Best of the Blue Ridge

Amid North Carolina’s Cashiers-Highlands Plateau, McKee Properties guides buyers to their perfect mountain retreat

Encompassing more than 200 verdant acres and a ninety-foot waterfall, Ethyl’s Cove ($6,950,000) is one of McKee Properties’ most desirable listings. Contact Beth Townsend at 828-421-6193 or for more information.

On the Cashiers-Highlands Plateau, life has a remarkable quality. Set against a sweeping Blue Ridge Mountains backdrop, the region’s verdant lands offer something rarely found elsewhere: a genuine connection with nature, and the benefits of a vibrant community—the best, some might say, of both worlds. While area residents enjoy the perks of mountain living—crisp morning air, vast panoramic views, perhaps even meadows, creeks, and trails that lie within their property—they also have access to some of the finest shopping, dining, and recreation in the state, all just a short jaunt down the hill.

A beloved retreat since the 1800s, Cashiers caters to those seeking an outdoor way of life—days filled with hiking, biking, trout fishing, and explorations of the lush terrain. Tucked within the Nantahala National Forest, the area is rife with enviable trails, guiding adventurers to the breathtaking lookout at Whiteside Mountain, the thundering waters of Turtleback Falls, or the ever-popular splash zone of Sliding Rock, a favorite among families on warm afternoons. The area’s lakes, including its centerpiece, the glistening Lake Glenville, make Cashiers all the more desirable, drawing neighbors and friends for a day of tubing or an evening cruise through the placid waters.

For those who fall in love with this four-season wonderland, the experience need not end after a weekend getaway, or even a summer retreat. Claiming a piece of this Blue Ridge haven is a viable possibility, especially with the help of McKee Properties, a local real estate firm that has specialized in the mountain lifestyle since 1977. Experts in the riches of Western North Carolina, the McKee Properties team understands what people come to the region in search of: a home that’s peaceful and private, but also in proximity to a flourishing town and its world-class draws.

The Cashiers area fulfills these desires perfectly, offering large tracts of residential real estate ripe for establishing a mountain home. “If you love being involved in the town but also want privacy, these parcels provide that,” says Beth Townsend, broker and co-owner of McKee Properties. With impressive tracts ranging from ten to hundreds of acres, the company is in the business of bringing buyers’ grandest hopes to life. Parcels this generous allow homeowners to create not only an abode but an estate, complete with space for barns, outbuildings, guest houses, or multiple family quarters. And when the time comes to build, Cashiers is home to a wide community of craftspeople eager to collaborate.

Regarding the company’s larger land tracts, McKee Properties broker and co-owner Liz Harris stresses the beauty of the investment. Here, the rolling hills hold a sense of possibility—exactly what the team reveals to clients who visit the Plateau. “It offers a range of opportunities,” Harris says. “This land speaks to family, and is also a place for your soul to bloom.” With many properties surrounded by conservation easements, homeowners can be sure that development will be kept at bay. The region’s unique topography also means no two properties are alike. Some may feature old logging trails, a functioning barn, pastureland, or hidden waterfalls. And the views? Given the right address, they can be substantial.

Beyond its natural wonders, Cashiers has a delightfully close-knit feel, bolstered by a collection of thriving local businesses. The Cashiers Farmers Market, an open-air structure in town, carries local provisions and gourmet essentials for stocking the pantry, but when residents want to eat out, excellent restaurants are also abundant. The village holds its own in the culinary realm, from favorite area restaurants such as the Library Kitchen + Bar, the Orchard, Happs Place, and Cornucopia to the newly arrived Oak Steakhouse. And in the warmer months, Cashiers comes to life with a full calendar of events, including well-attended concerts at the Village Green, a grassy venue and gathering place in the heart of it all.

In addition to its more secluded offerings, McKee Properties has developed several clubs and communities with incredible amenities that new residents can take full advantage of. The Tom Fazio–designed Wade Hampton Golf Club, for instance, is consistently listed among the finest golf courses in the nation, while Cedar Creek Club, the area’s first tennis community, is one of the ten most beautiful tennis clubs in America, according to Tennis magazine. These facilities and more are emblematic of McKee’s greatest commitment: to place the beauty of the outdoor world at the center of its projects. 

This, after all, is the true appeal of a place like Cashiers: Where else can you enjoy the rural beauty of every season as well as the splendors of a community on the rise? For more than four decades, McKee Properties has watched with delight as family after family has fallen for this very combination of wonders, and each member of its team believes wholeheartedly in the area’s extraordinary nature. Case in point: Townsend’s family purchased a gentleman’s farm here nearly fifty years ago, a property the broker still nurtures to this day. As Harris says, “Cashiers has a certain magic to it that’s hard to find anywhere else.”

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