Carolina in my Mind


Seclude yourself in nature and nostalgia at High Hampton

Original wood walls were restored while new fabrics adorn antique furniture that enhances the historic charm. Photos courtesy of High Hampton Resort.

Located in the heart of one of North Carolina’s most coveted luxury vacation destinations, High Hampton retreat has played a pivotal role in putting the community of Cashiers on the map. Built on 450 acres in the late 1800s as a private estate for Caroline Hampton and her husband, Dr. William Stewart Halsted (a founding professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital), the property was transformed into an inn around 1922 and became the place of respite for elites and dignitaries visiting the region.

Once hospitality visionaries—The Beall family—owners of the beloved Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain resorts, set their sights on revitalizing the town, High Hampton once again became a destination where future generations could create lasting memories. “High Hampton has provided countless families with years of idyllic, cherished memories,” says Susan Wojnar, property design project manager at Blackberry Farm. “When restoring the property, the intention of the design team was to respect the craftsmanship and classic materials.”

American chestnut paneling blended with lush fabrics complement the thoughtful cuisine in The Dining Room.
Photos courtesy of High Hampton Resort.

When the historically landmarked, one-hundred-year-old property changed hands, the team recognized updates were needed to usher the property into the future. They worked closely with the National Register of Historic Places to preserve original details including the handcrafted furniture, original exterior shag bark siding, interior American chestnut walls and uniquely shaped louvered doors only found at one other inn in the country. “The team at Blackberry Farm Design focused on keeping and honoring High Hampton’s unique character and charm while offering a traditional mountain retreat with polished design and Southern spirit,” says Wojnar. “The goal of the High Hampton’s restoration was to carefully balance preservation with the promise of thoughtful improvement.”

The suites feature touches of traditional, rustic and modern elements that will usher the hotel into the future while honoring its heritage. Photos courtesy of High Hampton Resort.

What was unique to the renovation process was that the team involved the guests who return to High Hampton annually. “It was very important to the team to ensure that High Hampton’s established tight-knit community and devoted longtime guests were a part of the renovation process,” she says. “Previous guests shared mementos and photos and these items, along with the original hand-written guest ledger, maps and photos were enlarged and used for decor in the lodge and bar areas to pay homage to the property’s illustrious past.”

Efforts began with the restaining and restoration of the original wood walls and flooring. Fabrics and furnishings were selected that felt fresh while honoring the feeling of the past. “The style embodies an effortlessly eclectic feel through a carefully curated collection that balances a juxtaposition of unexpected contrasts with unifying elements,” Wojnar recalls. A mix of original antiques, updated vintage pieces and art from the inn’s archives are combined with modern pieces reflecting High Hampton’s narrative, such as dahlias painted by a local artist, botanicals of champion tree buds and vintage postcards with an updated twist.

Pickleball and tennis are popular attractions at High Hampton. Photos courtesy of High Hampton Resort.

Like both Blackberry properties, the food and beverage program is what sets High Hampton apart from other mountain retreats. The chef approaches each dish as a storyteller and tailors every meal to the space where a guest is enjoying the food versus for making a meal for a set time of day. “The feeling of savoring food or a beverage is different in The Dining Room versus The Tavern, and we want our guests to appreciate each specific setting in a different way,” says April Franqueza, pastry chef at High Hampton. She and her husband, Scott, who is the executive chef, work with a number of local farmers and purveyors to source ingredients. “At The Tavern you can sit outside on the terrace, which overlooks Hampton Lake and Rock Mountain, while enjoying local crudité with house-made hummus and a burger on a house-made potato bun with beef that came from less than an hour away,” she remarks. “Seasonality from these farmers challenges us to create menus that are ever changing and that keep the experience fresh for our guests—the menu changes every night in The Dining Room.”

All of the food by Chef Scott Franqueza is sourced and grown locally. Photos courtesy of High Hampton Resort.

When not indulging in the thoughtfully curated fare, guests can enjoy one of many outdoor adventures including hiking, croquet, golf, tennis or simply letting time pass while relaxing in one of the inn’s signature red rockers, which overlook the rock face mountain and the lake. Sounds like the perfect place to recharge and relax.

Nestled in the heart of Cashiers, North Carolina, High Hampton offers an idyllic mountain escape.
Photos courtesy of High Hampton Resort.