Old Edwards Inn: A Hidden Treasure in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The lush Blue Ridge Mountains span from Georgia to Pennsylvania, so it’s no surprise that the locale is brimming with culture, history, and natural scenic beauty. But one of its crowning jewels lies in the heart of Highlands, NC, in a chateaux-style resort that redefines what a mountain retreat should be.

Highland’s Slice of Living History

Formerly the home of Highland’s first boardinghouse, Old Edwards Inn has seen its share of travelers over more than a century. Originally built in 1878, the Inn is almost as old as the town itself. Comfort and hospitality remain the golden standard at Old Edward’s Inn, and its tradition of excellence is reflected in its years of loyal patrons, and housemade buttermilk biscuits. 

Inside the guest rooms and cottages, an homage to its history continues. Antique furnishings and oil paintings provide guests with a window into the elegance of the past. Every room is decorated differently providing a well-rounded glimpse of the Inn’s aesthetic and narrative through the years.

A Relaxing Escape Hidden in Plain View

Situated in the heart of downtown Highlands, the Inn has undergone massive changes and expansions during its 140-year history. Additions include a sprawling 18-hole golf course, abundant mineral pools, whirlpools, and on-site restaurants, along with luxury guest cottages and stately vacation homes. 

The resort itself is quiet and secluded, but the buzz of the town is just a stone’s throw away. Shops, restaurants, art galleries, and live theaters encircle the property, so you can take your pick of privacy or the hustle and bustle, at your convenience. 

The Spa to End All Spas

The spa at Old Edward’s Inn perfectly encapsulates the energy and healing spirit of the blue ridge mountains that surround it. Complete with rough-hewn timber and locally sourced herbs and botanicals from the Inn’s own Greenhouse and gardens, this spa provides an oasis where outside stress dissolves away in one of the many woodsy saunas this resort has to offer. The spa boasts an impressive list of amenities such as steam rooms, whirlpools, 14 head swiss showers, a fireside lounge, and serenity solarium. Facials, Massages, and nail and makeup services are offered as well to ensure when you exit the Old Edward’s Inn spa, your body and soul have been indulged and healed. Today, Old Edward’s Inn has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has received recognition and accolades from numerous publications, including the coveted Top Hotel Spa in North America award by Conde Nast.

Never Go Hungry

There is no shortage of quality dining in and around the Inn. To start, look no further than Madison’s located inside the Inn, overlooking the wine garden. Madison’s prioritizes quality and a “farm to table” approach, which is why they source most of their ingredients from the Inn’s greenhouse and garden. The restaurant offers southern cooking and comfort food with a standard of class and luxury. 


If you’re looking to venture out of the regional fare at Madison’s, step across the street to Ristorante Paoletti. They offer upscale Italian cuisine and seafood that will fleetingly make you forget you are in North Carolina. This restaurant has been serving the hungry people of Highlands for thirty-five years, making it a well established and respected institution within the town. 

Ristorante Paoletti

While staying at the Old Edward’s Inn, you are already lucky enough to be a five-minute walk from the stunning Harris Lake. You are even luckier to be a five-minute walk from the famed Lakeside Restaurant. Lakeside’s claim to fame is their fresh seafood and an extensive wine and cocktail list. The restaurant is complete with a charming wooden deck decorated in colorful umbrellas. If you choose to eat at Lakeside, be sure to sit outside so you can admire the ducks and scenic backdrop Lake Harris has to offer.

Lakeside Restaurant

Whether you’re in the market for a world-class spa, farm to table dining, or simply need a place to rest your head, Old Edwards Inn can guarantee a healthy dose of history, luxury, and comfort.