A cool Tuesday afternoon finds my husband and me in our car, zigzagging across the Blue Ridge bound for a mid-week respite at Half-Mile Farm in Highlands, North Carolina. Just before the main intersection of the little mountain town, we catch sight of the Half-Mile Farm sign, after a few turns off US-64W. The gravel driveway loops lazily past three cabins—individually owned, but part of the inn’s offerings—and a six-acre lake before landing us under the inn’s elegant white porte-cochere.
Room & Board // A spectacular view of Apple Lake along with luxurious amenities, nightly hors d’oeurves, and a complimentary two-course breakfast guarantee that guests of Half-Mile Farm will leave their cares behind.
Inside the renovated 1882 farmhouse, innkeeper Vivian Littlejohn greets us with a warm smile and explains the amenities available to her sole guests for the night: wine and hors-d’oeuvres in the living room at 5:30 p.m.; fresh-baked cookies—and milk, if you wish—before bedtime; and a delicious, complimentary two- course breakfast prepared by Chef Jason in the light-filled dining room in the morning.
A pixie of a woman with twinkling blue eyes and a charming Georgia drawl, Vivian leads the way to our courtyard room, which is one of 11 in the courtyard buildings; there are another four upstairs in the original house. She pauses in the breezeway to point out the pantry and bid us help ourselves to snacks, sodas, and water.
In our room, Littlejohn demonstrates the remotes for the replace, TV, and temperature gauge. A matelassé spread covers the bed, and drawers are built into a wall next to the replace. The Keurig coffeemaker rests on a side table, a spacious jetted tub awaits in the bathroom, and a small balcony faces an expanse of green woodland. The overall effect—one of rustic luxury.
As much as Half-Mile Farm seems to have been plopped in from another world, it’s only a five-minute drive to the myriad shops and restaurants on Highlands’ Main Street. Guests have access to all the amenities of the farm’s sister property, Old Edwards Inn, including Madison’s Restaurant, the Wine Garden, the spa and fitness center, and golf at the nearby Old Edwards Club.
Comfort(er) Zone // Visitors to Half-Mile have their pick of cottage, courtyard, or farmhouse rooms, as well as access to the copious amenities offered by sister property Old Edwards Inn—just a few miles down the road in Highlands.
The farm has had a series of owners throughout the years, including Jack Henry who added the two courtyard wings with his complete renovation in 1999. Seven years later, Henry sold the inn to the Messer family, who ran it until the Old Edwards Hospitality Group purchased the property in 2015.
The rhododendrons and mountain laurel rimming the property burst with purple and pale pink blooms, and two bright red canoes beckon from their dock on Apple Lake. I imagine the landscape would be equally appealing in winter, when you could cuddle up in front of the parlor’s stacked-stone replace with a glass of wine and a view of the lake.
Although Half-Mile Farm has long entertained guests as an inn, the homespun ambiance from its days as a private residence remains—both in the décor and the sincere hospitality of the staff. “We treat you like you’re family come to visit,” says Vivian Littlejohn. “We just don’t make you do dishes.”