THE SOUTH LURES in travelers with her fresh mountain air, spectacular views, gorgeous greenspace, mouth-watering food, wineries and unique attractions. Georgia and North Carolina are home to several charming bed-and-breakfasts, posh resorts, lovely towns and a list of fun-filled alfresco adventures.
We handpicked a list of nearby mountain towns that are rich in culture and history and are the perfect destinations to create lasting memories this summer. Choose between high-status mountain towns that make you feel as though you’re vacationing in Europe with their first-class accommodations and bevy of high-end amenities/activities or affordable, familyfriendly mountain escapes.
Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Drive: 3 hours
Known as the “land of the waterfalls,” Lake Toxaway, North Carolina is home to over 250 waterfalls, including Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains with a 400-foot drop. This pristine mountain resort community is also known as the “Switzerland of America” since it’s been a favorite vacation destination for wealthy travelers, including the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Firestones, for hundreds of years.
Rich in history and culture, the town has preserved historical buildings now listed on the National Register of Historic Places for Transylvania County, including Hillmont, E. M. Backus Lodge and Lake Toxaway Methodist Church. There are several shopping and dining options, from boutiques and sophisticated restaurants to casual cafes and gift shops. And the town is in a great location —not far from Brevard, the Highlands and Asheville.
Lake Toxaway’s premier resort is The Greystone Inn. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains and on the exclusive shores of Lake Toxaway, the largest private lake in North Carolina, The Greystone Inn is surrounded by the infinite beauty of Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest and close to Rainbow Falls. The Greystone Inn was the vision of socialite Lucy Armstrong, who often vacationed here with her husband, George. She wanted a vacation home reminiscent of the Swiss mountain chalets she saw during her Europe trips, and George made this a reality. The original structure was built in 1915 and named Hillmont.
This luxurious waterfront golf resort features upscale rooms and suites housed in a 1915 mansion and two lakeside buildings appointed with exquisite vintage-inspired furnishings, fireplaces (in most rooms), wet bars, whirlpool tubs and balconies/patios with breathtaking views of the lake. The Restaurant at The Greystone serves exceptional seasonal fare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, coupled with stunning views of the lake and mountains. The property also houses the Mansion Bar and a spa and offers a list of recreational activities.
The Greystone Inn
Drive: 1 hour
No need to cross the pond to experience a space that embodies English charm—simply travel to North Georgia’s historic high country. Adairsville is a charming town with a renewed downtown lined with beautiful historic homes, quaint antique shops and upscale dining. The area boasts hiking trails, museums and Cloudland Canyon State Park, which has stunning waterfalls, wildlife, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The mountain views, fresh air, water features, endless greenery and bountiful gardens will have you marveling at Mother Nature’s beauty.
Adairsville is also home to the renowned Barnsley Resort, a luxury resort situated on 3,000 scenic acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Barnsley Resort offers travelers a taste of the English countryside. Founded by Godfrey Barnsley, this Southern estate was a gift to his beloved wife, Julia, two centuries ago. Inspired by British architect Edwin Lutyens, who is known for designing English country homes at the turn of the 20th century, the grounds house a three-story inn, cottages and an English-inspired village, as well as Manor House Ruins and gardens.
Upon entering the inn, you are welcomed with hardwood floors, a grand staircase, exposed beams and a cozy fireplace. The private, exclusive cottages boast old-world charm seen in the fireplaces and clawfoot bathtubs. All cottage rooms and suites feature luxe comforts, including private porches. There are 55 guest rooms and suites in the inn (totaling 140 rooms), a spa, a farm, onsite restaurants, an 1,800-acre hunting preserve, an 18-hole Jim Fazio-designed golf course and a long list of coveted amenities and services.
The adventures to experience here are plentiful, and include horseback riding, archery, air rifles, ax-throwing and disc golf…to name a few. Barnsley Resort is a gorgeous sanctuary that has everything one could want –nature, history, and unrivaled beauty – and is the perfect escape for a romantic getaway, a golf trip, or a family vacation.
Highlands, North Carolina
Drive: 2.5 hours
Highlands, North Carolina was named Travel + Leisure’s 2023 Best Small Mountain Town in America. Nestled in the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains, this charming mountain town has infinite natural beauty – waterfalls, forests, rivers, and lots of hiking trails to take it all in. Beautiful every season, this area especially attracts visitors during the fall as the foliage is breathtaking this time of year. A popular spot with affluent travelers since it was established in 1875, downtown Highlands boasts luxurious accommodations, elevated dining, posh, small-town charm, and is pedestrian friendly. Throughout the year, Highlands hosts a list of events and festivals. This fall, there is the town’s outdoor concert series on Friday and Saturday nights (May-October) and Highlands Food & Wine Festival, “dedicated to the celebration of food, wine, music, and culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains” in November.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa, which encompasses several acres of downtown Highlands, is the preferred hotel in this area. Formerly Highlands’ first boardinghouse, today, this luxurious mountaintop resort is a breathtaking haven steeped in dreamy European style. Guest rooms, spa suites, cottages and cabin rentals are appointed with period-style furnishings, sumptuous Italian bedding, heated marble bathroom floors, fireplaces, private patios and more. The award-winning Relais & Chateaux property has everything one needs to feel well taken care of, including an extravagant spa (Condé Nast rated them the “Top Hotel Spa in North America”), a couple of restaurants that serve farm-fresh fare, a Tom Jackson-designed golf course, three pools, a lovely wine garden and quaint shops.
This serene property fosters rest and relaxation and is the perfect setting for either a ladies’ spa getaway or a romantic vacation.