The North Carolina Mountains: Places to Explore



Highlands is a tony town of only 900 people, but the surrounding area swells to 10,000 or more in summer and fall, when those with summer homes here flock back, like wealthy swallows of Capistrano. Once, Highlands billed itself as the highest town in the East, but it relinquished the title when Banner Elk and other tiny communities a little higher up in the High Country were incorporated as towns. Still, at 4,118 feet it is usually cool and pleasant when even Asheville gets hot. The town's five-block downtown is, not surprisingly given the local demographics, lined with upscale shops, antiques stores, restaurants, and coffeehouses, and there's a sniff of West Palm Beach in the air.



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