Blue Ridge Magic
In Cashiers, North Carolina, the Idyllic Mountain Lifestyle Becomes a Reality
As the golden hue of early evening sets in, Cashiers, North Carolina’s Village Green is filled with music. Scattered across the field, attendees spread out blankets, unpacking small bites and bottles of fine wine from their picnic baskets. A cool breeze whispers overhead, mingling with the chatter of neighbors and friends. On the outskirts, folks order cuisine and brews from local vendors while a bluegrass band warms up onstage. The occasion? Cashiers’ outdoor concert series, Groovin’ on the Green, which takes place in the heart of town every Friday night of the summer. The sky above the valley is putting on its own show, turning from pink and gold to silky blue and revealing a dizzying sheet of stars. A weekly tradition is in full swing.
Tucked amid the southern end of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains is the village of Cashiers, an enchanting oasis perched 3,484 feet above sea level that has lured families, couples, and adventurers for some two hundred years. Bordered by the Nantahala National Forest and dotted with lakes, the eclectic small town boasts an easy yet elegant charm, surrounded at every turn by wildflower meadows, dramatic peaks, pastoral valleys, and lush green spaces. When newcomers fall under its spell, McKee Properties is there to greet them.
“Many areas in the southeastern United States can offer a retreat from the pace of everyday life, but Cashiers is unique in that it offers a relaxing escape and easy elegance every season of the year,” Ann McKee Austin says. A community leader and co-owner of McKee Properties, Austin spent her summers living and working in Cashiers Valley. To the McKee family, the area is much more than a collection of stunning homes. The family’s roots in the valley date back to the early 1900s, granting them a unique understanding of the land and its people, not to mention a particular reverence for the magic of this place. “When you consider the unmatched beauty of our mountain plateau, the history of our village, and the fine choices for dining, shopping, and outdoor activities, you realize how truly special Cashiers is,” explains Liz Harris, co-owner/broker of McKee Properties.
Austin’s brother, the late A. William McKee, saw Cashiers’ potential decades ago, and in 1977 founded his real estate business to share the wealth with others seeking an escape. Knowing the quiet mountaintop town would hold a contagious sense of wonder, McKee built the group’s reputation not only by representing the region’s premier properties, but by fostering a genuine sense of belonging for those who visited or moved to the village. The firm has held fast to those values, watching them permeate the community as it bloomed.
A champion of responsible development, William McKee was intentional from the start about preserving what made Cashiers special: its sprawling natural beauty. In time, his work in this space made the McKee name synonymous with innovation and excellence. Golf Digest lists the Wade Hampton Golf Club, a McKee-developed community with a Tom-Fazio–designed course, in its top twenty best golf courses in the country. The residential community’s exceptional golf amenities led Golfweek to name the course number one on its list of residential links. With eleven distinguished courses within a few miles of each other, Cashiers delivers world class golf with a side of fresh mountain air.
“William’s understanding of the land, coupled with his deep desire to nurture Cashiers as a welcoming community, helped this pocket of Western North Carolina grow into a beloved locale,” says Beth Townsend, co-owner/broker of McKee Properties. His robust vision saw Cashiers as a four-season destination with outdoor splendor to be enjoyed year-round. Today, mountain biking enthusiasts are enamored with the rugged trails of Panthertown Valley and beyond, and during spring and summer months, visitors and locals alike take to the waterfall trails. Breathtaking landmarks such as Rainbow Falls, Silver Run Falls, and Cullasaja Falls present majestic cascades, while Lake Glenville’s glassy waters make for a pristine centerpiece.
No matter the season, visitors enter Cashiers via winding, scenic highways, taking in rich foliage, shocks of autumn color, or shimmering banks of snow. Colder months offer ample opportunity to take up winter sports at locales such as the 5,700- acre Sapphire Valley Ski Resort, where slopes await skiers of all skill levels. During warmer months, the Cashiers Farmer’s Market peddles local delicacies and gourmet goods from its home in a quaint log cabin, while neighboring restaurants like Slab Town Pizza and the Ugly Dog Pub offer a warm welcome year-round. All the while, the community’s burgeoning art and music scene is centered on the Village Green, a thirteen-acre park hosting more than eighty outdoor visual arts and music events throughout the year.
With its vast natural beauty and peaceful smalltown charm, Cashiers unfurls as a one-of-a-kind retreat bathed in Blue Ridge serenity. At the heart of it all lies the thoughtful guidance of McKee Properties, pairing families with their ideal homes for nearly four decades. Dedicated to living well and celebrating the land, McKee Properties serves as a reminder that a blissful mountain lifestyle isn’t out of reach.