Spa Lovers: Go to Highlands. You’ll Thank Me Later

highlands spa

“It’s a surprise,” he said with twinkling green eyes as he tucked me into the passenger seat and gently closed the door. My ridiculously huge grin gave away my glee… I do love surprises!

We drove for an hour and a half, winding our way across the state border and into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, arriving at the über charming town of Highlands.

“Look how beautiful that building is!” I said, staring at the castle-like stone building sprawled across several blocks

“That’s where we’re going,” Kary said.

highlands spa

Photo ©Kary Kern

The building was the Old Edwards Inn and Spa, a luxurious European-style resort nestled in a plateau of the mountains. It was named by Conde Nast as the Top Hotel Spa in North America.

The next few hours engulfed me in the most extravagant pampering experience of my life. I was indulged in whirlpools, fluffy robe, massages, prosecco, lunch (in our robes) on the terrace, you name it. Can you say S.P.O.I.L.E.D.?

“What did I do to deserve all of this? I asked.

“We made it,” he said. “We’re celebrating.”

His nearly four month deployment in Korea had not been easy, but we’d been determined to turn the time to our advantage and deepen our relationship. Thank God for Skype, email, and private messaging! And (reluctantly have to shout out) to USPS for – albeit slowly – delivering my bi-weekly care packages filled to the brim with homemade brownies and cookies, and numerous non-edible treasures to remind him of home and the fabulous life we live and would resume upon his return. Keeping his morale soaring became my #1 priority.

highlands spa

Photo ©Kary Kern

We climbed the steps and were immediately drawn in by the roaring fireplace and old world charm of what would historically be called the “keeping room.”

Let the pampering begin!

Some of the features to enjoy at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa:


Since I did not know where I was going, I did not bring anything at all with me. Not to worry… the huge, glitzy women’s salon was equipped with all manner of hair dryers and straighteners, shampoo, lotions and nail services. It also has a relaxingly warm whirlpool that I dipped into before donning my fluffy robe and heading to the lounge.

Fireside Lounge

highlands spa

Photo ©Old Edwards Inn

Upon arrival, you’re given a fluffy robe to change into, a steaming cup of hot tea (I chose Chai), and led to cozy lounge area, where you can sit in front of the fireplace, or, as I chose, on a cushy chaise in front of windows that look out to the mountains or over the roofs to the quaint downtown below.

Couples Massage

The Bliss Massage is indulgence times two. The dimmed couples’ suite has two tables, soft music, candles, and aromatherapy. Each person chooses what style of massage they want and they are applied side-by-side by individual masseuse or masseur.

Rainfall and Swiss Showers

The Swiss shower has 14 shower heads; the Rainfall Room is an exotic steam chamber with a variety of self-applied aromatic washes, scrubs and detoxifying mud which individuals or couples can take into the shower for rainfall or pulse-point rinses.

The Spa Café

highlands spa

Photo ©Kary Kern

Following our pampering, we walked hand-in-hand to the café for a light lunch of pumpkin soup, plate of cheeses, scrumptious chicken salad, and bubbly glass of prosecco. Visitors have their choice of sitting in the outdoor terrace by the stone fireplace and turrets, or the indoor patio surrounded by windows.

highlands spa

Photo ©Kary Kern


The Inn has rooms that are fitted with period antiques, European bedding, plush robes, rainfall showers, and private terraces with rooftop views.

highlands spa

I was a limp noodle, stopping to sit in the giant chair before leaving.

After our half-day luxuriating in the spa atmosphere, we walked along artsy Main Street, window shopping and browsing the antique treasures, funky art glass sculptures and other boutique shops, before resting with a steaming cup of India Monsoon Malabar coffee and sigh-worthy maple fudge.


Photo ©Kary Kern

With renewed energy, we drove over to Whitewater Falls. The Blue Ridge Mountain area of North Carolina is photogenic at any time of year, but right now, the leaves were just barely past peak, but still tenuously hanging on to the last splashes of vibrant color.

highlands spa

Photo ©Kary Kern

highlands spa

The viewpoint for the falls is just a short uphill hike, with benches strategically placed at beautiful overlooks for anyone needing to catch a breath.


Photo ©Kary Kern


“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, it is that they seize us.” ~Ashley Montagu


Highlands NC



  1. What a wonderful getaway. You two are filled with so much romance-I love it! Wondered where you had disappeared to-now I know!

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      It’s only been a few days… but I know, that’s a long time for me to be away from Facebook! Had a fabulous time in Highlands… so spoiled!

  2. What a fabulous treat! You soooooooo deserve this kind of joy, and I wish you many more fluffy robes, fireplaces and pampering sessions.
    Penny recently posted…You Don’t Have to Be Catholic to Fall in Love with the Vatican:My Profile

  3. Great post, Patti, and I’m so glad you had a wonderful spa day with your sweetie. I shall have to look up the Old Edwards Inn & Spa in Highlands. Since I began travel writing (about 20 years ago), I’ve slowly learned to really love spa time, and more recently, search out every spa offering chocolate spa treatments that I can get to. :-)
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a visit to Cailler Chocolate in BrocMy Profile

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      You are definitely the queen of chocolate, in all of it’s forms, Doreen! I’m such a restless spirit, it was wonderful to just relax and enjoy my time in Highlands.

  4. You forced me (in a good way) to go to Googlemaps to see how far Highlands Spa is from my bestie who lives in Hendersonville, NC. Looks like a trip to NC is going to be in the cards for me soon! Thanks for sharing!
    Vicki Winters recently posted…Boracay #1 Island In The World 2016 Conde Nast TravelerMy Profile

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      Haha! As I said, Vicki, you’ll thank me later! I can guarantee you’ll have a fabulous time in Highlands!

  5. What a fabulously romantic getaway! So happy that you and Kary are together again! But I think I must be missing the back-story on this one…:-)
    Irene S. Levine recently posted…Oh, what a night! Celebrating the bounty of Emilia RomagnaMy Profile

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      He’s in the Air National Guard and was deployed to South Korea for almost 4 months. When he got home I was in China for 2 weeks. Finally reunited… and the spa in Highlands was a surprise. So fun!

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