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


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Magazine Issue


A Scotland Golf Trip to Remember

My son John and a group from California and Texas just got back from a great trip to Scotland.  Here’s what he had to say about the trip: “This was the first trip to Scotland for 3 of our 4 golfers, and it was a fantastic experience from start to finish.  We were greeted at the Glasgow airport by Roddy, …

A Deep and Dazzling Darkness

You know the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is the home to unique, not-to-be-missed natural wonders – the waterfalls springing from nearly every rocky feature, the astonishing botanical diversity, and, if we’re going to get granular, the variety of salamanders wriggling through the underbrush. But there’s one feature, nearly unparalleled in the Southeast, you’ll find here that’s ignored by way too many people. …

Differential Grasshopper

This grasshopper has distinguishing chevron stripes on its ‘thighs’. The black pattern is not unique to this species, but it is rare to see on other grasshoppers. Their back legs also have spines on them. They have short, horned antennae and produce a buzzing noise by rubbing their hind wings against their forewings. Their tan and black coloring helps them …

Summer Begins. So Does the Fun.

As the summer begins, so does the fun at the Highlands Biological Station.  Stroll our Botanical Garden for a look at plants native to the Highlands Plateau, walk around the lake for a beautiful view and swing by the Nature Center to say hello to our turtles, snakes and frogs.  No trip to Highlands is complete without a visit to …

June Peonies

Peonies are a lot like potato chips. It’s almost impossible to have just one. The Peony is from the genus Paeonia – the only genus from the Paeoniceae family, and there are over 30 known species.  They grow upwards to three-and-a-half feet, and completely die back during the fall season. According to Greek Mythology, Asclepius as the Greek god of …

This Winged wonder Sings Arias

Sparrows are specialized seed-eaters that abound in the mountains of Western North Carolina, throughout the Western Hemisphere and worldwide. American Sparrows include scores of species, counting within the family several species of Towhee, Junco and the Lark Bunting. Yes, surprisingly, towhees are sparrows. The Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is a year-rounder here in WNC, although some winter to the south …

Blue Linin’

Because of its geographic location, the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is located on the southern edge of where trout can survive.  Even though we sit high atop a mountain, our summers can still get pretty warm.  Off the mountain, at lower elevations where most of the bigger rivers are, it is even warmer…sometimes by eight or 10 degrees.  What does this mean …

Pickelsimer Falls

Picklesimer Falls is not as grand as the vistas from Whiteside Mountain or the three-tiered cascading Glenn Falls, but it has a charm of its own, nestled a half mile off the road in Blue Valley.  Like many waterfalls in Western North Carolina, visitors can walk behind the falls while surrounded by a giant natural amphitheater of rock. The Falls …

Acorns’ Annual Trunk Shows

Highlands is known for the fun shops and cozy boutiques that line Main Street, each one with its own wide variety of clothing and gifts. The only drawback is the limited floor space. Shop owners have to be judicious and work with the space they have, which means they often can’t carry full lines of merchandise.  What do you do …

A Journey of Faith

Colonel Mustard’s, the iconic condiment/gourmet shop, has become a Highlands Institution. That’s because it’s jammed chock-a-block with jams, jellies, nuts, hot sauces ranging from sweet and mild all the way to let’s-get-you-to-the-Emergency-Room-right-away, pickles and pickled products, barbecue sauces, sweets, mustards (of course), and gastronomic rarities that you just won’t find elsewhere. And honey in different varieties, from Acacia to Lavender. …

Lenz Gifts & Fine Linens

Just half a mile outside of Cashiers, on 64 West toward Highlands, is Lenz Gifts and Fine Linens. This little shop blends in so well with the mountain laurels that surround it that if you blink you’ll miss it, and you definitely don’t want to do that.  Since 2007, Lenz Gifts has been pampering the Plateau with classical elegance.  Lenz …

Town Square Shopping

There’s a lot to see and do in Highlands, but you can easily spend an entire afternoon in the Town Square.  As my grandfather used to say, we don’t have a sweet tooth, all of our teeth are sweet. And the new owner’s of Kilwin’s Fudge Shop know that all too well. Landon and Ashley Clark took over the chocolate …