Sapphire and Lake Toxaway Summers Offer Wide Variety

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Summer in Sapphire/Lake Toxaway offers a wide variety of arts, culture, and outdoor recreation

by Katherine Scott Crawford

At an elevation of over 3,000 feet, there is no better place to be in summer than in the beautiful mountain communities of Sapphire, Sapphire Valley and Lake Toxaway, N.C. In addition to the crisp mountain air—it is degrees cooler here than nearly anywhere else around—the Sapphire and Lake Toxaway areas offer a variety of activities and events for the discerning visitor or homeowner.

Sate your thirst for local, regional and world class arts, culture, outdoor recreation, and more, here in your own backyard.  Whether you are interested in a yoga class or hike, a live concert, or arts and culture events, you will find it here.

In arts and culture:

  • Thursday, June 20th: The Cashiers Historical Society presents The 15th Annual Jan Wyatt Mountain Symposium: Rails and Tales. At Lonesome Valley’s Canyon Kitchen venue, guest speakers will discuss the history and impact of railroads in Western North Carolina. Session leaders include Ray Rapp, Dean Emeritas at Mars Hill University and former Co-Chair of the Joint U.S. House-Senate Committee on Improving and Expanding Rail Service in N.C.; Jerry Ledford, a descendant of Carr Lumber Company founders; Mac McConnel, retired physician and railroad buff; and more. Enjoy lunch in the Canyon Kitchen, and afterwards, special guided exhibits of model railroad layouts, with artifacts on hand from the archives of Western Carolina University. Tickets start at $50 for the one-day lecture series and lunch held on June 20th from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Different sponsorship levels are available, which include a ticket to the opening preview reception picnic at Mountain Top Farm on June 19th. For more information, go to or call 828.743.7710.
  • Friday, June 21st (reoccurring Friday nights throughout the summer): Friday Night Dinner & Music at the Lake Toxaway Community Center. Enjoy dinner from 6:00-7:00 p.m., with the best bluegrass music around from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The band on June 21st will be Hickory Hollow. For more information about upcoming bands and more, visit or call 828.966.4060.
  • Saturday, June 22nd – Sunday, June 23rd: Arts & Crafts Festival at Sapphire Valley Resort. This FREE Arts & Crafts Festival has been operating for over 27 years, and promises a day filled with a delightful selection of local art and crafts, games, music, and food. Held 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day. For more information, go to or call 828.743.2251.
  • Saturday, July 6th: The Chinquapin July 4th Celebration. The exclusive and private gated community of Chinquapin is opening its doors to the public for the first time for its July 4th celebration, with all proceeds benefitting the Cashiers/Highlands Humane Society. Located at The Outpost at Chinquapin, the celebration will feature country music artist Matt Stillwell; with food from Lil Pete’s fresh, wood-smoked barbecue and the Chilichomper2 Mexican food truck; and local, handcrafted beers from Satulah Brewing of Highlands. In addition, the Humane Society will have pets available for adoption in the enclosed dog park next to The Outpost, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at $20 for adults, and $10 for children (ages 6-17). For more information, go to, or call Julie Head at 828.771.7500

In recreation and outdoors:

  • Wednesday, June 19th: Sunrise Yoga at Fairfield Lake in Sapphire. Center yourself with an all-levels yoga class in a beautiful lakeside setting. Some mats are provided, but students are encouraged to bring their own, along with a filled personal water bottle. Class is FREE, and will be held from 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. For more information, go to or call Mary at 828.743.9000.
  • Thursday, June 20th (reoccurring throughout the summer): The Bee Farm Tour & Honey Tasting at Killer Bees Farm in Lake Toxaway. If you’ve ever wanted to learn the secrets of bee life, this is your chance. Enjoy a fun lesson in beekeeping, the Queen and her loyal subjects, before stepping into a traditional bee suit for a personal introduction. Follow with a honey tasting paired with a variety of foods, champagne, and a souvenir bottle of Killer Bees Honey. Tickets are $90. Reserve yours by going to or by calling 312.909.9878.
  • Friday, June 21st: In the Pines Guided Hike at Gorges State Park in Sapphire. Learn all about the different species of pine in the park and how to recognize them. This 0.5 mile, strenuous, ranger-led hike begins at the Bearwallow Picnic Shelter at 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. For more information, call 828.966.9099.
  • Sunday, June 23rd: Waterfall Safety and hike at Gorges State Park in Sapphire. Meet at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead at 11:00 a.m. for a 45-minute, 1.5 mile hike and discussion with a local naturalist about how to stay safe in the great outdoors this summer. For more information, call 828.966.9099.
  • Friday, July 12th – Saturday, July 13th: Mountain Wildlife Days at the Sapphire Valley Resort Community Center. Held each year in mid-July, this event features wild animals, wildlife experts, and a chance to for an “up-close and personal encounter with wildlife and wild places.” The event is for children and adults alike, and begins each day at 9:00 a.m. For more information, go to  or call 828.743.9648.

The mountain communities of Sapphire and Toxaway are not only unique in beauty, they offer a variety of activities and events sure to please the most discernible visitor or homeowner. This summer, enjoy arts, culture, and the great outdoors, here at the top of (our part of) the world.

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