High Hampton Inn is not your typical Mountain Inn. It’s more like a throwback to a 50’s family resort in the Catskills, similar to the one seen in the movie Dirty Dancing. For those who don’t know the 80’s movie, think upscale family camp where the rooms contain no tv’s or phone, but do have private baths and fireplaces, and the bell rings to signal family meal time. Unlike camp though, evening meals require men and boys to wear jackets and ladies a dress or nice slacks. There is a set menu for each meal that varies by day. Each meal is served buffet style with lots of choices. Breakfast we loved, however some evenings, the menu’s kid-friendly fare was a bit sparser than other days. Also note, this is a dry county, however the Inn does have a bar and a marketplace where you can buy beer and wine. Daily activities are posted in the lodge, those with a fee are marked with an asterisk. Sign-up sheets are available on a nearby table.
High Hampton Inn is all about slowing down and enjoying simple family time outdoors. My boys immediately found the inside of a 100+ year old boxwood, climbing it’s branches and marveling that this tree could be the same as the tiny bushes that grace our front yard. There are lots of giant trees to climb and play inside at High Hampton Inn. The front lawn contains a rare combination of specimens including a Ginkgo, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Bald Cyprus, fiery Copper Beech and one of America’s largest (and award winning) Frasier Firs.
In addition to planned activities, climbing trees and hiking trails, there are water related distractions like fishing, non-motorized boating and swimming on Hampton Lake. Next to the boat and swimming dock is a unique playground made from ropes and tree trunks that fits into the rustic natural environment. Each evening, family activities take place in the lodge. My boys enjoyed being the “jockey” for horse racing; and Bingo was even more fun, since we won a few dollars.
Just wandering the beautiful mountain property is an adventure. Before you head out, get an apple form the front desk and bring it to the resident donkeys, Ed and Fred. On Saturday and Wednesday, enjoy donkey cart rides on the side lawn. On property is a Dahlia garden where guests are invited to come and pick flowers in season. The garden has been re-planted for more than 100 years straight to the enjoyment of generations of guests. For more information on the garden, visit the High Hampton blog. A self-guided tour map is available at the front desk. Pair it with the brochure on “A brief History of High Hampton” and you have a mini-history lesson.
A trip to Cashiers wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the mountains surrounding the resort. Don’t miss Sliding Rock about three minutes from the Inn. This was my boys favorite activity and we spent several hours sliding down the rock and exploring the pools. Be careful, another name for Slide Rock is Bust Your Butt Falls. I learned first-hand about this name when I slipped on the rocks and went flying down into the icy water below to the amusement of my children. If you’re planning a day-trip, let the kitchen know by 8 pm the night before and they’ll pack a hearty box lunch for you to take along.
High Hampton Inn also has a list of scenic Water Falls near the resort. Before heading out, ask the concierge if it’s an appropriate hike for your family. We visited Whitewater Falls which was beautiful but a more strenuous hike, sometimes across rock outcrops. Fun for older kids, tweens and teens, but not appropriate for toddlers or preschoolers.
For a little alone time, put the kids in the kids program called Noah’s Ark and head to the spa. Kids can be dropped off for an hour or two or the day. High Hampton is one of a few places that offer Ashiatsu massages. Ashiatsu is a deep tissue massage that utilizes the therapists feet rather than hands. I like a deep tissue massage and overall it was wonderful, but there were a few times when it felt a bit crushing. If you’d rather be active, High Hampton Inn has a golf course and numerous tennis courts too.
Although we were provided a complimentary room and admissions for the purpose of reviewing (as is common in the travel industry), we only recommend places we would stay and products we would use