THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The small mountain town of Highlands sits at just over 4,100 feet in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it’s surrounded on all sides by stunning waterfalls and sweeping views. The quaint town center draws adventurers, hikers, and fly fishermen, as well as spa-seekers and golf lovers.
THE VIBE: A rustic, yet luxurious mountain cottage retreat where you can decamp and enjoy the festivities. The high-level hospitality allows for complete comfort and escapism— the goal here is relax and indulge.
THE DIGS: Touches like antique furnishings, stone and wood detailing, and wrought iron accents make the resort feel rooted to its place. By contrast, more decadent pleasures, such as Carrera marble bathroom floors, rainfall showers, and a world-class spa, make for the ultimate in relaxation.
With its sprawling, manicured campus and modern-meets-historic charm, Old Edwards Inn and Spa beckons those seeking indulgence this holiday season. Over the course of its 130- year history, the Inn has seen its share of renovations and updates, including the addition of multiple cottages, suites, condos, and an unforgettable spa. A unifying theme is the design: stones and hardwoods; wooden beams and paneling; European linens and collected antiques. Outside, tidy stone walkways, lush greenery, and rolling, open spaces recollect an English garden. The resort is set on a plateau in Highlands, North Carolina, and offers multiple spots for enjoying the vistas. To shake off any holiday stress, the soothing spa offers saunas, mineral pools, a meditation lounge, and cafe, which offer just as much pampering as the treatments themselves.
Over Thanksgiving, the resort goes into full holiday mode with festive decor, decorated trees, wreaths, garland, and trim. For the big feast, families and couples gather at Madison’s, the elegantly relaxed dining room, for a three-course meal of a duo of turkeys, smoked pork tenderloin, candy roaster squash with Dark Cove goat cheese, and more. Afterwards, it’s out to the firepit for a nightcap on the lawn. Things get even livelier on December 1 when the gingerbread houses come out, all creations from the resort’s pastry chef Alyssa Green. Often, guests will visit the Inn before picking up their Christmas tree, so the resort now partners with a local evergreen farm for those who want to kick off the season with high holiday spirits.
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