The Town of Highlands is located in Macon County, North Carolina. Legend has it that the founders of the Town, Samuel Truman Kelsey and Clinton Carter Hutchinson, drew two lines on a map, one between Chicago and Savannah and the other between Baltimore and New Orleans, and decided that this location would be a future cross-roads of commerce. Located at an elevation of 3850 feet on Main Street, Kelsey promoted Highlands on the basis of its healthy air and excellent potential for orchards and gardens. Because of its cool climate and scenic beauty, it quickly became a popular location for historic inns and churches, golf courses, seasonal homes, and a unique and thriving downtown business area. Its 1989 Land Use Plan identified several components that make Highlands special:
A Natural Environment characterized by "magnificent beauty and unusual attraction" due to its outstanding biological diversity, scenic mountain vistas, unpolluted watersheds, and fortunate location in the midst of the Nantahala National Forest.
Residential Areas cherished for "their charm, upkeep, low density, and single-family orientation." Real Estate and home construction remain two of the Town's top industries.
A Commercial Area that is "a bustling area of activity." While many small towns are trying to stimulate commerce, Highlands is in the enviable position of needing to manage its high rate of growth. The downtown is successful because of its quaint shops and restaurants, clean environment, and rustic atmosphere that is not overstated. For many people, the downtown serves as a focus for social interaction, and the Town has strived in its general layout and streetscape to invite people to mingle and window shop. The Highlands Chamber of Commerce offers links to area businesses.
Community Resources with so much diversity and depth that, for a Town of its size, "one would be hard pressed to find a community anywhere in the country with as many resources and social opportunity as that found in Highlands." Great pride is taken in the Hudson Library,The Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts, the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, Highlands Civic Center and Community Building, theHighlands Biological Stationand Nature Center, theHighlands Plateau Greenway, theHighlands Playhouse, the Instant Theatre Company, the Highlands Performing Arts Center, the Highlands-Cashiers Players, the Highlands Historical Society, and thriving churches, schools, clubs, and organizations.
Municipal Services that provide not only utility services, but a system of Land Use Regulations that strive to manage and plan for the accelerated growth that has occurred in the area since the 1970s.
This website provides a source of information for residents and visitors alike, and provides links to other resources that might be helpful to the public.