The following is a guest post from White Oak Realty Group’s, Mallory E. Phillips, Broker. As you will learn from his engaging and candid story, choosing to invest in Highlands, NC real estate was a decision that has had a resoundingly positive impact on his life. What could investing in Highlands, NC real estate do for you, your family, and your life?
For 24 years, I practiced Labor and Employment Law, representing management exclusively. With clients located from Anchorage to Miami and all points in between, it involved constant crisis management — a pressure cooker type of practice.
In the summer of 2000, my wife of 18 years announced she wanted a divorce. A surprise for me, our two girls, our friends, and neighbors. We all went into therapy.
That next year, I scheduled an escape for myself. Our yearly church retreat to an Episcopal camp, Kanuga, had always been a great time. I was going alone this time, the kids being “unavailable.” Our church, All Saints, was a loving, extended family, and I needed an escape. The drive from Atlanta took me through Highlands, and I planned a night and a day there as part of my “prescription for renewal.”
I arrived at the Old Edward’s Inn, complete with creaky floors and doors that locked with a skeleton key. It was delightful. It still is, but in a wholly different way. Then rustic and comfy, now elegant and pampering. The quintessential escape then and now.
The next day, I found myself in a realtor’s office, curious about Highlands real estate. I had been looking for a getaway. Having experienced Highlands as a youth, I realized it should be an option. The first house within my meager budget was a 1920s hunting cabin, painted yellow with white and pink trim. The pink door was striking. I turned to the realtor and summed up my initial impression this way: “If this is what I can afford in Highlands, I can’t afford Highlands!” He showed me more properties, but it was the little cabin that kept haunting my thoughts and dreams that weekend. The following week I had it under contract.
A month and a half later, renovations began. Pink and yellow were replace with dark green and red. Wall-to-wall mauve shag was pulled up to reveal glorious, original oak boards. Cloth recliners and the other furniture found new homes through the Highlands Emergency Council. Weekends were now filled with staying at the Old Edwards Inn, checking on the progress of work, and finding furnishings for this “escape” from the pressure cooker that was my life. About a month after closing, with renovations completed and the cabin newly furnished, I left the office early for my first weekend. I drove down I-85 with the anticipation of a kid. I turned off the now familiar exit, I-985, towards my new found heaven — Highlands, NC.
Something amazing happened. With a rush, I felt the pressures of life evaporate in an instant, like a valve of sorts had been released. I had no idea how truly stressed I was. A moment before, I would have thought I was excited, but relaxed. In truth, I hadn’t felt this free from the pressures of life in years.
Highlands became a regular weekend retreat. Dusty’s, Mountain Fresh, and Reeves became shopping routines. I spent my weekend days enjoying scenic walks and reconnecting with friends and favorite hobbies. I launched a business in Highlands in 2001 (moved to the area full time in 2005) and began an entirely new, blissful chapter of my life.
Buying that fishing cabin over 10 years ago was a great financial decision, to be sure (even in a challenging market, it is well worth over twice what I paid). But even more importantly, that buying decision was the best investment in life I could have ever made. I invite you to do the same.