Getaway to Cashiers/Highlands, N.C.

Visit Cashiers and Highlands, N.C. one of three ways: On a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.

BUDGET:

Stay: The Jarrett House is a bed and breakfast inn, complete with Victorian style furnishings. It is one of western North Carolina's oldest operating inns and is located in historic Dillsboro. The B&B is well-known for their family-style dining with huge home-cooked meals. Children over age 12 are welcome. The inn is open May-December; the dining room is open April-Dec. Rates are $72 double, including tax and a full country breakfast; 100 Haywood Rd., 828-586-0265; www.jarretthouse.com.

Eat: Located in the heart of Cashiers, Cornucopia is an eclectic restaurant known for its Southern Cuisine with a modern twist and lively atmosphere. Entrees on the a la carte dinner menu range from $14.75-$26.95. Less pricey is a $20 price for two diners (limited menu). Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch; Hwy 107 S., 828-743-3750, www.cornucopianc.com.

Experience: The Cashiers/Highlands area is home to a number of antique shops, boutiques, and art galleries. The area's unique geography in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains also boasts waterfalls, quiet lakes, stone mountains and rhododendron forests, all of which are great for an afternoon of outdoor exploring. Get details on area activities and trails at www.cashiers-nc.com.

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MODERATE:

Stay: Located in Cashiers on 1,400-acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 90-year-old High Hampton Inn Country Club is an ideal destination for families, couples or groups of friends. Guests enjoy mountain golf and tennis, miles of hiking trails, House Parties, summer children's programs and a European spa. Accommodations are housed in the Inn or in quaint cottages that dot the property. Stay four nights for the price of three from April 27 (the inn's opening day) through June 9. Rates start at $245 per night, double, and includes three daily meals (guests responsible for meals on the fourth night) served in The Dining Room; 1525 Hwy 107 S., 1-800-334-2551, www.highhamptoninn.com.

Eat: Award-winning Chef Nicholas Figel introduces international cuisine to Highlands at Cyprus. The open kitchen gives diners a glimpse into what takes place behind the scenes. Menu items take inspiration from peasant foods and traditional cuisines from around the world and include local vegetables and ingredients from ethnic markets. Dinner entrees from $19.99-$32.99; 470 Dillard Rd., 828-526-4429, www.cyprushighlands.com.

Experience: High Hampton Inn features a European spa with an assortment of relaxing treatments -- from Ashiatsu massages ($125, 50 min.) to body wraps ($125, 50 min.) and scrubs ($145, 80 min.) to facials, manicures and pedicures. The active set will enjoy a game of golf on the George W. Cobb mountain course, famous for the par 3, 137-yard eighth "island” hole (Golf Digest calls it "one of America's great golf holes.") 1525 Hwy 107 S., 1-800-334-2551, www.highhamptoninn.com.

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SPLURGE:

Stay: Overlooking the rolling hills in the quaint downtown area of Highlands, Old Edwards Inn is a luxury mountain getaway ideal for couples looking for romance, friends looking to relax or families seeking a mountain vacationland. A two-night package, from $445 per night, includes Champagne and strawberries; a three-course dinner for two in Madison's; two $100 spa credits and rose petal turn-down service. The resort features a golf course, spa, a romantic rooftop terrace with fireplace and an alfresco wine garden. Room amenities include posh Italian linens and robes and slippers. The inn offers easy access to a number of unique shops and restaurants in Highlands; 445 Main St., 866-526-8008, www.oldedwardsinn.com.

Eat: Family run Ristorante Paoletti serves up the finest Northern Italian cuisine in an old world atmosphere. Dinner menus are printed daily featuring house-made pastas, steaks, chops, fowl and the area's freshest coastal seafood.  Pasta dishes from $18.95; other entrees $27-$36; 440 Main St., 828-526-4906, www.paolettis.com.

Experience: Get on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad from the historic Bryson City depot (about 40 minutes north of Cashier/Highlands) for a four-hour, 32-mile round-trip along the Tuckasegee River, through the historic Cowee Tunnel and past scenic valleys and river gorges. Schedules allow for a 90-minute layover in Dillsboro for shopping and dining. Seats in the restored vintage Standard Class Coach feature windows that open for fresh-air viewing, or enjoy panoramic views from the Open Air Gondola; $49 adults. Crown Class passengers enjoy the ride from a restored climate-controlled coach; $66 adults; 226 Everett Street, 1-800-872-4681, www.gsmr.com

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.