Highlands, North Carolina is one of the crown jewels of North Carolina, yet it’s overlooked as a place you can move into and call home. Despite attracting 18,000 tourists every summer, Highlands has a year-round population that just tops 3,000.
Lying 3,850 feet above sea level, Highlands is the place to escape to during the South’s blistering summer season. Yet very few know about the wonderful living that the Highlands provides in the long term.
Living in Highlands, NC
The area, in general, is simply beautiful.
Occupying 6.06 square miles on an Appalachian Mountain plateau, Highlands experiences abundant sunshine and rain in a near equal measure. The resulting subtropical conditions allow the greenery to vibrantly spring to life each year.
Those who seek outdoor adventure will find a lot to appreciate in the mountainous area. Hiking trails often lead to incredible waterfalls, which are popular places for swimming. Cliffside Area Lake, Harris Lake and the surrounding waterways make fishing a popular pastime as well.
Homes for sale in Highlands, NC
Highlands, NC real estate scene is robust.
Efforts to attract new residents picked up significantly in the years following the Great Recession. As a steady stream of newcomers moved to Highlands, the town continues to draw attention to itself.
Those who made the choice to permanently live in the mountain town are a diverse lot. There’s quite a number of senior retirees, as well as couples hoping to start families. As a result of the mix of tourists and residents with differing tastes, there’s a full range of houses for sale in Highlands, NC.
Single-family homes like cabins and ranches remain popular, with many built during the economic downturn, along with more luxurious estates.
Attractions and amenities
- A thriving art scene
Residents of Highland have their art and culture on – thanks to an arts scene that continues to thrive even after the tourists have gone. A handful of shops cater to antique collectors, as does a major auction house. Four theaters – Highlands Players, Instant Theater Company, Martin-Lipscomb Performing Art Center, and The Highlands Playhouse – are home to local actors and touring performances. They build local talent while exposing residents to the national theater scene.
The local economy really draws its strength from the extended tourist seasons. Every year, residents from the lowland communities make their way to Highlands to beat the heat, buy summer homes, or book a stay in one of the town’s historic hotels.
- Root Bound Festival
Surprisingly, it’s during the winter months when tourism really kicks off. Most areas in Highlands don’t see much snow – 13 inches being the yearly average – and residents take advantage of this by throwing the Root Bound festival. This massive celebration of Appalachian culture encompasses all areas of the arts. Visitors can enjoy genuine cuisine made by local chefs, folk music, literature, and more, all while bringing a huge boost to the town’s finances.Beautiful scenery, rich history, and a strong identity all make Highlands an incredible community to live in. The small size makes for a close-knit community, while its proximity to Atlanta ensures that big city luxuries are always within reach. If you’re looking to make a gorgeous getaway your permanent home, Highlands is worth your consideration.
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