Nantahala is a remote community in the western part of the county about 32 miles west of Franklin. It was named by its first residents, the Cherokee Indians. The name means "Land of the Noonday Sun."
Currently Macon County consists of 12 townships, Burningtown, Cartoogechaye, Cowee, Ellijay, Flats, Franklin, Millshoal, Nantahala, Otto, Smithbridge, Sugerfork, and Highlands.
The Highlands Plateau, is located in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Highlands is about 65 miles southwest of Asheville, Atlanta Ga. is around 165 miles from Highlands. The Village is placed at an average elevation of 4118' above MSL.
As for the weather, the temperatures are moderate, the humidity is comfortable even though Highlands is located in rain forest area (average rainfall is 86.59").
Highlands stands tall in the high country. The town's average altitude is 4118 feet, making it one of the highest incorporated towns east of the Mississippi River. The surrounding mountains soar to heights of over 5,000 feet. During the month of July, our average temperature is a cool 67 degrees. enveloped by the Nantahala National Forest, the Highlands Plateau is botanically and geologically -one of the most unique locations in all the world.
Founded as a summer resort in 1875 by Samuel T Kelsey and Clinton C. Hutchinson, Highlands has from its beginning been a haven for southerners anxious to escape the summer heat. The altitude and the climate offer a comfortable retreat from the fast pace of city life. Its a renewal point for professionals and executives, Highlands is an ideal location for a summer homes.
The year-round population of the Highlands area is about 3,000, while in the summer it increases to over 20,000 folks. The cultural amenities that Highlands has to offer during the summer season are legend. Entertainment includes live theater, chamber music concerts, cabarets and special dinners. Many educational seminars and informative lectures are available as well.
With the rare combination of scenic beauty and ideal climate, Highlands has much to offer in the way of sightseeing and outdoor recreation. Hikers of all skill levels will be thrilled by the number and variety of accessible trails. Fly-fishing, rappelling and whitewater rafting are also quite popular. For golfers, there are three public courses in the area. In the winter, try skiing, ice skating and just relaxing by the fire.
The accommodations in Highlands are first rate, with everything from quaint bed and breakfasts and historic inns to luxury suite hotels. Rustic elegance is to be found in our many lodges and cabins. Highlands has long been noted for fine dining, and our restaurants have been nationally acclaimed. The shopping in Highlands is unique, with boutiques and specialty shops, antiques, jewelry and hand-made indigenous craft and furniture.
Perhaps the greatest natural asset to be found in Highlands is the warn and welcoming spirit of its people. We hope you'll visit soon and find out first hand why Highlands is the place we love to call home.