CVB Designs Special Trading Card Series Featuring Local Chef Recipes

PINEHURST, NC (June 25, 2020) – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants in the Sandhills area of North Carolina have been especially impacted economically. Some employees working in the restaurant and hospitality industry have had their hours reduced, or have been furloughed while businesses try to make ends meet. In an effort to assist workers serving in the hospitality industry, the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has launched a unique fundraiser. The Recipe for Recovery program features area chefs’ images and their recipes in format reminiscent of trading cards. The packs come in sets of 12 cards and sell for $25.00 each.

The first set of cards feature chefs and recipes from participating restaurants in Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen including: Ashten’s Restaurant (Clara Mae’s Bisquits); Chapman’s Food and Spirits (Spinach Artichoke Dip); Chef Warren’s (Tunisian Sauteed Shrimp with Sweet Potatoes, Peanuts and Cilantro); Drum and Quill (Smoky Basil Mezcal Cocktail); Dugan’s Pub (Beer Battered Fish and Chips); Elliott’s on Linden (Crab Hush Puppies); House of Fish (Crab Cakes); Lisi’s Italian (Pappardelle with Roasted Red Pepper Cream); Pinehurst Resort (Veal Oscar); Scott’s Table (Mexican Street Corn Salad); The Bell Tree Tavern (Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya) and The Market Place (Our Famous “Not Too Sweet” Spiced Iced Tea).

“We wanted to do something special to give back to these amazing local restaurants which compose a significant part of the local culinary scene, but also make a huge impact on our tourism industry,” says Phil Werz, president and CEO of the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area CVB. “The survival and vitality of our local restaurants are critical to the economic rebound for our destination from COVID-19. We (the CVB) merely wanted to do our part to support these great restaurants and chefs. The cards are cool, fun and you get to try some really great recipes. Hopefully, we raise a lot of money for dedicated restaurant and hospitality workers impacted by the pandemic.”

The CVB created 500 sets of cards in series one and when those sellout, the organization will create a second series with a dozen more chefs and their recipes. The CVB plans to continue the Recipe for Recovery program as long as demand for the cards continues. The CVB merely covers the cost to produce the cards – only a few hundred dollars – and then the rest of the proceeds will go to a local restaurant workers relief fund.

Recipe cards can be purchased at the 12 restaurants currently participating in the program and can also be purchased at the CVB located at 65 Community Road in the Village of Pinehurst. Because the CVB staff is working staggered office hours and telecommuting due to COVID-19, please call the CVB at 910.692.3330 to arrange a time to purchase the recipe cards. The CVB is working on a portal for online sales and hopes to have that operational after the July 4 weekend.

The Pinehurst Southern Pines Aberdeen Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the economic development agency responsible for travel and tourism promotion, product development, and visitor services for Moore County, NC. The CVB devises strategies to enhance the County’s tourism brand value and product to accommodate the next generation of visitors, thereby stimulating the local economy and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. In 2018, Moore County ranked as the eleventh largest tourism economy in North Carolina, generating $520 million annually in visitor spending, which supports the second largest employment sector in the county.


Traveler confidence in visiting the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen area is steadily increasing, according to statistics released by Smith Travel Research (STR) and the CVB.

According to Smith Travel Research (STR), hotel occupancy in Moore County increased nearly 10 percentage points from April to May. Participating Moore County hotels reported a collective average of 32 percent occupancy in May compared with 22.2 percent for the month of April. The national average for hotel occupancy as of late May was 32.4 percent. The STR research does not include the short-term rental market.

Aside from information related to hotel occupancy in Moore County, the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) also monitors a variety of other markets for similar data, and for the month of May, Moore County was competitive, and in some cases, more productive than other select destinations in the Carolinas.

In May, among the competitive set the CVB tracks, Moore County bested Mecklenburg County/Charlotte (29.3 percent) and Guilford County/Greensboro (30.8 percent), while Wake County/Raleigh was slightly higher (33.3 percent). Beach communities in New Hanover County/Wilmington (36 percent) and Horry County/Myrtle Beach area (39.6 percent) were slightly higher as stay-at-home restrictions were loosened in May for both states.

“While those numbers are in line with the national average, keep in mind that Pinehurst Resort and all of its lodging options were closed for 59 days and reopened on May 22,” said Phil Werz, president and CEO of the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area CVB. “With Pinehurst (Resort) back in the mix, we should see a solid boost for June. We are receiving more inquiries about travel, itineraries and things to do in the area more consistently, so we know people are ready to get out and explore, especially by car and within a 3-6 hour radius, and in some cases from even more distant locations like Pittsburgh, Ohio markets and the Northeast.”

The CVB has conducted in-market research for the month of June and early indications are showing hotel occupancy will continue to see solid increases when Smith Travel Research releases their official June report in mid-July. According to STR, the national hotel occupancy average on June 15th was 41.7 percent. Many Pinehurst area hotels polled by the CVB indicted occupancy levels higher than the national average in mid-June.

As North Carolina emerges from the pandemic, the CVB has access to a multitude of travel data and insights from travel research companies. Among a wealth of information, the CVB sees these key factors based on findings by the research company Destination Analysts:
• Americans continue to exhibit greater feelings of safety, including towards travel.
• One in five people are already traveling or ready to travel with no hesitations. These Americans have less concerns surrounding the virus and are more likely to prioritize having new experiences in their lives.
• Openness to travel inspiration and excitement to take a getaway in the next month increases each week.
• The proportion of American travelers who have at least tentative trip plans in 2020 grew to nearly 7-in-10 and Americans’ next air and road trips will be sooner than they reported last week.
• Travel is commonly seen as integral to health and wellness.
• Road trips, staying at a beach or rural resort, and visiting national and other parks are among the highest rated relaxing travel experiences.
• American travelers are also getting more comfortable with tourists in their own communities.

Founded in 1896, the historic Magnolia Inn is witnessing a rebirth. With new ownership, the venerable Inn has been completely renovated inside and out. Plus, with the addition of a gourmet Italian restaurant, Villaggio Ristorante, the Magnolia Inn is a once again one of the highlights of things to do and see in the Village of Pinehurst! This Southern gem sits amidst long leaf pines and magnolia trees just steps away from a variety of shops and galleries in the Village of Pinehurst.

The Inn is only minutes away from many challenging golf courses at the Home of American Golf, including Pinehurst Resort. You can also spend the day strolling the quaint streets of the Village of Pinehurst or take a walking tour to see the 100+ year-old homes that are nestled amongst the pines.

With 10 charming and comfortable guest rooms, the Magnolia Inn offers its guests all the comforts of home including daily housekeeping, free WiFi, cable TV, a fine dining restaurant, bar, daytime meeting rooms, sunroom, and outdoor patio with weekend music during weather-permitting months. The Inn’s fine dining restaurant, Villaggio Ristorante, is already a local favorite featuring fresh pasta, Italian specialties, steaks, chops and fish, a top shelf wine list, and crafted cocktails. The bar has 3 TVs for sports, and there is a large outdoor patio for dining and weekend music.

The proprietors, Julie and Ron Milton, are there to welcome you in true Southern fashion.

If you enjoyed the Painted Ponies display in downtown Southern Pines this spring, they will be available via a live online auction, June 17-20. The impact of COVID-19 forced organizers to move the auction from an actual site to online, but these amazing works of art are available to own. Proceeds from the online auction will support Carolina Horse Park (CHP) educational and environmental programs.

A total of 10 painted ponies are up for auction and will support the CHP’s mission for preserving open space, to maintain an exceptional equestrian competition facility, enhance the area’s residential community and contribute to a growing economy. Anyone wishing to bid on the painted ponies must register first. For more information and to register for the Painted Ponies Live Auction, click here.

Located in Hoke County between Aberdeen and Raeford, the Carolina Horse Park (CHP) was established in 1998 as a competition and training venue near Southern Pines. The Park is now the region’s primary facility for equestrian events with 315 acres hosting over 28 competitions each year. Their calendar also includes non-equestrian events including environmental education and community scholastic and athletic experiences. Part of CHP’s mission is to preserve Southern Pines’ heritage as an equestrian haven surrounded by attractive open space.

Who has the best beer in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area? Well, the choices of breweries here are plentiful and our best advice is to try them all! On June 1, the CVB launched a destination brewery video to showcase all our local brew pubs have to offer.

The short film, “Brewer Tour” is a fun, entertaining and informative look at the local brewery scene through the eyes of the experts – the owners, brewers and craft beer enthusiast that make the Home of American Golf one of the best places to visit for some of the best brews in North Carolina.

The four breweries include Pinehurst Brewing Company, Southern Pines Brewing Company, Railhouse Brewery and Hatchet Brewery. Aside from Pinehurst Brewing Company, our destination breweries are military-owned, so there’s great pride in not only the beer, but also pride in America and a belief that success is deeply rooted in our amazing community.

Come along for the ride as our beer experts take us from brewery to brewery and make plans to check each of them off your list on your next visit to the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen Area. We also urge you to drink responsibly and do not drink and drive. Also, this short film was shot and edited prior to the COVID-19 pandemic when social distancing was not part of the conversation.


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