From hiking in the North Georgia mountains to exploring history in nearby Birmingham, day trips from Atlanta abound. But when you want the perfect destination for a long weekend, look no further than Highlands, NC and the Old Edwards Inn & Spa.
Little more than two hours north of Atlanta (roughly 130 miles) and about 75 miles southwest of Asheville, NC--an art lover's paradise--on the southern plateau of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this charming inn is perfect for a girls' only weekend that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.
Relaxed luxury is the name of the game. Expect beautifully landscaped grounds brimming with artsy shops and galleries, elegant dining and (best of all!) a world-class spa--one of the best in the state--all set to a pristine mountain backdrop.
The complimentary champagne arrival amenity helps, too. So what are you waiting for? We've created the perfect weekend itinerary for a girlfriend getaway to remember.
Check into Your Luxurious Room
The rooms at this charming resort are comfy and plush (think cozy European bedding and fine Italian linens, rainfall showers, and heated marble floors and private patios or terraces), perfect for unwinding with the girls. You can choose a suite from the Historic Inn, The Lodge, Falls Cottages and Guest Estates (best for large groups)--each guestroom has its own personality, and all feature hand-selected period antiques by owner Angela Williams, who travels throughout Europe seeking the best of the best.
For a more affordable visit, we recommend the Lodge's Deluxe Double Double room, which sleeps 4*, complete with a spacious living area boasting a fireplace and plasma TV.
*Be forewarned: Nightly room rates are based on accommodations for two guest, so even though the rooms are made to sleep 4 adults, you'll have to pay $75 per night for each additional guest over the age of 17 occupying the room.
Start With Dinner at Madison's
Keep things simple on your first night at Old Edwards, and head down to the on-site restaurant, Madison's, for farm-fresh cuisine, complete with a Wine Spectator awarded wine list and panoramic views of the Wine Garden (perfect for evenings when dining al fresco comes calling).
Start with a selection of artisan charcuterie and cheese with breads, crackers and condiments before moving on to a decadent Painted Hills beef tartare, served with aged balsamic, farm egg and grilled mountain bread.
The 48-hour braised beef short rib is a can't miss, but for those craving something lighter, go for the local trout with sweet potato mash, fermented cabbage, cherry tomato and olive tapenade, roasted baby squash and grilled eggplant.
Finish with their signature chocolate chip pie--it's as good as it sounds!
A nightcap at Hummingbird Lounge is a must--whether you opt for one of the craft cocktails or a glass of champagne. Live entertainment rounds out the experience on Friday and Saturday nights.
Kick off the Morning with Yoga at The Fitness Center
Work off last night's meal with a complimentary yoga class at the resort's state-of-the-art fitness center, featuring TECHNOGYM cardio equipment, personal training, weight training and a full schedule of movement classes, alongside an outdoor workout terrace. Guests can also enjoy several clay tennis courts and three seasonal, heated mineral outdoor swimming pools (weather permitting).
Spend the Afternoon Relaxing at the Spa
No girls trip is complete without a visit to the Spa. And the massive oasis you'll find at Old Edwards provides enough relaxation and activity that you can easily spend the entire day indulging.
Nestled among stunning architectural elements of indigenous wood and local stone, The Spa's relaxation rooms promise pure bliss with fireplaces, cozy lounge chairs and soothing water features in the two serenity solariums. Plan to spend at least an hour here unwinding before your treatment(s!)--go for the Sweet Mountain Metamorphosis (110 minutes of cleansing, dry brushing and massage).
After your massage, head to the wet room, where you'll find rainfall showers, whirlpools, steam rooms and a sauna, perfect for detoxing and relaxing.
In between pampering, be sure to grab lunch at the Spa Café, where fresh juices and smoothies co-mingle with bright salads and healthy proteins.
Shop Around Town
Though Old Edwards offers everything you could ever need on-site, it's worth stepping off grounds for a few hours to take in the warm and artsy town of Highlands. Main Street is home to dozens of shops and galleries, perfect for antiquing, plus delicious dining.
Soak up the Sun at the Pool
On your last day, go for a hike in the morning--the surrounding mountains are ripe with trails, rivers, and waterfalls--before heading to the resort's two outdoor heated mineral pools. You'll also find whirlpools and cozy fireplaces, or curl up in one of the luxe cabanas and soak up the sun before heading back to reality.