February may be the shortest month of the year, but it does include one of the most important — and certainly the most romantic — holiday of all: Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, uncovering that one, special gift for Valentine’s Day can be more challenging than buying for the year’s other holidays combined. Goodies for your sweetie need to fit certain criteria — thoughtful and heartfelt — while also connecting with whatever relationship stage you and your significant other fall under. Most of all, they need to offer your own, personal touch.

Around the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area, there are plenty of homegrown stores, boutiques and service providers to help you find that homerun gift for the one you love. Here are a few of the finest:

Bella Spa & Nails
50 Market Square, Pinehurst

Consider giving your better half a gift card for a treatment or two at this comfortable, quaint nail spa on Market Square in Pinehurst. Very Zen-like, serene, clean and friendly, avoiding the typical hustle and bustle of other salons — perfect for a manicure-pedicure. Special services for children 12 & under and nail art are included. Features a wide array of reasonably priced services. Attentive staff always offers a complimentary glass of wine or other beverages. Qualified and knowledgeable professionals dedicated to perfecting the art of nail and skin care.

Cool Sweats in Pinehurst, NCCoolSweats
105 Cherokee Road, Pinehurst

Established in 2001, this family owned, west coast casual, ladies lifestyle boutique in the Village offers beautiful clothes — think soft cottons and cashmere. Everything from linen pieces such as pants and blouses to colored denim to yoga wear, with new color palettes every season. Based on the philosophy that you can look good and be comfortable, CoolSweats is a state of mind that reflects effortless elegance and timeless style so that you feel good while living your life. Exclusive, timeless and chic.

Eloise Trading Company
111 West Main Street, Aberdeen

The motto at this interior design studio in historic Aberdeen is: “Shop, laugh, fall in love.” Come by Eloise Trading Company (ETC) and let the good folks there put together something special for your better half: Candles, jewelry, faux fur … you name it. For jewelry, think popular Sheila Fajl earrings — very popular with teens through adults. ETC also has a fun selection of items that can be personalized — everything from corkcicles to stem-less wine glasses and much more. And ladies, they have plenty of men’s gifts, too.

Jack Hadden Floral & Event Design
120 W. Main Street, Aberdeen

Of course, everyone wants only the best and freshest flowers for their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day or special occasions. Jack Hadden Floral & Event Design has exactly what you need. An experienced team possesses a diversity of creative skills including a true passion for flowers and attention to detail. Offers a wide selection of arrangements and other beautiful gift items to make every occasion memorable. Located in historic downtown Aberdeen, Jack Hadden allows you to customize each order. Delivers to Aberdeen, Carthage, Pinehurst, Southern Pines, West End and Whispering Pines.

150 E. New Hampshire Avenue, Southern Pines

Feeling beautiful is a luxury every woman should enjoy. At this cozy lingerie, loungewear and intimate apparel store in downtown Southern Pines, luxury comes in a wide array of silky shades. Knickers offers hands down the area’s best lingerie — very specialty and specialize in bra fittings for mastectomy and breast cancer patients. Fittings are accommodated during a private appointment or regular store hours. This 360-degree shop has filled a niche in the Sandhills. Also offers nursing and maternity bras, and a full line of sports bras.

Gifts at Mockingbird on Broad in Southern Pines, NCMockingbird on Broad
240 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines

Started by a military wife, this adorable boutique is conveniently located in the heart of the downtown Southern Pines, directly across from the train depot. Mockingbird is chock full of eclectic, carefully curated gifts: From beautiful perfumes, candles, children’s gifts and much more — particularly good for funny and snarky items. Find unique and perfect goodies for everyone on your list, displayed by a knowledgeable, friendly and inviting staff.

The Spa at Pinehurst
180 Barrett Road E, Pinehurst

The area’s ultimate in relaxation is always enjoyable, particularly around Valentine’s Day as a couples outing. Attentive and professional resort staff accommodate your every need. Any tension will dissipate as you fill your senses, renew your spirit and feel the healing power of nature invigorate your body. Enjoy complete tranquility with a full-day package including a lap pool, sauna, steam room, hot tubs and meditating in a comfort zone. The locker rooms are like a spa within a spa offering everything imaginable, including all luxury bath products — pure Southern tranquility in the Village of Pinehurst.

Learn more about these and other shopping options around the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area at www.HomeOfGolf.com/shopping/.

We all make our New Year’s resolutions to get healthier at the beginning of every year. So why shouldn’t we resolve to stay healthier at the beginning of every day, too?

We’ve heard for years that breakfast may be the most important meal of all. With so many delicious — and occasionally even nutritious — options around the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area of North Carolina, there’s no reason not to treat yourself to a healthy jump start to your day.

Here are a few of our area favorites:

Breakfast at Betsy's CrepesBetsy’s Crepes
127 SW Broad Street, Southern Pines

Started in 2010 by Betsy Markey and has quickly become an icon of Southern Pines. Open for breakfast and lunch, patrons enjoy savory and sweet dessert crepes, plus tasty soups, Panini sandwiches and salads. One of the few restaurants in town specializing in gluten-free crepe batter and health choices. Recently went through an expansion to gain more seating. Restaurant is warm and home-y with a good atmosphere and memorable food, while the service is prompt and courteous. Crepes are fresh, flavorful, tasty and so filling. The huevos rancheros crepe, homemade breakfast burrito, waffles and French Toast are stand-outs, while the grits are scrumptious.

Broad Street Bakery & Café
130 SW Broad Street, Southern Pines

“The Sweetest Spot in the Sandhills,” this delightful café along the main drag in Southern Pines serves homemade breakfast and lunch inside or on a sidewalk café. Lovely, laid-back atmosphere where customers order at the counter and seat themselves for a casual dine. A tasty breakfast that won’t break the bank, the corned beef hash is homemade and fresh. Bakery provides fresh daily bagels, breads, Danish, muffins and sweet treats. The French toast, breakfast burrito, and ham and egg sandwich on a croissant are memorable; while the sticky, gooey hot cross buns may be the area’s finest.

Carolina Dining Room at Pinehurst ResortCarolina Dining Room
80 Carolina Vista Drive, Pinehurst

The palatial breakfast buffet in the Carolina Hotel Dining Room at the Pinehurst Resort is a bucket-list culinary experience. Caters to hotel guests; however, is open to general public with reservations. A true step back in time, the Carolina Dining Room is part of the National Registry, with paintings and photos adorning the walls that eschew history and opulence, and a piano player adding to the unforgettable ambiance. Impressive selection of items includes classic foods like eggs benedict, specially made omelets, house-made pastries, smoked salmon, grits, oatmeal, bacon and sausages, corned beef hash, lox and bagels, biscuits and sausage gravy, while the cheese blintzes are particularly decadent. Plenty of lighter fare as well, along with specialty items and fresh fruit.

Famous Toastery
1303 W Morganton Road, Southern Pines

Ideal combination of breakfast or lunch options, with outdoor seating under umbrellas during nice weather. Attentive staff, attractive decor and consistently excellent food, with a wide variety on the menu and good-sized portions. Eggs, country ham, seasoned potatoes, English muffins with blackberry jam and sweet cornbread with apple butter? Don’t mind if we do.

Mac’s Breakfast Anytime
1904 N Sandhills Boulevard, Aberdeen

This family restaurant is a popular go-to for casual breakfast fare. Breakfast served all day as well as soups, salads and sandwiches, along with daily and senior specials, serving lunch until 3 PM. Reasonable prices and hearty portions. The omelets are massive and delicious. Try an egg and bacon sandwich on grilled sourdough bread; you may have to take the second half home. Grilled corn bread, biscuits and gravy, turkey sausage and bacon are all top shelf. Staff is courteous, efficient and prompt.

Pinehurst Harness Track
200 Beulah Hill Road N, Pinehurst

One of the area’s best-kept secrets is a pleasantly short walk from the Pinehurst Resort and provides an insider sense of not only the history of Pinehurst, but also the role that horses continue to play. An affordable and prompt breakfast at the Harness Track is tough to top. This cash-only spot dishes up all the southern favorites, including grits, cream chipped beef on toast, biscuit and gravy, eggs, hash bacon sausage and some of the tastiest blueberry pancakes anywhere. Go hungry, as servings are huge. Labor Day to Easter is training for trotters and pacers, while polo matches are played there and the harness races in the spring are a must-see event.

Sizzlin’ Steak or Eggs
1850 US Highway 1 S, Southern Pines

Looking for a retro breakfast experience? This is your spot. Local favorite with charming, ‘50s style interior. Extensive menu of breakfast fare with a taste of Southern hospitality. Deep-fried bacon has to be experienced to be believed. Wait staff is friendly and keeps your coffee cup full. Plenty of space in the back room for large groups. Come hungry because the portions as are plentiful and tasty. Seven days a week, closes at 2 PM.

The Villager Deli
6 Chinquapin Road, Pinehurst

Any visit to the Village of Pinehurst should include a trip to The Villager Deli. Reasonably priced and downhome breakfasts feature fresh daily quiches, breakfast casserole, avocado toast, eggs to order, huge pancakes, waffles, homemade biscuits and muffins, grits, and country ham. Pet friendly with comfortable outdoor seating in the center of the quaint Village. Courteous, attentive and prompt service. Breakfast and lunch only.

Learn more about these and other culinary options around the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area at www.HomeofGolf.com/dining.