Cabin stays get a seductive overhaul at Flat Mountain Farm. This refined-yet-rustic retreat set around a lake is home to two stellar log cabins – both antique originals – with interiors inspired by Ralph Lauren and J Crew that come with the finest fabrics and linens, one-off pieces of furniture, top-notch bathrooms and all mod-cons, including a private hot tub on the terrace. Fishing and hiking are at hand for country purists; for those less convinced, the urban delights of Highlands are close by, including a choice of restaurants for dinner – after you’ve hired a chef for a private cabin meal, that is.
10am at the Wren; 11am at the Kingfisher. Earliest check-in, 3pm at the Wren; 4pm at the Kingfisher.
Double rooms from £445.81 ($555), including tax at 9.75 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of $250.00 per booking on check-out.
Rates exclude all meals and there’s a housekeeping fee (from $200).
With their sons in tow, owners Margaret and Chris moved to Flat Mountain Farm in 2019: they are the design duo behind Shutze Studio with a wealth of experience in creating beautiful furniture and interiors for the hospitality industry and elsewhere.
At the hotel
Trout fishing lake, canoe to borrow, events barn, cut-flower garden, private hot tub at each cabin. In cabins: washing machine and dryer, free WiFi, TV, drip coffee maker (and filters), coffee creamer and sugar, free tea, Lather bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Polished interiors, generous proportions and a solid ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms at both cabins make them equals in our affections: it’s headcount that should determine your preference.
Relaxing soaks come courtesy of a hot tub on your private terrace.
A local therapist can bring her massage table to you, inside your cabin or on the terrace: she offers deep tissue or Swedish massage, cranio-sacral treatments or reiki.
Boots for the forest trails, shawls for the porch or around the firepit, swimming togs for lake dips and spa trips.
Rest easy at the Wren: although it’s opposite the barn, it’s only available to book when there are no events going on. The antique nature of both cabins means that unfortunately neither is wheelchair accessible.
You can bring your dog for a flat fee of $200, as long as your dog is healthy, flea and tick free, up to date on vaccines and can meet Flat Mountain Farm's pet rules (see booking terms and conditions). See more pet-friendly hotels in Highlands.
Under 14s are very welcome (older teens are charged as adults); the family-friendly cabins sleep up to six and eight respectively; babysitting can be arranged at extra cost.
Children older than six are best placed to enjoy the rustic setting and handle the unfenced ponds at the farm; they’re also better suited to its peaceful vibe.
The Kingfisher sleeps ten and has a second-floor bunk room with four singles that’s ideal for little Smiths. At the Wren, which sleeps up to six, a second bedroom and second living room upstairs sleep up to four children.
There’s no crèche or kids club at Flat Mountain Farm.
Fishing, canoeing, hiking.
Unfenced ponds and a fishing lake at Flat Mountain Farm are not designed for dipping, but each cabin has a hot tub and there’s a swimming lake with a beach at nearby Cliffside.
The self-catering set-up at the cabins is ultra child-friendly, but you’ll need to bring all the kit for the littlest of Smiths.
Flat Mountain Farm can arrange babysitting at extra cost.
No need to pack
A canoe: firstly, it wouldn’t fit; secondly, there’s one to borrow by the lake.
The cabins may be vintage, but their insulation, windows and light fittings offer thoroughly modern energy conservation. Pod coffee machines are eschewed in favour of less wasteful drip coffee makers. There’s spring water on tap here (no need for bottled water). Wood for the firepits comes from the farm – cut flowers arranged in the cabins are grown at Flat Mountain, too.
There’s no restaurant at Flat Mountain Farm; both cabins, however, are equipped with kitchens fit for a chef – so you could always hire a private one to cook you a fabulous feast to linger over on your private terrace.
Stock up on craft beers from Asheville Brewing Co and Highland Brewing, plus Yadkin Valley wines – there’s no bar nor alcohol provision at Flat Mountain Farm.
Flat Mountain Farm is north of Highlands in North Carolina, surrounded by temperate rainforest in the southern Appalachians.
Atlanta International is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the hotel. Regional airports nearby include Asheville (an hour and a half away by road) and Greenville-Spartanburg (under two hours away).
There’s ample parking by each cabin.
Helicopters can land at Flat Mountain Farm; Macon County airport (for private jet transfers) is 40 minutes away by road.
Worth getting out of bed for
We don’t use the words bucolic idyll lightly… Flat Mountain Farm has a cut-flower garden that supplies materials to floral workshops at the farm. Take the Ranger Falls trail to Cliffside Lake, a swimming spot with a sandy beach. Nearby Dry Falls is named for the fact you can walk behind the waterfall. Hardy hikers should make a date with Whiteside Mountain Trail, which, although it has tricky sections, rewards you with breathtaking panoramas. Take a guided road trip on either a rainforest tour or a private tour tailored to include as much sightseeing, boating, kayaking or hiking as you wish. Restorative treatments (and a top-notch café) await at the spa at Old Edwards Inn. For foraging trips, cookery classes or workshops, Kristin at the Barn in Cullowhee has you covered (book well ahead).
The fairylight-strewn deck at Wolfgang’s in Highlands is a romantic spot for dinner; signature dishes include braised short rib and wiener schnitzel – leave room for frozen peanut butter pie or the chef’s apple strudel. A lively spot with casual dining, Four65 Woodfire Bistro + Bar in Highlands is one of Margaret and Chris’s regular haunts, serving wood-fired pizza, griddled sandwiches and salads, alongside craft cocktails. In a scenic spot, fringed by forest and overlooking Mirror Lake, On the Verandah offers fine dining at linened tables or on the wooden deck: linger over dishes including Maine lobster piccata, Creole chicken or filet mignon with brandy cream.
At coffee o’clock, head to Calders, which serves breakfast bagels and tempting pastries alongside excellent brews. Terrace tables at Blue Bike Cafe are a sunny spot for a brunch of pancakes, omelettes, avocado on toast or biscuit, sausage and eggs.
Burgers and beers are staples of Highlands public house, the Ugly Dog.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this rural retreat in North Carolina and unpacked their banjo picks and hiking boots, a full account of their country break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Flat Mountain Farm near Highlands…
No clichés here: love at first sight is a credible response to the meticulously dressed vintage log cabins at Flat Mountain Farm. Ribboned by streams and hiking trails, this finessed country stay in the rhododendron-covered Appalachian mountains of North Carolina is a serene setting for two antique cabins set around a trout lake. So far, so rustic. But their polished interiors are triumphs of taste with catwalk credentials, deftly curated by owners Margaret and Chris Shutze, who together create bespoke interiors for a living. Both cabins are home to unique furniture, designer fabrics and papers, Italian linens, marble ensuites and statement lighting – all of which complement retained period features such as exposed beams and vaulted ceilings. Take the resident canoe for a paddle on the lake, hike the forest trails or head into Highlands for shopping and lunch. Return to your designer homestead where a private chef (booked independently) can prepare dinner to savour on the terrace before you retire to the porch for cards with a side of bourbon. This is rustic romance at its most relaxed and stylish.