Enjoy Our Secret
Written By: Stephanie Edwards - Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce | Issue: 2020/03 - March
During the winter to early-spring months, the Cashiers-Highlands high-elevation Plateau comes alive during a “secret season.”
It offers visitors a wide array of experiences like lacing up ski boots and skates, reflecting in front of a crackling fire, enjoying popular year-round restaurants, and even using photo backdrops of dramatic frozen rock faces.
Another bonus? The potential of a snowy vacation or get-away. If you’re lucky enough to time your trip perfectly with the winter weather precip, you can experience firsthand the picturesque white adventure. Other times, you may enjoy snow or flurries capping the mountaintops at a distance.
A visit to Cashiers, Highlands or any of the surrounding mountain communities during the secret season allows visitors the chance to unplug and unwind from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life in whatever style you may choose. You’ll have your own mountain oasis in surroundings great for both peaceful relaxation and exciting recreation.
The Plateau’s mountainous topography reveals itself amid majestic trees along scenic corridors. The Panthertown Valley Trail features winter scenes of frozen waterfalls, scenic trails and panoramic views in what is known as the “Yosemite of the East.” Granite rock faces along the local byways are transformed by sparkling icicles. Even the icy running waters of the Tuckasegee River and other streams and lakes offer some of the best fishing during colder months. The slopes of Sapphire Valley create their own snow to ensure a fun time.
More commonly known for its fall appearance, many don’t realize that the Shadow of the Bear comes out of hibernation twice a year. From mid-February to early March, it makes an appearance for just 30 minutes on sunny days at 5:30 p.m. at the Rhodes Overlook on US 65 between Cashiers and Highlands. Since this is a lesser-known time to observe this natural phenomenon, onlookers will enjoy an unobstructed view as a small dark shadow at the bottom of the Cashiers Valley grows until it finally evolves into the awe-inspiring bear. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this spectacular view as the sun sets behind iconic Whiteside Mountain.
During secret season, you can also choose from packages and promotions to experience the most for the least as an added benefit. Without the bustle of summer crowds – albeit another wonderful time to visit – you’ll discover the magic and unique nature of the area and a winter wonderland full of possibilities.
by Stephanie Edwards,
Cashiers Chamber of Commerce