Cashiers: The heart of Blue Ridge

Cashiers: The heart of Blue Ridge

August 28th, 2016 by Compiled by Joan Garrett McClane in Glimpse 2016

The annual Cashiers Mountain Music Festival is held every year on the July 4 holiday in the center of Cashiers.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Silver Run Falls.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Cashiers is a picturesque village tucked into the mountains of southwestern North Carolina where breathtaking waterfalls and soaring views have been captivating tourists for decades. Aside from the the wealth of activities available to outdoor enthusiasts, the locale offers rich cultural offerings, as well as a variety of dining and shopping options.

The "Crossroads" at U.S. 64 and N.C. 107 connects the mountain community to nearby towns, and the village's year-round mild weather makes it a great getaway for any season.

More Info

*MOUNTAIN MECCA
*Cashiers (pronounced cash-ers) is an unincorporated village in the south of Jackson County that was founded when Col. Jack A. Zachary discovered the area with his son in 1832. Locals say the village was named after a horse owned by the area’s second settler, James McKinney. As the story goes, McKinney paid a high price for a white stallion which he named Cash, but when it was time for the family to move its horses and cattle for the winter, Cash could not be found. When the family returned to the area in the spring, however, the stallion returned to them healthy, leading McKinney to name the area “Cash’s Valley.”

  • Population: Cashiers is a small unincorporated village with a year-round population of 2,000. But that number fluctuates greatly, depending on seasonal tourism.
  • Best thing to do: Explore the Blue Ridge Mountains, the easternmost front of the Appalachian Mountains, while staying in Cashiers. One of the most popular hikes near the village is a 2-mile trek on Whiteside Mountain, where extraordinary mountaintop views await. A 10-mile round-trip hike to the top of Yellow Mountain requires more effort, but is just as rewarding. Another natural draw is the Panthertown Valley, called the “Yosemite of the East.”
  • Geographic features: About 60 miles from Asheville, Cashiers sits along scenic Highway 64 and is elevated 3,500 feet in the center of the Nantahala National Forest. Mountain peaks rising 5,000 feet surround the village, and a heavy annual precipitation of around 75 inches keeps the local rivers and waterfalls flowing.
  • Most famous resident: Property in Cashiers costs a pretty penny since it is a popular second-home locale for the well-off. World-famous tennis star Andy Roddick and his wife, model/actress Brooklyn Decker, are among the seasonal homeowners in the area.
  • Unique traditions: High Hampton Inn is a historic hotel situated on a 1,400-acre playground, and every afternoon from 4-5 p.m., vacationers are invited to enjoy tea, coffee and homemade cakes while relaxing beside the fireplace or rocking on the inn’s front porch.
  • Fun fact: Known as “The Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” Cashiers sits in the south of Jackson County and boasts hundreds of waterfalls, still lakes and rock climbing opportunities. And thanks to this unique geography, the local temperature is generally 20 degrees cooler during the summer months than elsewhere in the Southeast.

*Source: Crossroads Chronicle; Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce

More Info

*MOUNTAINTOP EXCURSIONS
*Just about anyone can find a way to let loose and explore in and around Cashiers. An array of activities sure to delight the entire family is right at your fingertips, from fly-fishing to golfing.

  • Charter a boat for a fishing trip or a boat tour on Lake Glenville with Doctor’s Orders, which offers guided fishing trips, sunset cruises, waterfall tours and pleasure boating for up to five guests year-round. Or rent a pontoon boat from Lakeshore Pontoon Rentals. Knee boarding and tube rentals are available and pets are allowed onboard for an additional fee. For more information go to lakeshorepontoons.com.
  • Enjoy championship-designed courses and spectacular views while you work on your swing. Cashiers offers public and private golf courses to suit any budget. The area’s public courses include High Hampton Inn and Country Club and Sapphire National Golf Club, which both offer 18-hole courses, as well as the Red Bird Golf Links.
  • Cashiers boasts some of the most beautiful hikes in the South, and there are plenty of options to accommodate all ages and experience levels. The Chattooga Loop Trail is an easy, 2-mile hike that leads to a beautiful view of rock formations from the Bull Pen Bridge. The Cliffside Lake Recreational Area and Van Hook Glade, located in Nantahala National Forest, offer seven trails, a six-acre lake and two spectacular waterfalls known as Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Often called “Yosemite of the East,” Panthertown Valley is more than a hiker’s dream. Covering 6,700 acres, this natural treasure features granite domes and cliffs, waterfalls, creeks, endangered plant species and rare high-altitude bogs.
  • Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. Untouched by man, the rugged terrain surrounding the 400-foot waterfall remains home to a variety of plants unique to the area.
  • The Lower Cullasaja Falls, where the Cullasaja River drops 250 feet into the Cullasaja Gorge, are a part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway and can be seen from the road. It is not safe to hike to the base of the falls.

More Info

*A SOPHISTICATED RETREAT
*While outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to do in Cashiers, the village also offers a wealth of cultural attractions for the day and night.

  • The Zachary Tolbert House, built 150 years ago in the Greek Revival style, stands without plumbing, electricity or interior paint and offers a rare insight into the life of 19th century furniture maker Mordecai Zachary. For more information go to cashiershistoricalsociety.org.
  • The Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center, just 10 miles down the road in the town of Highlands, seats 200 and offers bluegrass, jazz, singing, dancing and storytelling. For more information go to highlandspac.org.
  • Another option for those interested in musicals, comedies and dramas is the Highlands Playhouse, the oldest theater in North Carolina, also located in Highlands. For more information go to highlandsplayhouse.org.
  • For those seeking an educational experience, travel to Highlands and visit The Bascom. This nonprofit center sits on a six-acre campus and offers art exhibitions, classes and educational presentations. For more information go to thebascom.org.

More Info

*FROM COFFEESHOPS TO SMOKEHOUSES
*Despite its size, Cashiers offers a wide variety of restaurant options. Reservations are recommended, however, especially during peak travel seasons.

  • Buck’s Coffee Cafe is located at the Crossroads, right in the center of town. Open year-round, this quirky and casual coffeehouse is the perfect place to meet new friends or sit down with a good book. (6 NC-107; 828-743-9997.)
  • Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley sits in a meadow and offers gourmet farm-to-table cuisine in a mountain lodge atmosphere. (150 Lonesome Valley Road; 828-743-7967; lonesomevalley.com.)
  • Winslow’s Hideaway is a family-owned restaurant that offers upscale French and continental cuisine in an intimate environment. The chef has lived in Cashiers for decades. (48 Highway 107 S; 828-743-2226.)
  • The Orchard offers modern American fare with a Southern flair, and guests can enjoy some beautiful mountain views while they dine on fish, chicken or steak. (905 Highway 107 S; 828-743-7614; theorchardcashiers.com.)

More Info

*TUCKED INTO THE MOUNTAINS

  • Cabins in the Laurel, located on Highway 64 East, offers cabin rentals just a few minutes’ drive from the Crossroads at the center of town. Rentals are fully equiped with kitchens, pillowtop mattresses and other modern luxuries. For more information, go to cabinsinthelaurel.com.
  • High Hampton Inn, located at 1525 Highway 107 S, is historically accurate and rustic. Guests must entertain themselves with the wealth of natural beauty and outdoor activities offered on-site, though, because there are no telephones or televisions in the guestrooms. For more information, go to highhamptoninn.com.
  • Laurelwood Inn, located at 58 Highway 107 N, offers charming and cozy rooms, suites and cabins near the heart of Cashiers. For more information, go to laurelwoodinncashiers.com.