The Height of Romance

Beyond the Peach State

Photos courtesy of Old Edwards Hospitality Group

There’s nothing like a shared experience to bring you closer to the one you love. And, while spontaneity is always special, a planned adventure can offer just as much intrigue and romance.

In Highlands, North Carolina, Old Edwards Inn and Spa takes the chill off of a winter weekend and brings the heat to a romantic mountain escape for two.

Old Edwards Hospitality Group accommodations include three distinct hotels, plus vacation homes, cottages or cabins. The upscale Old Edwards Inn and Spa is a European-style resort with guest rooms, suites and cottages; high-end amenities and music and dining venues.

The rustic-luxe Half-Mile Farm is surrounded by 14 acres of fields, forests, and streams; a forest trail and a six-acre lake.

200 Main offers many of the stylish touches found at Old Edwards Inn, but at casual-lodging rates.

Winter Retreat

Romance is always in the fresh mountain air at Old Edwards Inn, and a pair of winter packages make it the perfect place for couples to get away for some “us” time.

With the Romantic Mountain Escape package, lovebirds can enjoy an unforgettable stay of luxury and indulgence. Think outdoor Jacuzzis that are open year-round, seasonally heated mineral pools, a glass of bubbly upon arrival, Molton Brown Bath and Body amenities, luxurious robes and slippers, multiple fireplaces around the property and heated marble bathroom floors.

The package includes two-night deluxe accommodations for two at Old Edwards Inn, a three-course dinner for two in any Old Edwards food and beverage outlet one evening, two $100 spa credits and, of course, champagne and strawberries.

The Winter Slip Away & Save package is available Sunday – Thursday, excluding holidays, through March 30. The package includes two nights for two at Old Edwards Inn, where guests can enjoy all of its renowned amenities as well.

This weekday package also includes two 50-minute spa treatments and an intimate, three course dinner for two in any Old Edwards Restaurant one evening.

Spa appointments and dinner reservations must be made at the time of booking to ensure availability.

The world-class European-style spa includes saunas, steam rooms, nail and hair services, fireside lounge, whirlpools, 14-head Swiss showers, spa café and serenity solarium.

In addition to the award-winning spa, the property offers a fitness center featuring state of the art equipment, 45- to 60-minute classes, 90-minute hikes and personal training; live music on Friday and Saturday nights; gift shop and an outdoor ice skating rink during the season.

Dining options showcase the flavors of western North Carolina. At the farm-to-table Madison’s Restaurant, guests can sample local trout and cuts of meat and pair the dishes with selections from an extensive wine list. Exclusive breakfast hours are available for Old Edwards Inn guests.

Hummingbird Lounge and Library features light fare, lunch, dinner, hand-crafted cocktails, wine and craft beer in an elegant, yet informal, setting.

Offering morning coffee to Old Edwards Inn hotel guests, Art’s at the Lodge lets them start their day on the wrap-around porch that overlooks the croquet lawn. With its stone fireplaces, the rustic venue also is the perfect place to ease into the evening hours with hand-crafted cocktails and bar snacks.

One Day to Play

The hospitality group also recommends an itinerary for those who have only “one day to play.”

After waking up mountain-morning style with freshly ground coffee, guests can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains on a scenic hike at Whiteside Mountain, Sunset Rock or Glen Falls.

As one of America’s landmarks along the Eastern Continental Divide, the Whiteside Mountain Trail rises to an elevation of 4,930 feet and features a moderate 2-mile round trip trail to the summit.

Hikers can get a bird’s eye view of Highlands from the top of Sunset Rock. Glen Falls Trail descends about 700 feet, and to add to the ambiance, hikers can hear the falls from most points along the trail.

Outdoor lovers also can take a photo-op tour of sequential easy-access waterfalls such as Bridal Veil Falls or Dry Falls.

The 120-foot Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most unusual and popular falls in the South. During cold spells, the spray creates a large mound of ice at its base. If the weather stays cold long enough, then the falls form a giant column of ice.

Dry Falls is part of a series of waterfalls on an 8.7-mile stretch of the Cullasaja River in Nantahala National Forest. Because the waterfall flows over an overhanging bluff, hikers can walk under the falls and remain relatively dry when the waterflow is low.

Scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway and other mountain roads are popular as well.

Highlands is a mecca for the creative arts, and visitors can meander through the downtown shops and galleries before stopping for lunch at Wild Thyme Gourmet or Midpoint, ice cream at Kilwins in Town Square, a pint at Ugly Dog Public House or wine tasting at Highlands Wine Shoppe.

For more information, visit

By Morgan Davis