Inside Highlands, North Carolina’s Cozy New Inn

Southern Appalachia meets the British countryside at Highlander Mountain House  

Although worldly in its nature, Highlands, North Carolina’s newest hotel feels right at home on the town’s main thoroughfare. “The whole concept is the English country house hotels found in the Cotswolds, transposed into Southern Appalachia,” says the owner, Jason Reeves, who has spent most of the last year transforming the rambling 1885 lodge—previously home to the Main Street Inn—into the eclectic and charming Highlander Mountain House. The eighteen-room inn doubles as an art gallery, interspersing art from the Cherokee Nation, midcentury-modern lighting that evokes Black Mountain College—an experimental arts school near Asheville that produced the likes of Elaine de Kooning and Cy Twombly—two Sally Mann originals, several works by Josef Albers, and colorful European wallpaper. “But we also wanted to take it back to earth,” Reeves says of his mission to get guests outside during their stay (they can check out complimentary bicycles, fly rods, and other gear at the front desk). “We want to tap into a more elemental side of the mountains and get people back into the woods with fishing and hiking and horseback riding, then have them come back and relax by the fire.” Indeed, after a day exploring, the two wood-burning fireplaces in the Ruffed Grouse, the inn’s downstairs tavern and lounge, beckon—as do the Appalachian trout, wild boar ragout, and the Old Pal cocktail served at the custom white oak bar.

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