On the southwestern plateau of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Highlands, North Carolina, is an enchanting enclave with charm to spare. Against this picturesque backdrop, local shops and restaurants dot quaint downtown streets, while verdant forest and farmland unfurl beyond the town center. In the heart of it all lies Old Edwards Inn, an inviting institution that’s summoned travelers for nearly two decades.
While beautiful accommodations and an award-winning spa are high on Old Edwards’s list of draws, its masterful culinary program is another facet that sets it apart. A reverence for cuisine—local, seasonal cooking in particular—is evident in the resort’s three restaurants, but each year, a series of lively chef dinners is where the inn truly shines. Each year, executive chef Chris Huerta invites celebrated chefs from across the South to co-host a slate of creative, hyper-seasonal meals, each celebrating the best of local provisions and the culinary stylings of the special guest. Held at the Farm at Old Edwards, the Inn’s lushly landscaped event venue, the dinner series features multi-course tasting menus, expansive raw bars, thoughtful drink pairings, and more. The 2022 lineup has just been announced; read on for a glimpse at the upcoming events, then start planning your trip.
February 27: An Evening with Hugh Acheson and Christopher Hathcock
To kick off the year’s events, chef, author, and James Beard Award-winner Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten and the National in Athens, Georgia, joins forces with chef Christopher Hathcock of Husk Savannah (who trained under Acheson at Empire State South in Atlanta). Using fresh local ingredients as inspiration, the chefs present a multi-course meal of warming winter dishes.
April 14: Spring Fling with Craig Richards
Embrace the season with this celebration of all things spring. Executive Chef Craig Richards of Atlanta’s Lila Lyla heads up the event’s cuisine, taking cues from the restaurant’s signature Southern European palate. With a menu designed around seasonal crops from the Farm at Old Edwards, the al fresco affair also incorporates a few Italian Easter traditions.
May 15: Chadwick Boyd Dinner
In many ancient cultures, May Day—traditionally celebrated on May 1—was considered the start of summer. Today, the holiday is still observed throughout parts of Europe with joyous, bloom-filled gatherings. For this spring dinner, chef, author, and television personality Chadwick Boyd visits the Farm at Old Edwards to host a May Day celebration of his own. With a delightful range of Southern indulgences, the menu will highlight the season’s bounty front and center.
June 10: Red, White and ’Que with the Fox Brothers
For this summer soiree, twin brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox of Atlanta’s Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q travel to Highlands with their award-winning ’que in tow. Guests are invited to enjoy a warm evening on the farm, paired with the pitmasters’ Texas-style pulled pork, smoked chicken, beef brisket, and all the fixins.
July 14: La Fête de Champagne with Laurent-Perrier Champagne
To celebrate ten years of partnership with Laurent-Perrier, Old Edwards Inn is pleased to welcome the brand’s VP, Camille Cox, back to the Farm for a special weekend celebration. After a lavish cocktail hour with lawn games and hors d’oeuvres, the event centers on a seasonally inspired dinner by executive chef Chris Huerta and his team—with Laurent-Perrier Champagne flowing, of course.
August 28: Sunday Supper with Cole Ellis and Rob McDaniel
From peak-season tomatoes to sweet corn and a rainbow of peppers, late summer yields some of the year’s finest produce. To make the most of this bounty, chefs (and friends) Cole Ellis of Delta Meat Market in Cleveland, Mississippi, and Rob McDaniel of Birmingham’s Helen restaurant team up at the Farm. This Sunday evening event features a multi-course menu filled with summer’s most vibrant flavors, alongside wine pairings courtesy of the Old Edwards sommeliers.
September 25: Oyster Fest at the Farm
September brings the return of everyone’s favorite shellfish—reason enough for a celebration. Hosted in the Orchard, this fourth annual event features lawn games, live music, and a slate of creative cocktails, but a lavish raw bar is the evening’s true star. Alongside traditional roasted oysters, chef Brian Wolfe of Atlanta’s Kimball House and chef Sara Prezioso of the Darling in Charleston, South Carolina, serve up specialties from their respective restaurants, while Bryan Rackley, Kimball House’s resident oyster expert, presents an array of raw Southern oysters from farmer friends on both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
November 11: Farm Harvest Dinner and Barn Dance
North Carolina’s rich Appalachian character is on full display during this autumn affair, hosted as part of Highlands’s annual Food and Wine Festival. With local farmers, purveyors, and chefs on hand, the event pays homage to the region’s vibrant foodways, inviting guests to savor goods from Sunburst Trout Farm, Anson Mills, Painted Hills Natural Beef, and more. Throughout the evening, the Back Porch Orchestra provides a foot-stomping soundtrack, encouraging revelers to dance the night away.
Discover more of Old Edwards’s seasonal events at oldedwardshospitality.com
Food & Drink
Chef Eddie Hernandez’s Guide to Buford Highway
The Atlanta chef and co-owner of Taqueria del Sol shares his must-visit Mexican spots
The Art of the Tart
Think of a puff pastry tart as a pie’s low-maintenance—though equally delightful—cousin. It’s got beauty and butter (lots of it), and you can fill it with whatever you have in your fridge. Here’s everything you need to get rolling
Arts & Culture
How Mick Jagger Rocked a Plucky Charlotte Dive Bar
The story behind two images of the Thirsty Beaver Saloon
Food & Drink
A State-by-State Guide to the South’s 35 Best Oysters
Oyster experts from around the South weigh in on their favorite oysters, by state
Food & Drink
How an Award-Winning Pastry Chef Doctors Up Boxed Cornbread
Even Kelly Fields whips up a box of Jiffy every once in a while. Here’s how she makes the store-bought stuff her own
Five Out-of-the-Way Spring Break Escapes
Remote Southern retreats to help you unwind and unplug