Engaging Enrichment

An active and engaging life with opportunities to grow and expand our knowledge and interest is important at all ages. Highlands is the perfect environment to release your mind from everyday rigors and immerse yourself in the luxury of programs and events that assist you in a life with purpose.

Literary and Historical Enrichment


Enrichment Content 1The Highlands Historical Society's Historic Village is located at 524 N. 4th Street in Highlands, North Carolina. It is composed of (1) the Prince House, (2) the Highlands Historical Museum and Archives, and (3) the Highlands Sanatorium Tent or Bug Hill Cottage. The Elizabeth Wright Prince House is the oldest existing house in Highlands, built in 1877 by millwright Arthur House, and serves as a living history museum. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 2017.

The Highlands Historical Museum and Archives was originally constructed in 1915 on Main Street to house the Hudson Library, one of the oldest libraries in the State, and was moved in 2002 to the south side of the Village to serve the community as a state-of-the-art museum and archives.

The Highlands Sanatorium Tent was one of 60 open-air cubicles built in 1908 at today's Recreation Park for patients under the care of Dr. Mary E. Lapham, whose TB sanatorium was one of the first in North Carolina. Although moved to Chestnut Street when the sanatorium ("Bug Hill") burned in 1918, it was returned to its original site in 2006 to memorialize Dr. Lapham's role as a devoted savior of many Highlanders from the most virulent and dreaded disease of early twentieth-century America.



Open to the public, our Library serves residents and visitors with the Latest Fiction and Nonfiction best-sellers, mysteries, literary fiction, audiobooks, DVDs and Blu-Rays, Music, current Newspapers and Magazines, free Wireless Internet Access free Notary Services, Comfortable Reading Room with Fireplace, Large Community Space for Private and Nonprofit Groups, Public-Use computers and printer, Technology Assistance, Fun Children's Play Room and Story Times, Educational Computers and Tablets just for Kids, Access to eBooks, eAudiobooks, Digital Magazines, streamed movies and a Local History Collection.



The Highlands Writers group is a longstanding collective of published and unpublished writers in the Highlands area that meet weekly to share ideas, provide feedback, and practice their writing craft. Tuesdays; 3:00 – 5:00 pm at The Bascom



The Literacy Council is a nonprofit whose mission is to enrich lives and expand the knowledge of children, adults, families in Macon County, NC through diverse educational programs.



A spirited group of literary seekers gather on a monthly basis to share their experience with literature. At The Bascom Monthly, Fourth Thursdays, May – October

Nature and Environmental Enrichment


The mission of the Society is to provide opportunities to enjoy and learn about birds and other wildlife and to promote conservation and restoration of the habitats that support them.



The Highlands Biological Station (HBS) is a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University. It is made up of the Highlands Nature Center, Laboratory, and Botanical Garden are part of the Station, which is supported in part by the Highlands Biological Foundation. Our mission is: To foster research and education focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau, while preserving and celebrating the integrity of the “biological crown of the southern Appalachian Mountains.”

Highlands Biological Station realizes its mission of education and research broadly through (1) support of scientific research and graduate training, (2) Station-sponsored field-centered courses and hosting visiting academic groups, and (3) diverse outreach programming for regional K-12 schools and the local community and life-long-learners. Explore our featured exhibits, special events and year-round school education programming that focuses on the spectacular biodiversity of the southern Appalachian region. If you have questions about hours, events, or other topics, please contact the Nature Center at 828.526.2623.



The mission of Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust (HCLT) is "to protect valuable natural resources for all generations." HCLT conserves over 3200 acres of forests, wetlands, and vistas that are home to the greatest number of rare and endemic plants and animals in the Southern Appalachians.

The Highlands-Cashiers plateau sits at the headwaters of six different watersheds so conserving land here protects drinking water throughout the southeast. These are just some of the reasons our mountains are special and why it is so important that we protect them. Maps are available to explore parks and trails open to the public.


Arts and Craft Enrichment


The Western North Carolina Woodturners are a group of craftsmen committed to sharing and learning the art of woodturning. 

Through monthly meetings with demos and discussions, the Western North Carolina Woodturners create a fun and educational community of passionate turners in the Western North Carolina region. Monthly, Second Saturdays; 10 am – 12 pm; March – November,



During the season, the Art League of Highlands-Cashiers, a longstanding community partner of The Bascom, holds their monthly meeting at The Bascom, featuring a guest artist. Each 5:00 pm event is preceded by a 4:30 pm social with refreshments, free and open to the public. Select Mondays, May – September,



The Bascom Community Knitters are an eclectic and enthusiastic community of knitters and needle workers who come together weekly to share patterns and stories at The Bascom. Meetings take place in on the Terrace. In inclement weather, the group moves inside to the Library, but their enthusiasm is never dampened. At The Bascom Saturdays, 10 am - 12 pm,



Studio Alive is a group of dedicated artists that share a passion for drawing from live models. The group meets in The Bascom’s Adult Studio. Select Mondays of every month; 10:00 – 1:00,



The Bascom Photography Club is a creative community that rides on the passions of professionals, amateurs, teachers, and students of the photographic medium. all skill levels are welcome to join the monthly meetings, where guest speakers share tricks of the trade, tales of travel, and the opportunity to exhibit their printed images in The Bascom's Annual Photography Club Member Exhibition. Select Wednesdays; 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm



Join the active ceramics family and make new friends, share ideas, and create beautiful works of art in a state-of-the-art facility.  The Dave Drake Studio is a 2,500 square-foot barn rebuilt for use as the ceramic studio.  Join us today and see what all the fun is about!  Contact Frank Vickery for more information.


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