Population: about 3000 * * * Elevation: ave. 4118'
    The high plateau on which Highlands stands remained remote during the early days of Macon County's history. Samuel Truman Kelsey and Clinton Carter Hutchinson of Reno County, Kansas selected the plateau for the development of a new town. They arrived at the site of their new town on February 1875, purchased 839 acres and began development and promotion of the area. It was to be called Kelsey's Plateau but the name was soon changed to Highlands.

    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 has:

  • CHURCHES: of all denominations
  • EMERGENCY: A well staffed and well trained: Medical Service, Police Department, Macon Co. Sheriff's Department, Volunteer Fire Department, and are all networked together by the E-911 available.
  • SHOPPING AREAS: Located throughout the Village Area.
  • EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES: The Public System is ranked in the upper 10th percentile of the SATs.
  • RETIREMENT LIVING: Contact the Highlands Chamber of Commerce (at 1-828-526-2112) for more information.
  • COMMUNICATION MEDIA: The Highlands Newspaper 526-4114, Mountain Top Television 526-4248, Radio Station WHLC FM 104.5

    A bit about the History of Highlands

        The unique mountain town of Highlands, NC, with its rich history, wonderful climate and
    enviable way of life is located in the Blue Ridge mountains of southwestern North Carolina.

        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.

    For more information contact The Highlands Chamber of Commerce at 828-526-2112

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