After making a last minute decision to stay here for the night, we called all the places to get everything organized.
We located this resort and decided this was a perfect place to stay. Staying at the resort benefits you with an amenities card that gets some free and discounted activities. The resort is spread out across Sapphire and works in concert with Sapphire Valley Resort. The places you need to be aware of:
Fairway Forest Resort: Condos with balconies to stay at. 2 floor townhouses with a tv, kitchen, washer/dryer, bedroom. This is located 1.7 miles from the resort office on 64 on the golf course.
Sapphire Valley Activity Center: Putt Putt (free), Arcade (coins), Gem Mining (small cost), indoor and outdoor pools (big outdoor pools), 2 indoor jacuzzi’s, and indoor sauna (was out of commission while we were there), and an outdoor hot tub (out of commission while we were there)…This is directly across the road from the community center.
Boat Docks: Currently has fall hours meaning they are open 4 days per week and specific hours. Kayaking- bring your own boat is a $20 lake use fee for the year. Use their kayaks 1st come 1st serve $19 per boat/$22 per tandem boat for 1 hour use. Swimming and paddle boarding available as well.
Sapphire Community Center: Ziplining- upper and lower course. Book ahead to reserve. 6 people per time slot. $45 per person to zip line the upper course. Recommended for only above 12 years old. Uses the ski slope chair lifts to get to the top of the zip line course. This location is a ski resort in the winter as well.
Temps are 45 degrees in the a.m…yikes. High of 69 and clear skies though!
We drove up to Franklin and put Highlands into our GPS and it takes you down Hwy 64. Our maps popped up with all of the waterfalls we might see. You could tell you were coming up on one because the maps would show yellow slowed traffic; although this really just meant people were pulled over on the side of the road. It wasn’t actually blocked. The road is absolutely beautiful and different from anything else I’ve ridden on.
Our first stop was for Cullasaja falls. You can see the upper and lower from the road, but. Super far away.
However if you are comfortable with hiking steeper slopes (not crazy steep but you need stable shoes and stability under your feet), you can go to the bottom and see the bottom falls up close. We DID do this 🙂
Our 2nd falls were the pretty Bust your Butt Falls. No real hike to see these as they are viewable from the road. There was a little trail that took you to the top of the falls. These are not tall falls. But pretty to look at.
We couldn’t find a few of the off road falls listed, but the next big ones were Dry Falls. There is a request for a donation to park here. The parking lot is not big so there can be a little wait to park. There’s some steps and a nice planked walkway to and under the falls for some cool pics. These were powerful falls. And there was nothing DRY about them… we were wet leaving there!
We then went past Bridal Veil falls. Disappointingly you cannot drive under the falls right now. Not sure why or for how long this has been a thing. Be careful where you park for pictures.
On to Highlands!
We found a cute restaurant to eat lunch. This European (German or Dutch perhaps?) server took care of us. He described to Jenny her drink was a girly drink…lol.
We then walked around downtown for about 30 minutes. So many cute shops to check out! Some were your typical downtown shops, but with a local flair. Way more than we expected to see and we would come back in a heartbeat.
On to the resort to check in. We knew this would take about 25 minutes to get there. The road is windy and beautiful. We wished we could stop in Cashiers but we were tight on time by now.
We checked in at the resort. Kimmi and one other lady got us set up and they were super friendly. It’s about 3 minutes to drive to the townhouse. Dropped off our stuff, then off to zip line!
Ziplining is right across the street from the resort check in by the way! The upper course had 12 ropes to ride down including a repelling down a tree spot. That was absolutely awesome! Our guides Zach and Blye were great and I felt secure the whole time! This took us an hour to complete.
Across the street we paid $10 each for a large bucket to gem mine. The gem mine was a small set up that may have better served kids, and the water was a bit muddy. But we still enjoyed our time with it. We found some interesting stones. Thankfully Jenny had done this before so she recognized many stones I did not.
We returned to our room after this. The rooms at this resort are mostly townhouse style. They are in blocks of 3-4 townhouses that are wound into each other. You park at the top. Walking in our door you immediately walk into a sitting area with chairs or a pull out sleeper sofa with a tv and small table.
Then you walk down stairs into the kitchen/dining room which also has a washer/dryer. The bathroom has 2 parts with a door between the shower and the toilet/sink. We stayed in a newer renovated townhouse so we did not have a tub, only a walk-in shower. The staff stated that more older guests stay here so tubs were not as useful since they cannot access them as well as a stand up shower. Hence the renovation. Our bedroom sat behind another closed door has another sink in it with a big screen TVs door a balcony looking into the peaceful woods. You could see the sun peeking through as it was on the setting side.
Dinner was at the Sapphire Valley Brewing Company, which was atop the golf course (and literally 1 minute from our room). We chose this location due to a discovery last minute that you could see the sun set from that location. We arrived just as the sun was dropping below the mountain…so I’d recommend if anyone else tries this that they get there a solid hour prior to the time sun is supposed to set because it will set at that location sooner due to the mountain it is setting behind. The food at this location was actually really good. We shared nachos and the cheesesteak wrap and both were actually really good. We sat there til 8pm. A tip is that they did indicate that we should call and double check their hours prior to going because of staffing, they may close early. They did close at 8pm which was a few hours earlier than their posted time.
To take full advantage of the amenities and due to worries of being sore after an active day, we changed into our bathing suits and drove back to the Sapphire rec center and used the jacuzzi’s inside. There are 2 6 person jacuzzis by the indoor pool. I believe there’s a hot tub outside with the 2 larger pools there.
They closed at 845/9pm. So we were able to do that for 35 minutes before closing.
The following morning we got up and made coffee in our room and drove to the boat docks. To access the Fairway lake, you take a right back out on 64 from the townhouses and go about a mile and the entrance is on the right. Follow the road and signs and you’ll reach the lake. The guy running the boat docks was running late so we got a nice walk in while waiting. We discovered that this would be a beautiful location to come watch a sunrise as well over Lonesome Mountain.
We were able to rent out a tandem kayak and spend about 30 minutes on the water. They prorated our hour so we only paid half the price, which was great. There are bathrooms on the property as well and a nice walking trail.
There were plenty of boats to use! They are only open 4 days a week this time of year, so make sure you know what days they are open and available. Right now they were supposed to be open 9am-4/5pm Sat/Sun and a few days of the week.
We left at 10am and immediately drove 25 minutes down curvy roads towards Lake Toxaway for the Whitewater Equestrian Center. Quick stop for gas and a shirt at the gas station as well (there was breakfast foods there too if you needed it).
Pulling up to the equestrian center was a nice little cabin where you check in and pay and wait. The guide comes and takes the group up and gets you set up with a short riding tutorial and training on how their horses take commands. The horses were a little tired from the previous ride just before ours, but once they got going it was pretty smooth sailing. Due to recent floods there were some changes to the trails. We did not get a beautiful view at the top of the mountain we were expecting either. But it was a nice ride. Single file riding and just enjoying the outdoors on the trail. You can pack a water and a snack in the saddle bag, but make sure its easy to eat because you’ll be bouncing.
I had brought an apple along in case I needed a snack, but instead I gave Maverick, my horse, after the ride (with permission from the guide of course).
The hour and a half ride was more like 1 hour actual riding and 30 minutes pre and post, just fyi.
We drove out to Brevard and ate soup and sandwiches at Mayberry’s (this was my 2nd time here and still amazing). And then to apple picking.
Overall we had a very adventurous and amazing time in the WNC mountains!