"In my mind I’ve gone to Carolina,” James Taylor sings plaintively. That’s a song many Southwest Floridians can identify with, especially as summer approaches. Who can resist the idea of relaxing on a comfy front porch or spacious deck, taking in the view of the cool and refreshing, smoky gray-tinged Blue Ridge Mountains ranging as far as the eye can see?

Western North Carolina has changed a whole lot since Floridians started summering there in droves some 40 years ago (picture some of the overdevelopment and crazy traffic jams that clog our roads each winter). But what haven’t changed are the places and pleasures it offers to overheated Floridians: the clear, cold streams; the pale pink and white mountain laurel and rhododendron blossoms that proliferate everywhere; forest paths to meander; sweet, fresh air (in August!); and the occasional whir of a hummingbird’s wings—delights you just don’t experience here, despite our many semi-tropical charms.

Yes, we’ve gone to Carolina in our mind. In fact, we’ve daydreamed about several of North Carolina’s most popular mountain communities. Take a gander. 

In This Feature:

Get a Taste of the (Relatively) Big City in Asheville

Asheville was named No. 10 on Travel + Leisure's "World's Best Cities" list.

04/18/2016 By Ilene Denton

For a Serene Mountain Getaway, Head to Cashiers

Cashiers, Highlands' quieter, equally exclusive cousin, offers a private, picturesque retreat.

04/18/2016 By Ilene Denton

Bustling Highlands is an Easy Escape from Sarasota

The charming hamlet is filled with boutiques, fine restaurants and antique shops.

04/18/2016 By Ilene Denton

Maggie Valley is a Nature Lover's Paradise

Maggie Valley's proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains provides excellent hiking, beautiful waterfalls and a chance to admire wildlife.

04/18/2016 By Ilene Denton

You'll Find Nature at Its Most Majestic in Blowing Rock, Boone and Linville

Hikers and rock climbers will delight in the options available to them in the Blowing Rock area.

04/18/2016 By Ilene Denton

North Carolina is a Buyer's Market

The price is right on a piece of mountain paradise.

04/18/2016 By Ilene Denton