High Hampton Inn & Country Club
Cashiers, North Carolina

Celebrating 90 Years of Creating Generations of Vacation Memories

Story & Photos by: Ed & Fran Stone

High Hampton Inn is one of those unique golfing and vacation destinations you have to experience to appreciate the beauty of a resort located on 1,400 acres at 3,600-foot elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Cashiers, North Carolina. This vacation paradise has been around since 1922. It has created millions of memories for up to five generations returning year after year for annual family gatherings. Golfers of all playing levels can appreciate the challenges of the 18-hole course but most of all you will appreciate the history. The resort is open from late April until after Thanksgiving.

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The 35-acre spring fed Hampton Lake offers swimming, canoes, paddleboats, kayaks and fishing. Lots of places to sit, relax and enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Rock Mountain provides a commanding backdrop for most of the 18-holes on this beautiful golf course.


A BIT OF HISTORY:

Major General Wade Hampton fought in the battle of Gettysburg in 1863 and was considered one of the wealthiest men in South Carolina. He and his family enjoyed visiting Cashiers during summers to escape the heat and enjoy the beauty of the area. He built a hunting lodge in the area and called it “Hampton Place.”   He was elected governor of South Carolina in 1876 and also served as a U.S. Senator during the difficult reconstruction years. 

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The Halsteds heavily invested in the estate and today there are five State, National and/or World champion native and exotic trees providing a backdrop to the front lawn of the Inn.  Here you will find a Ginkgo, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Bald Cyprus, Copper Beech (Below) and Frasier Firs.
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The niece of Major General Hampton married Dr. William Stewart Halsted in Columbia, South Carolina. The couple spent their honeymoon at the Hampton Hunting Lodge. Dr. Halsted became a chief surgeon at Johns Hopkins and loved the Cashiers area and purchased the Hampton estate from Caroline's aunts. Taking a page from his family’s ancestral estate named "High Halsted." in England, he renamed it "High Hampton.” 

The Halsteds heavily invested in the estate and today there are five State, National and/or World champion native and exotic trees providing a backdrop to the front lawn of the Inn.  Here you will find a Ginkgo, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Bald Cyprus, Copper Beech and Frasier Firs. During the summers, the Halsteds came to Cashiers to escape the heat of Baltimore to relax and spend time gardening, raising a superior collection of dahlias, reading and expanding their real estate holdings. 

Both Dr. and Mrs. Halsted died in 1922 leaving no heirs. E.L. McKee, from the nearby town of Sylva was a businessman and industrialist. When he first saw the beautiful estate and especially the Halsted Cottage and historic Hampton Hunting Lodge, he was sold on acquiring the property.

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Clifford Meads
General Manager

The McKees constructed a two-story inn and shortly afterwards a mountain-type golf course and tennis courts. Mrs. E.L. McKee (Gertrude Dills) is distinguished by being North Carolina's first female state senator. This position allowed them to entertain many legislators, friends and family members at the High Hampton Inn.

On May 15,1932, fire destroyed the Halsted Cottage and Hampton Hunting Lodge and the Inn. All historic contents were also burned in the fire. However, the McKees began construction in the fall of 1932 of many of the buildings now in use. They were ready for occupancy by May of 1933. 

Since 2004, McKee’s grandson, William Dills McKee, Jr. has been in charge and continues to have a day-to-day involvement with the operations. However, Clifford Meads performs an outstanding job as General Manager of the Hampton Inn & Country Club.

More about the history of High Hampton Inn – CLICK HERE.

VACATION TRADITIONS:

On a recent visit, we found several families representing three and four generations of consistent annual vacations to High Hampton Inn & Country Club. The Craigs from Minnesota have been coming for over 25 years beginning with one family from Pennsylvania. Today there were 10 members enjoying all the children and family activities for the week. They enjoy meeting up with six other of the same families year after year…returning the same week as the Craigs. 

Cate from Jacksonville, FL befriended us and our Snazzy.

The Anderson family from Jacksonville, Florida had their fourth generation attending this year with more than 50 years of unbroken annual attendance and collecting great memories. Her grandmother began coming when she was a child in Atlanta. Their adorable six year-old Cate befriended us and our seven year-old Snazzy, a black and tan dachshund.

For some 50 years, the Frye family from Oak Ridge, Tennessee has been bringing three and four generations each year…usually the same week. This has become a very strong family tradition and they anticipate returning for many more years.

THE GOLF COURSE:

In 1923, J. Victor East was hired by Mr. McKee to build the golf course. After completing 11 holes, East told McKee they were out of money. McKee told East that would be all he could build. East indicated that no one has an 11-hole course…McKee told him, “I do now.” The course remained that way until 1960 when the development hired George Cobb (famous for designing the par-3 course at the August National) to design the remaining seven holes. Cobb also did some renovations on the first 11 holes and installed bent grass greens. Up until that time, the putting surface was sand.

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One of the objectives McKee wanted in a golf course was to make it enjoyable for all playing levels…especially the high handicapper. The course plays 6,012 yards from the back tees or tips. Recently Golf Digest named the number 8 hole, par 3, 137-yard, "island” hole as "One of America's Great Golf Holes." I can attest that this is not a “push over” course and will require every club in your bag. There are no sand traps or bunkers on this course. The scenic beauty of the High Hampton Golf Course matches that of any other mountain course you will play. Rock Mountain provides a commanding backdrop for most holes on the front nine of the course. Tall white pines, hemlocks, mountain laurel and mountain peaks surround the tee boxes, fairways and greens. 

Craig Hartle
Director of Golf

Craig Hartle, a class "A" P.G.A. Professional and the 2006 Georgia PGA Golf Professional of the Year is the Director of Golf at High Hampton Inn & Country Club. This affable and stalwart of a gentlemen not only fits this position perfectly, he is the epitome of a Southern Gentleman. Craig’s wife, Faith, is the Spa/Health Club Manager and they have three children, Stephen, David and Heather. 

During his college days, he played on the golf teams of Western Michigan University and Florida Southern College. He qualified for the Senior Professional National Championship in 2011 and was the Georgia P.G.A. Champion in 1986 & 1995. Craig has many winnings to his credit and is certainly a credit to High Hampton. 

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Accommodations are upscale Southeastern rustic.
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PLACES TO STAY:
Accommodations at High Hampton Inn & Country Club are upscale Southeastern rustic and is not for those who must have television, phone and air conditioning. The creature comforts are dispensed with in order to enjoy the fresh mountain air, surrounding beauty and spending quality time with your family. Just like the good ole days! Wireless Internet is available in the Inn’s spacious and cozy lobby where families gather prior to and after meals. Afternoon tea is served to guests as another tradition and a way of socializing. 

The High Hampton Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are 116 guest rooms and suites within walking distance to the main lodge and dining room. One of the nice features about High Hampton is that all guests are on the full American Plan (FAP), including three meals daily. The vacation homes on the rental program have an option to add the FAP. This is a pet friendly resort with many families opting to bring that special member of the family on vacation. 

There are some 17 cottages around the Inn and Hampton Lake perfect for large families and honeymooners. These accommodations are offered in one to 17 bedrooms.  

DINING FOR EVERY TASTE:

There is no way you can walk away from any meal at High Hampton Inn and not be pleased with your meal. All three meals in the main dining room are served buffet-style. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, there is always a wide selection of entries, side items (mostly from local grown farmers) and sumptuous desserts. We found such entries as fried chicken, local rainbow trout, and herb-crusted roasted prime rib or New York strip steak featured during the evening buffets. Beer and wine are available for the lunch and dinner meals. Men are requested to wear a jacket with tie on Friday and Saturday for dinner and jacket only is requested for Sunday through Thursday for the evening meal.

All meals are served buffet-style. Always a wide selection of entries, side items and desserts.

One of the nice features we discovered at the Hampton Market, located as part of the golf shop, is that this facility offers all kinds of fresh produce, meats, gourmet cheeses, prepared gourmet salads, party platters, wine, beer, rustic breads, desserts, dairy products, and a selection of dry goods, including organic products, and gourmet deli sandwiches. This is also where golfers can get a sandwich and beer at the turn or after a round. However, the other neat feature about the Market is they will stock your vacation rental home prior to your arrival. 

The Rock Mountain Tavern located at the Inn overlooks Hampton Lake and Rock Mountain. Here is a great place to enjoy a beverage prior to dinner or afterwards anytime from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. The Tavern offers snacks that will compliment your drinks.

ACTIVITIES FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY:

There are activities each day for every member of the family.

Be it a couple, a family of four or a reunion of 50, there are plenty of activities for everybody. As already stated, the 18-hole golf course is not only a treat to play, but challenging and fun. The five clay tennis courts are very popular at High Hampton and programs for youth and adults are available, be it lessons, round robins, or just fun play. The 35-acre spring fed Hampton Lake offers swimming, canoes, paddleboats, kayaks and fishing. The resort offers one Bocce Ball court. There are seven different hiking trails from mild to strenuous showcasing some of the Blue Ridge Mountains most scenic views. For the small fry, the Noah’s Ark children’s activity center is available most of the day and into the evening allowing the adults some time for themselves. The summer recreation program for all ages runs from mid June until mid August…offering something for all ages to enjoy. 

Throughout the season, various events are staged, such as wildflower workshops, bridge tournaments, picnics, holiday events and golf schools.

MEETING PLACE:

WiFi is available in the meeting rooms on the terrace and in the Inn’s Lobby.

For those gatherings of 20 to 200 people, High Hampton Inn is an ideal place to find less distraction and more focus on the purpose of meeting. The setting is ideal for concentration on sharing, learning, teaching or just honing your skills. There are several rooms and spaces just right for the meeting planner. Here is what we found:

  • The Pavilion can handle up to 150 in a classroom setting or up to 200 theater-style. 
  • The Wade Hampton Room will accommodate up to 150.
  • The Rock Mountain Annex will hold 10 to 15 people and the Rock Mountain Tavern or Lakeside Laurel Garden are great places for breakout sessions and themed dinners. 
  • There is WiFi in the meeting rooms on the terrace and in the Inn’s Lobby.

(To download the High Hampton Inn’s meeting brochure as a pdf, CLICK HERE.)

PLACES NEARBY:

Don’t miss visiting the small town of Cashiers, population 157…about a mile from the Inn featuring various boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and caf├ęs. Rather than list all the local restaurants, we provide a website link from the Chamber of Commerce…CLICK HERE

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Hiking trails galore for those wanting to explore the beauty of the area.

There is one other golf course in the area open to the public. Sapphire National Golf Club is located in the Sapphire Valley about 10 miles from the High Hampton Inn. Golf Digest has rated it as a 4 ½ star course and recently the club completed a multi-million dollar renovation. 

A General in the Civil War, Governor and Senator of South Carolina and a lover of the great outdoors, Wade Hampton could not fathom his name being associated with such a wonderful place for generation of families to spend their vacations. And, we wonder if Dr. William Stewart Halsted could imagine his beautiful estate becoming such a place for creating lifetime of memories by so many people? However, Mr. & Mrs. E.L. McKee did have the pleasure and enjoyment of seeing the High Hampton Inn become a reality and successful vacation mountain resort. Today, their grandson, William Dills McKee, Jr. continues to carry the mantle of all those who have dreamed, toiled and sacrificed to make and keep a special place for more generations to create memories for a lifetime. 

“The cool mountain breezes continue to blow and refresh just as they did in Wade Hampton's time. It is refreshing to find a place where very little changes except the seasons.” 
 


 

Watch a short viedo about the High Hampton Inn, Cashiers, NC
CLICK HERE FOR YOUTUBE VIDEO

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The High Hampton Inn & Country Club
1525 Highway 107 South
Cashiers, NC 28717-0338
Website: www.HighHamptonInn.com

Reservations:
Phone: (800) 334-2551
E-Mail: reservations@highhamptoninn.com

Information:
Phone: (828) 743-2411
E-Mail: info@highhamptoninn.com

Pro Shop/Tee Times:
Phone: (828) 743-2450

Group Sales and Events:
Caroline Grogan
Phone: (828) 743-1893