Looking for a break from the everyday routine, somewhere you can escape and rejuvenate? The Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area is such a place. Brimming with natural beauty with a touch of old fashion charm, it draws you in – with an initiation to unwind, explore and discover their secrets. Each town and village offers its own ethos, but all with come with friendly greetings and local tales that inspire and leaves you wanting more.
In 1857 the Raleigh & Augusta Railroad came to Cameron and was the end of the line for a while. The town was incorporated in 1876 and named for Paul Cameron, a railroad official. From 1880 to 1890, the Cameron-based, Muse Brothers Store was known as the largest department store between Richmond and Augusta.
The introduction of the Lucretia Dewberry (a mild blackberry) in 1892 made Cameron the, Dewberry Capital of the World.” You can still find Dewberry jam and desserts in the local shops.
Today Cameron is well known for its antique shops and on the first Saturday in May and October, an antiques fair is held and attended by thousands of visitors. The quiet residential town rises to the occasion with lots of antiques and treasures for every kind of collector. www.antiquesofcameron.com
Carthage is the oldest town in Moore County, NC. It was incorporated in 1796 and served as the county seat. Activities in Carthage have always revolved around the courthouse and still do today with the fifth and current courthouse still in use since 1922. The town itself was not laid out until 1803. The National Historic District of Carthage is proud of its more than 50 buildings and residences of historical significance dating back to the pre-Civil War period.
From 1850's to 1920's, the town's growth was due to its successful buggy industry. Alexander Kelly and Thomas Tyson founded the Tyson Jones Buggy Factory in 1855. This major industry remained the largest factory in Moore County into the 20th century producing the "Cadillac" of horse drawn carriages. At its peak in 1890, the factory turned out approximately 3000 vehicles per year. The horse drawn buggy brought prosperity to Carthage, but the automobile spelled doom for the buggy industry.
However, the annual Buggy Festival of Carthage honors the town's heritage of carriage makers and is a great family-friendly event. www.townofcarthage.org
The Village of Foxfire is an area about seven miles southwest of Pinehurst. The early English and Scottish settlers called this area Piney Bottom in the early 18th century. Foxfire was said to have been the site of a small battle during the American Revolution around 1780. Due to the richness of the pine forest, settlers sold the timber for construction and turpentine production. Agriculture came to prominence in the 20th century featuring cotton, tobacco, corn and rye. Peach orchards and vineyards were also plentiful.
In 1977, Foxfire was incorporated and sits on one of Moore County's highest elevations. Being a relative newer town in Moore County, Foxfire maintains its tradition of being a pleasant, scenic and resort golf community . The golf course community was developed from an old 2,200 acre farm under the partnership of Roland McKenzie and Dan Tomlinson. It is a growing community with the addition of residential tracts suitable for horse farms. www.foxfirenc.com
The Scottish influence is reflected in the names of the early towns and residents. Members of the Peter Blue family from Aberdeen were the original residents of Pinebluff. The Blues had great success in the agricultural industry with tobacco and raising cattle.
John Patrick had the idea to duplicate his Southern Pines and bought 772 acres in 1884. His plan was to turn this town into a second resort. He named streets after fruits and nuts, and the avenues after northern cities. Patrick worked for 20 years at attracting new residents to Pinebluff. Unfortunately disastrous fires stunted the development of Pinebluff.
Dr. John W. Achorn, stepped up to assume the responsibilities of leadership in Pinebluff. Achorn along with his wife and her mother laid the foundation for Pinebluff to become a very pleasant residential area. Pinebluff has become home to many retirees and military families from neighboring Ft. Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. Pinebluff has a strong recreational program that centers around Pinebluff Lake. A "bedroom community," has developed in recent years for working class and young professional people who work in Fayetteville, Pinehurst, Southern Pines and surrounding towns and cities.
The town of Robbins has roots that go back to the American Revolution. Alexander Kennedy, a gunsmith from Philadelphia, built a gun factory on the falls of Bear Creek, near present day Robbins. The business was very successful given the demand for rifles during the war. Due to the success of his business, many factories were established and the town became known as Mechanics Hill. There was a small gold strike that kept the town going until the Durham-Charlotte railroad came through in 1904. It was around this time that John Lenning, a wealthy businessman and railroad builder laid out the streets to a new town nearby. In honor of his contribution the town was named after his daughter, Elise.
The community grew and once again the name was changed to Hemp as more textile manufacturing came to the area in the early 1900's. In 1930, a Russian immigrant, Karl Robbins purchased the Pinehurst Silk Mills in order to improve its operations and make it state-of-the-art. Many of the residents were employed by the mill which was a blessing during the Depression years. The citizens of Hemp honored Robbins in 1943 by renaming the town after him. It was recognition well deserved for a many that had done so much for the town.
Today Robbins is a quaint town about halfway between Pinehurst and Seagrove. With the economic shifts in the last decades, the town is beginning to focus on outdoor recreational activities for tourists and promotes hometown businesses and potteries that reflect the small town hospitality that has carried it through many changes and challenges. www.townofrobbins.com
Nestled among Longleaf pines lies the gated resort of Seven Lakes, just ten miles west of Pinehurst. Planned thirty years ago as a summer home and retirement community, it is now the fastest growing area in Moore County. Seven Lakes is a well-balanced mix of retirees and young professionals with children. There are three separate gated communities – Seven Lakes West, North, and South. The area is named for its seven spring-fed lakes. Fred Lawrence, a Sanford businessman developed the original project in 1973. Lake Auman, an 820-acre lake is found in the Seven Lakes West community.
Seven Lakes offers a wide range of activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, tennis, picnic shelters, play grounds, water sports and community centers. Seven Lakes offers its own public stables providing horseback and equestrian sports for its residents. Beacon Ridge Golf Course and a members-owned Seven Lakes Country Club are both rated four-star. Both clubs have very active tennis programs.
While remaining an affordable place to live, Seven Lakes combines all the small town elements of a resort getaway with the comforts of a private gated community. www.sevenlakesnc.org
Vass was settled by Scotsmen and has had many names over the years. Originally known as Bynum, for Joseph Bynum, an early settler, it later became Winder after Major Winder, an officer with the Raleigh & Augusta Railroad. But the name that remains today came from Major William Worrell Vass, another railroad official. Major Vass was a longtime paymaster for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Company.
Vass was a bustling town for commerce and agriculture, a railroad center and even a publishing center. Today it is a town noted for its community involvement and wholesome leadership. As an example, Vass residents Phil and Pasty Keith donated the building that houses the library (a Veterans Memorial). Books and funds were donated from the residents of Vass and the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation donated state of the art computers. www.townofvassnc.gov
In 1890, between Aberdeen and Carthage, traveling through the woodlands would bring you to Daniel McDonalds turpentine distillery. To help with the transportation of timber and naval stores from the fields to the commercial areas, McDonald cleared a path for a railway from Southern Pines to his turpentine distillery. Soon a non-traditional railway was constructed. It had wooden rails on huge cross ties and mule drawn cars were pulled along these ways, fetching timber from both sides of the tracts. The Aberdeen and Asheboro Railroad was completed along the McDonald right of way, in 1890. At the most western end, a town sprung up called West End.
Sadly, the Great Fire of 1898 destroyed all thirteen buildings in the downtown area of West End except for the railroad depot and the drugstore. In later years, the Sandhills Furniture Corporation mill was built and enjoyed many years of success. In 1965, Sandhills Furniture Corporation was sold to Stanley Furniture Company. Stanley Furniture Company was the largest employer in Moore County before it closed its doors in early 2000. Today West End offers wonderful neighborhoods and quick access to both Seven Lakes and Pinehurst.
Back in the late 1700s, Charles Hurd and Nicholas Smith received land grants from the king of England, and the area we now call Whispering Pines was born. Many others bought and sold the area’s properties and lakes throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but it was A.B. Hardee who realized the land’s ultimate potential when he purchased 400 acres in 1959.
Hardee developed his tract into a private golf course and residential community, and in just ten years, Whispering Pines became the first municipality in North Carolina to be designated as a village. Today, Whispering Pines covers over 2,000 acres, features six lakes, sixteen miles of paved roads, two semi-private golf courses and an abundance of pristine stands of pines and hardwoods. In addition, there are a number of quaint small towns throughout Moore County where you can enjoy the timeless traditions of southern hospitality. To learn more, visit www.whisperingpinesnc.net