Chief Holland

Highlands Police Chief Andrea ‘Sissy’ Holland puts a sunny face on a grueling job.

So Much To Talk About

The sisters saw it first – the love between Wendy Strong and Sam Lupas was meant to be. The obstacles vanished with a kiss.

The Sumptuousness of Primary

Season’s Bounty

The Plateau’s two green markets are a celebration of the landscape’s bounty and a tribute to the men and women who make it all possible.

Weekend Concerts

Lace up your dancing shoes – Highlands’ free weekend concerts return next month – Friday nights at Town Square and Saturday evenings at

The Bear & the Bands

The talent’s already lining up for the third incarnation of the Bear Shadow Music Festival, set for April 28-30. For ticketing and more information


Search Articles

There are so many great articles in the pages of The Laurel Magazine, sometimes you want to read them again. You won’t miss a thing. Use these helpful search parameters and find just what you’re looking for about Highlands, NC and Cashiers, NC.



Magazine Issue


PCC is Becoming BEE-utiful

In a collaborative effort, the Laurel Garden Club, noted Landscape Designer Canty Worley, and Highlands Falls Country Club members are creating a “pocket ecosystem” right in the middle of Highlands.  The LGC has generously supported improvements to the grounds of the venerable Peggy Crosby Center, site of Highlands’ first hospital, over the past several years through grants. Canty Worley has …

The Fine Art of Not Thinking

My buddy, Kathy, was frustrated with her oil painting. She said all she does is paint, scrape-off, paint, scrape-off…nothing was working.  She asked me what she should do. I said, “Drop the damn ski!” She looked at me like my last marble had just rolled out of my ear and down my brassiere.    I explained. As a kid I …

Giving Voice to God’s Country

The rolling hills of the Plateau have long been called God’s Country. The rivers and waterfalls that flow through the lush forests have an ethereal beauty that one cannot experience without reverence.  It’s a land beyond description, but novelist and poet Ron Rash has risen to that challenge and met it. For the last 40 years, Ron has paid homage …

This is My Home

Last year, Tricia Smith faced a life-changing decision, one faced by many who live and work on the Plateau – how on earth does a working person own a home in a real estate market that’s weighted toward gated communities and second- and third-homes? Smith, a nurse practitioner, had been renting a comfortable Highlands home, but she had to work …

A Passion to Help

For Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Rachel B. Kelley, the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is a natural site to open her practice. She’s often asked what sets her apart from other mental health providers. Basically, her training has focused on the ability to accurately diagnose mental health disorders and prescribe psychotropic medications to treat those conditions. “I was surprised how far people had to …

Summer Screen Time Strategies for Children

If you gave a child today a rotary phone, they may not know what to do with it!  Yes, technology is useful, sometimes frustrating, and entertaining.  Yet, too easily, it can be the thing that keeps your child or grandchild occupied while you finish a chore or make that phone call.  You need a minute of quiet, but at what …

Why is Gut Function so Overlooked and Misunderstood?

Why is gut function so overlooked and misunderstood?  When we realize that our gut tissue (small intestines) is derived from the same embryonic origin as our brain tissue, then it should have way more importance in medical and functional diagnosis. Being the root cause of so many current health challenges, we really need to look closer when we want to …

HCH Welcomes Peter Pavarini

Inspired, engaged and knowledgeable board members are essential to a healthy organization.  Mission Health is thrilled to welcome Peter Pavarini, a man of such character, to the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital board. He is a nationally-recognized lawyer, specializing in the business and legalities of healthcare.  Even though Peter grew up in Long Island, New York, graduated from law school in Boston and …

Unwinding the Mystery Ball

We enjoy historical accounts of the activities, construction, and commerce on the Plateau over the decades, but what were Highlands’ youngsters doing while adults were building roads, launching businesses, and saving the forests? In his “Heart of the Blue Ridge,” Ran Shaffner shares a kid story passed along by his wife, Margaret.  Ran writes, “Children in Highlands found a number …

Who Was Zeb Alley?

Beginning at the Old Cashiers School Road, there is an intersecting road known as Zeb Alley Road. It runs westerly and about half way between Cashiers and Whiteside Cove was the home of Zeb Alley, his wife Cora Davis Alley, and their children. Zebulon Barak Alley was born on November 11, 1862, at the old Alley house in Whiteside Cove …

Chair Caning

It doesn’t matter where you’re from, I can guarantee your grandmother had a caned or woven chair of some kind. You may even have one of your own that has been passed down through the generations.  These chairs are often considered rustic and old fashioned, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The art of chair caning isn’t dying. …

Mountain Wildlife Days

Nowadays it seems like the easiest way to get to know your local wildlife is to overfill a bird feeder or leave your trash out overnight.  Sure, you can witness raccoons tearing up your feeder or bears dragging your garbage around the neighborhood, but no one wins with this gambit, especially the animals. Your easier and wiser option is to …