With just under 2,300 residents, Highland is the least populated county in Virginia. Agriculture is at the heart of Highland’s heritage and economy- some locals like to say there are more sheep than people. Whether you’re new to Highland or your family has lived here for generations, it’s impossible not to be struck by the scenic beauty of the lush rolling farmland, frolicking lambs and grazing cattle.
Highland is best known for its annual Maple Festival, which draws over 50,000 visitors each year to experience the old-time process of tapping maple trees and producing syrup. That said, there’s much more to Highland than maple syrup. The Highland Farmers’ Market draws crowds for fresh local produce, eggs, trout and meat—processed down the road at nearby Alleghany Meats. The Market also boasts live entertainment by local musicians and creative demonstrations by fellows from the Allegheny Mountain School. With small class sizes in the public schools, safe streets, and clean air and water, Highland is one of Virginia’s best kept secrets.
The area faces challenges common to many rural communities, including an aging population, decreasing workforce and declining economic opportunities. The Highland Center promotes the region’s agricultural, artistic and entrepreneurial assets to spur economic development and, in doing so, serves as a model for other rural communities.
Though based in Highland County, The Highland Center advances community development throughout the entire Allegheny Highlands region, including Highland and Bath Counties in Virginia and Pocahontas and Pendleton Counties, West Virginia. In addition, the Center partners with regional agencies to create a vision for Highland’s future as a vibrant, creative and sustainable place to live.