Highlands, North Carolina’s Main Street is a gathering place for locals and a sweet escape for visitors

Situated on a mountain plateau in western North Carolina, some 4,000 feet above sea level, the four-stoplight town of Highlands is no secluded hamlet. Dubbed the Aspen of the East, it attracts 200,000 visitors a year.

Ask the Expert: An Asheville beer aficionado shares her favorite spots to toast the town

I would start by kayaking on the French Broad River downtown with a six-pack of Asheville Brewing Company’s Perfect Day IPA. Then I’d go to South Slope, our unofficial brewery district with eleven breweries.

Our Favorite Things: 99 of our top spots in the South

Since Southbound debuted in 2013, our staff and contributors have logged thousands of miles, consumed millions of calories, and taken countless notes and photos to showcase the very best destinations around the region. Although every place we’ve covered is special, some left a particularly powerful impression. Here, we give you the best of the very best, our favorite spots in the South.

Simple pleasures await on a road trip through North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley

Visitors traveling through the valley along US 601 from Yadkinville to Mount Airy will pass vineyards pocketed alongside fields of corn, soybeans, and the occasional chartreuse span of tobacco. They’ll also discover a number of attractions worth a stop, from a popcorn factory to a century-old general store to the childhood home of actor Andy Griffith.

Casino Wars in the Carolinas: Two tribes that have battled for centuries are at odds once again

In North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians found a way to take care of their people: In 1997, they opened a casino on their lands. Now South Carolina’s Catawba tribe wants to do the same. But there is a problem.

Lakeside Retreat: Novelist Susan Rebecca White’s highs and lows on a mountain lake in the Smokies

"On that night, under that starlit sky, the sound of the water lapping against the dock, I felt a prescient sense of peace."

Kingdom of Cool: Durham, North Carolina, smolders as a technology hub and culinary hotspot

The highest cocktail bar in Durham is on the sixth-story rooftop of the Durham Hotel, a white-and-gold midcentury building. Like a few other classic structures in downtown Durham, it was once a bank, but it now trades in a different kind of currency: cool.

Where to Stay: Old Edwards Inn and Spa

"Come on in! I’ll get y’all some Champagne,” calls a bellman. My husband and I have arrived at Old Edwards Inn and Spa in downtown Highlands, North Carolina, for a quick getaway.
Newfound Gap

Savor the views on a road trip through eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina

Eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina are home to some of the highest elevations in the eastern United States, rising more than 6,000 feet above sea level in some parts. It’s a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts who hike and bike its steep trails and brave its rushing rivers.
Oli Winward

Dream Home: Author Kristy Woodson Harvey puts down roots in Beaufort, North Carolina

I was nineteen the first time I ever drove over the drawbridge into Beaufort, North Carolina. Good Southern girl that I was, I had arrived for a debutante party. One look, and I was absolutely smitten.

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