. One day, the temperatures were higher than normal and we were told that the dress code was relaxed and me could just wear a button up shirt for dinner. Included in meals is water, lemonade, tea and coffee, but you can order adult beverages or sodas at any meal. Just ask your server.
During non-meal times, as part of the High Hampton Inn Country Club offering, you can walk over to the Hampton Market where they serve made to order sandwiches, panini and salads. You can also grab a drink or snack as well. This was the perfect snack and break with our two oldest girls while the youngest two napped.
Once everybody was awake, we headed to Rock Mountain Tavern downstairs at the Inn because dinner didn’t start until 6:30pm. You can grab mixed drinks, beer and wine from 5-10pm and easily charge them to your room while enjoying live music and / or sitting on the outside patio. Before 6:30pm, the dress is casual but after requires coat and tie.
After dinner, we would go back down to Rock Mountain Tavern with the children (who were welcome) to enjoy live music, dancing and and family time. It was loud enough that you could sing along if you wanted to, but quiet enough that you could still have a private conversation.
Nearby side trips and waterfalls.
We left after breakfast on Sunday morning so we could slowly make our way back to Atlanta and check out some of the area’s waterfalls. We didn’t see half of what Cashiers and surrounding cities had to offer.
Just a few miles away from the resort is Veil Falls. While the road is closed to cars driving under it, you can take a walk under the falls and feel the cool water.
Just a few more miles down the winding mountain roads is Dry Falls. It’s not a long walk to an amazing view of a waterfall that you can walk behind without getting wet.
A little further away is Tallulah Falls. There is a small park admission to get in, but it is more than worth it. We only walked to a couple overlooks and that were clearly marked and offered amazing views. For these overlooks, the kids very easily walked it.
We decided to push a little more to get to the suspension bridge which meant we had to walk down 310 stairs. The way down isn’t too bad, but the way back up is quite a challenge. There are places to take a break along the way.
After seeing pictures, we’ve already had a number of family and friends ask us more about High Hampton Inn and the North Carolina areas. I know we will be back as there is so much more to do and see!
From Mr. Serious: “I loved the relaxed atmosphere and pace of High Hampton. Think the opposite of the frenetic, worrisome, sweaty pace of a place in Florida that people like to visit. Have an early dinner, grab a drink from the bar, then hang out in the moonlight on the lawn or walk down by the lake, or relax in the rocking chairs on the veranda. Ahhhh! For this guy, who grew up in Houston, TX, which is one of the flattest and sweatiest places on earth, High Hampton great place and a cool breeze of relaxation. Try it out for yourself.”
Thank you to High Hampton Inn for hosting our family. All thoughts are my own.
What do you think of High Hampton Inn? Are you ready to go?