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high hampton resort front entrance

Our Storied History 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, High Hampton Resort boasts a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. The magnificent mountain estate served as a high-country retreat for many historical figures including a South Carolina Governor, the father of modern day anesthesia and North Carolina’s first female state senator.

In the 1830s General, and later South Carolina Governor, Wade Hampton III purchased the property. Like our guests today, his family came to escape the hot summers and enjoyed fishing in the crystal-clear mountain streams, riding horses through the lush green forests and sitting on the porch of Hampton Cottage sipping mint juleps and feasting on freshly cooked mountain fare.

The estate later passed to Hampton family relative Dr. Halsted, a pioneering surgeon and anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins.  Passionate gardeners, the Halsted’s contributions of our heirloom dahlia garden and exotic trees still delight guests today.  After the doctor and his wife passed in 1922, an industrialist inspired by the beautiful grounds purchased the property, officially opening its doors as an inn and resort that year. Gertrude Dills, wife of the new owner E.L. McKee, was North Carolina's first female state senator, and the couple entertained many fellow legislators, friends and family at the property.

Construction of a new inn and several cottages began in 1932 after a fire destroyed the original. The new Inn, which welcomes guests today, is larger than the original with three stories, a majestic four-sided fireplace and distinctive exterior shingled in local chestnut bark.

What began as the Hampton family retreat in the 1830s continues as mountain haven today. Now in its 96th season, guests from across both the country and the globe instantly become a part of High Hampton’s storied past and a party to the resort’s exciting future. 

The High Hampton Donkey

Ed & Fred aren’t the first donkeys found on High Hampton property, and they certainly won’t be the last.

Donkeys and mules have been working on High Hampton property for more than a century. These strong, surefooted animals helped to plow and farm the original lands, and hauled the lumber for the original Inn. Today our two miniature donkeys, Ed & Fred, are family favorites. Kids love to go by and feed them apples from the Inn’s kitchen, but most memorable are our donkey rides – a guest and family favorite for generations.

Today, as we undergo the re-imagination of our treasured mountain resort, we are proud to have the High Hampton Donkey as the centerpiece of our new logo and vision - "Stay True". 

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