Transport yourself to the mountain community of Highland County, Virginia. Nestled in the western elevations of the state, it’s hard to match the solitude of this peaceful, picturesque part of the Commonwealth. The area’s outstanding views are matched by the rural charm of its locally owned restaurants, quaint shops, serene accommodations, and annual events.
Hungry? Restaurant staples like High’s Restaurant and Hull’s Hideaway provide downhome country dining. Newer establishments like The Curly Maple, Claire’s Cakes & Café, and the Monterey Inn bring sweet and savory options.Thirsty? Grab an award-winning glass of craft cider from Big Fish Cider, Co. Want to shop? Jenny Wren Gatherings or Ginseng Mountain Store provide local goods, The 3rd Space and The Highland Center sell community art, and restored century-old buildings like the Blue Grass Mercantile or Sugar Tree Country Store transport you back in time. Grab groceries at Grant’s Grocery, Rexrode’s Country Store, or the newly opened Highland Roots Market. Need a place to stay? Country inns, farm stays, and cabins dot the hillsides and small towns to experience a getaway that is void of both light and noise pollution. Amidst the county’s dark skies, many guests recall seeing the Milky Way for their very first time on the East Coast!
Looking for activities? From sunrise to sunset, visitors seeking a free thrill can climb over 100 steps up the Sounding Knob Fire Tower for outstanding 360-degree views – and wobbly legs! Every month, The Highland County Arts Council hosts live entertainment as part of their Second Saturday @ 7 Concert Series. Area hikes can be found in the Virginia’s Western Highlands Hiking, Biking, and Riding Trail Guide, including the McDowell Battlefield Hike that displays educational interpretive signage regarding the Civil War. Highland County is home to Virginia’s first Barn Quilt Trail, allowing travelers the chance to find around 60 colorful wooden barn quilts and to discover the compelling stories behind each one. In the summer months, visit two educational museums of the Highland County Museum and Charles Pinckney Jones House Museum. Plus, Highland County is an excellent basecamp for a short drive to surrounding regional tourist favorites like The Omni Homestead Resort’s Warm Spring Pools in neighboring Bath County, Virginia or Snowshoe Mountain Resort and Seneca Rocks in West Virginia.
Winter traditions provide lasting memories and fun! Come for Big Fish Cider’s Wassail on February 17, 2024 to live out the fun annual fun re-creation of an old English custom that includes scaring away evil orchard spirits and blessing the apple trees for the upcoming harvest.
No visit to Highland County is complete without taking home pure Virginia maple syrup! You can buy directly from a local maple producer, or come on out during the second and third weekends in March to be a part of the 2023 Best Unique Festival as voted by readers in the Best of the Blue Ridge’s 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards. Virginia’s sweetest event of the year is the annual Highland County Maple Festival, set for March 9 – 10 and 16 – 17, 2024! Since 1959, travelers have been visiting real maple sugar camps for a cultural and culinary adventure. Discover how maple syrup is made from tap to bottle with free tours. There are pancake and buckwheat cake meals, famous maple doughnuts, live entertainment, and over 100 high-quality juried arts & crafts vendors that take part in the festival each year.
Highland County is your destination for getting away from it all!