When you book your stay at one of Cashiers' quaint bed and breakfasts, you may as well book ahead for next autumn. And the next. And probably the next 10. Because once you inhale the crisp mountain air and feel the spray from the region's waterfalls, the region's spell will be unbreakable.
- Compiled by staff writer Kate Harrison, email@example.com, 423-757-6673
BEST THINGS TO DO
Swimming holes and holes-in-one
• Nearby Whitewater Falls is higher than Niagra Falls, and at 411 feet, it is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States.
• At nearby "Bust Your Butt Falls" in Gorges State Park you can careen down the sloping falls in a tube.
• Of the 20 golf courses spanning from Lake Toxaway to Highlands, five are in Cashiers - including the only two open to the public: High Hampton Inn and Sapphire National.
• Take a scenic drive through Cullasaga Gorge or through Horse Cove.
Source: Cashiers Area Travel and Tourism
CHECKING INTO CASHIERS
• Population: 3,000, but the village's population more than triples during the summer.
• Biggest employer: High Hampton Inn and Country Club; building and maintenance industries.
• Number of miles from downtown Chattanooga: 170.
• Geographic landmarks: The town is surrounded by the Nantala National Forest. Nearby rivers include the Chattooga, Ocoee and Nantahala rivers, along with the lesser-known Whitewater, Hogback and Horsepasture rivers.
• Founded: Settlements were first built in the 1820s. The village is still not incorporated.
• History: Prior to an 1819 treaty with the Cherokee Nation, the Cashiers area was a hunting and feeding ground in Indian territory. Homesteaders started trickling in during the 1820s, but after the Civil War more prominent families from South Carolina's Low Country began arriving, making the area an exclusive mountain resort site.
• Famous residents: Winston Groom, author of "Forrest Gump," lived in Cashiers for a time. Actor and comedian Steve Martin has a home in the nearby Lake Toxaway area.
• Fun fact: There's disagreement about where Cashiers' name originates. Some say it was the surname of a prospector, while others claim it was drawn from a prize horse or bull.
• Cashiers Mountain Music Festival, held over the Fourth of July weekend, has featured bluegrass legends like Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, along with a wide range of other mountain music performers.
• Leaf-lookers who travel up to the area in the Fall should time their visit around the Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, which usually occurs in early October. Music, craft vendors, hay rides and tree farm tours help visitors make the most of Autumn.
Source: Cashiers Area Travel and Tourism
BEST KEPT SECRET
Bucket list view
• Climbing up Whiteside Mountain, Cashier's best-known mountain is often on visitors' to-do lists, but finding a good spot to take in the mountain itself is just as important.
• Take the scenic drive down Whiteside Cove Road, which connects NC Hwy 107 with Horse Cove. And bring a camera. If you're lucky, you may get to see one of the peregrine falcons that makes its home on the bluffs.
• Access Little Sliding Rock or hiking trails from the road, or keep driving to see rare views of the mountain.
Source: Cashiers Area Travel and Tourism, Stay And Play in the Smokies
BEST PLACE IN TOWN TO EAT
Full spread at Cornucopia - Don't leave Cashiers without swinging up Highway 107 and stopping for a spell on the breezy open deck of Cornucopia, the village's trademark restaurant.
• Cornucopia features plenty of signature sandwiches, including a fried green tomato sandwich and the Wade Hampton's Downfall. That monster of a sandwich - named for the Confederate general whose family once lived in the area - is a triple-decker packed with turkey, havarti cheese, sprouts and tomato on pumpernickel bread.
• If the giant sandwiches don't finish you off, top off the evening with one of Cornucopia's famous buttermilk pies or fresh peach and berry cobblers.
• Cornucopia's building, constructed in 1892, is itself a Cashiers landmark. It served as a general store, a school, a post office, a tack shop and a home before becoming Cornucopia in 1979.