• Laurel Contributor

Shopping The Hill

by Luke Osteen

South Fourth Street in Highlands has been a shopping destination for so long that it’s become a bit of shorthand. It’s common for locals and first-time visitors to announce that they’re going to visit “on the Hill” without further explanation.

Here’s what you can expect to find when you decide to see what’s “on the Hill.”

S’More Kids Klothes is the place to go in Highlands for unique and fun children’s clothing. Whether you’re looking for hair accessories, shower gifts, back to school clothes or a dress for a special occasion you should check out S’Mores.

They carry world-class designer clothing from the USA, Spain and Great Britain that can’t be found anywhere else in the valley. This unique store may be small, but it’s packed with charming children’s clothing and accessories that would make any mother or grandmother proud.

When you visit Highlands, don’t miss this Gem on the Hill! Once you visit, you’ll want to come back for S’More.

Mirror Lake Antiques specializes in estate and contemporary jewelry and sterling silver flatware. The shop also features vintage bar ware, sterling and Victorian plated hollow ware, flo blue English transfer ware and orientalia. If you notice their ad on Page 10, you’ll see that owners Donna and Stan Cochran have a soft spot in their hearts and their jewelry collection for opals in all their beguiling color combinations.

One of the newest businesses to join the upscale retail district in Highlands is South Florida-based Wish & Shoes, which opened its fifth store here in May. This unique boutique offers shoppers the utmost in personal service, at a level usually reserved for Rodeo Drive and 5th Avenue.

The space is modern, elegant, and filled with stylish American and European designers offering head-to-toe fashion for women of all ages. You’ll discover lines you can’t find anywhere else in Highlands and right now is the time to shop for your fall and winter fashions with new merchandise arriving daily. This is not tropical resort wear, it’s gorgeous lightweight reversible fox and water-resistant jackets, custom python bags, leather boots, fashion jeans, and hand-loomed sweaters.

With its over 60 years in business, Highlands Gem Shop is a local institution This family-run jewelry store boasts an extensive selection of fine jewelry, antique and estate pieces, and handmade designs.

They can also help with designing a new piece or re-designing an existing piece that you may want to update.

Being the oldest gem shop in Macon County, Highlands Gem Shop also has a wide collection of mineral specimens and rocks. And for the children, our Touching Department will surely satisfy their curiosity.

And while you’re browsing, check in with resident jewelry designer Suzanne Sloan. Her fun line, That Sloan Woman, is sure to make you happy. Her use of natural gemstones, ethnic beads and organic material makes her designs a unique and hip addition to the shop. All of her designs are one-of-a-kind, so you won’t see another one like it.

When you step into Oakleaf, it’s something of a calculated fall down the Rabbit Hole. There’s a brightness to the place, and a sense of life and its myriad promises, a touch of whimsy, and an undeniable playfulness.

Part of that is the sensory presentation that greets visitors – the brightness of the fresh cut flowers, the subtle blending of floral and herbal scents, the earthy musk of sheet moss, the sublime garden art that pops up throughout the gallery.

And of course, part of it is owners Kirk Moore and Don Fry. They’ve cultivated that warmth and playfulness that’s so apparent upon the first step into Oakleaf.

Oakleaf has become the go-to floral designer for elegant weddings around the Southeast. Their partnership with Old Edwards Inn to provide the destination resort with event styling expertise has proved fruitful for both parties (that wonderful smell that infuses OEI’s rooms is Oaklaeaf’s Fragrance Mist).

Last November, Acorns moved from its original location on Main Street to 212 South Fourth Street and joined the already amazing community of retailers “on the Hill.” By combining the clothing boutique and home accents shop, customers receive better service and are now able to find a wider variety of goods conveniently located under one roof.

In fact, this is an ideal time to visit Acorns, since it’ll be hosting a pair of trunk shows this month. The first will be held October 11 through 13 and spotlights the works of Hazen Jewelry. What will you see at their trunk show? Exquisitely handcrafted, playful, and feminine accessories that embody both timelessness, elegance, and modern sensibility. The last trunk show of the month will be October 18 through 20 with Fat Hat Clothing Company. They like to say they’re the “cure for the common clothes,” so if you’re looking to add some exceptionally-styled pieces to your wardrobe make plans to attend. All of Fat Hat’s clothing is made in the U.S.A. using soft, delicious fabrics that feel wonderful on your body.

Stick Candles and Citizen Wilder is the newest store “on the Hill,” yet it’s already established a reputation that extends far beyond the confines of the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. It’s an enchanting garden wonderland that feels like something encountered by Alice when she slipped through the Looking Glass. Owner/Designer Kris Nelson has crafted a series of garden miniatures for the home, utilizing plants, dried plants, garden ephemera, and every variety of bits and bobs antiques. The resulting art pieces are endlessly fascinating. The shop also features antiques, displays for home and garden and idiosyncratic creations that demand a careful browse. These displays are complemented by a series of astonishing candles created by Co-Owner Doug Collum and his right-hand man Luis. They craft beeswax candles cast from real tree branches, and you can watch them as they work, a fascinating process that you can’t turn away from. Remember what we said about capturing attention far beyond the confines of the Plateau? You’ll find Kris and Doug’s pieces featured in such publications as “Originals:Creative Interiors” by William Abranoswicz; “Home” by Ellen DeGeneres; and “O: The Magazine of Oprah Winfrey.”

Vivace is an upscale ladies boutique for the woman who wants to look her best. It’s the place to shop for savvy, chic women who step out in style.

For over a decade owner Linda Hall and the helpful staff at Vivace have been offering the latest styles in upscale ladies attire. Well-known brands like Vince, White and Warren, Margaret O’Leary, Equestrian, Majestic, Joie are joined by Aquatalia boots and shoes, Charleston shoes and Vaneli. These are just a few of the national and international brands that Vivace carries.

McCulley’s has earned a reputation far beyond the Plateau for carrying one of the largest selections of the Scottish cashmere in the United States.

In women’s fashions, shoppers can expect to find classic pullovers in every neckline under the sun, fashion-forward tunics, batwing sleeve cables, three-quarter-sleeve boat necks, .an array of cardigan, sporty zip jackets and hoodies, soft, comfy knit coats, capes, stoles, scarves and other accessories. In men’s fashions, there’s a huge selection of solid colors, cable-knits, argyles and hand-loomed intarsia designs. Classic pullovers in V-neck, crew neck, three-quarter zip mock neck, polo collar, classic/retro button-front cardigans.

Martha Anne’s...on the Hill, offers shoes and apparel for the independently stylish woman with a sense of fun. Martha Anne has carefully selected this collection, and it’s just as surprising as she is. The fun part of the equation comes out when you consider the shoe selection. There’s a playfulness about the styles that shows Martha Anne is the woman making the decision. But really, that sense of joy extends to the coats, and clothing, and designer pieces that adorn this charming boutique. Come in for a browse and you’ll be surprised and seduced by this eclectic collection.

The Laurel Magazine

Laurel Magazine is a monthly magazine guiding you where to shop, play, dine, and stay in Highlands NC and Cashiers NC.

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