The Pinehurst area is steeped in golf history and tradition, a legacy aptly reflected in its more than 30 courses within a 15-mile radius. But it’s also a place with deep historic roots, where settlers came to the Sandhills to carve out communities that thrive today.
Day 1: Play a premier golf course, taste some classic North Carolina barbecue, and tour an 18th-century cotton plantation.
Day 2: Another 18 holes beckons, along with a look at some literary masters and a hike through a peaceful nature preserve.
Day 3: Take your game up a notch and discover the colorful history of railroads in this part of central North Carolina.
Day 1: Golf at Longleaf and a taste of history and barbecue
Spend your morning testing your skills on a Dan Maples-designed golf course. Longleaf Golf & Family Club is built on the site of a former horse training center and racetrack, and shines with Dan’s love of tradition. Many of the original features — the white fences, rail post and hedgerows — have been carefully retained as a tribute to the original site. Located off historic Midland Road in Southern Pines, Longleaf has been called the ‘most playable course in the Sandhills’ by Ron Witten of Golf Digest.
Afterward, head into the town of Carthage for a tangy Sandhills barbecue lunch at the family-owned Pik-N-Pig before you begin your exploration of the area’s history at the Bryant House and McLendon Cabin (circa 1820 and 1760, respectively). These two structures, maintained by the Moore County Historical Association, serve as a living museum depicting daily life in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Carthage Historical Museum houses 200 years of artifacts pertaining to local history. Carthage was once the home of a renowned buggy factory and several exhibits celebrate this fact, along with a popular festival held each May.
From here, head north of Carthage to the House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site (pictured at right), a pre-Revolutionary War cotton plantation. The name comes from its location on a bend in the Deep River. The house features period furnishings and was once the home of Governor Benjamin Williams.
Afterward, circle back to Little River near Carthage for a casual dinner at Filly & Colt’s, or head into Pinehurst where the village offers a variety of interesting dining opportunities.
Day 2: Play Talamore, shop Southern Pines and relax over dinner
Today finds you on the course at Talamore Golf Resort, designed by Rees Jones. Want to take your game to an entirely new level? Let one of Talamore’s llama caddies carry your bag.
After your round, head to the Southern Pines Historic District for a little shopping and lunch. Learn more about the history of Southern Pines at the Shaw House (circa 1820), the town’s oldest home that illustrates the daily life of early Scottish settlers. Rail service was critical to the development of the Sandhills, so check out the depot, built in 1898 and still serving passengers today via Amtrak.
Then it’s on to the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities and the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Once the home of novelist James Boyd, the center sits on 24 acres surrounded by stately longleaf pines and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Finish the day with a walk in nearby Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. This NC State Park has nearly 900 acres of wildflowers, wildlife, streams and ponds, more than four miles of hiking trails and an interactive museum (temporarily closed for renovations).
Enjoy a relaxing dinner at Chef Warren’s. Then maybe catch a movie or performance at the Sunrise Theater, which began life as a hardware store in 1898, evolved into a movie theater in the 1940’s and now is a performing arts center.
Day 3: A last round on the links and a taste of history
For your final day, take your golf game to Deercroft Golf Club, an old-school course that’s been revitalized by new ownership and is ranked a great value by local players. Or experience what Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore have created at Dormie Club (pictured at right), which pays homage to the Sandhills golf tradition.
When the course is finished with you, explore more of the area’s history, beginning with the National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame in Hamlet. A testament to the town’s once significant place as a major crossroads, the museum exhibits railroad memorabilia, a model railroad layout and a recreated telegraph office. It’s housed in a former railroad depot (circa 1900) that features late Victorian architecture that has made it one of the most photographed stations in the eastern United States. Have lunch at the Seaboard Station Restaurant for some true Southern cooking.
Afterward, take a short drive up U.S. 1 to Aberdeen for a tour of Malcolm Blue Farm & Museum. This Scottish farm (circa 1825) features a museum, restored farmhouse and gristmill. Down the road, visit the Bethesda Church and Cemetery (circa 1790) with its Old Slave Gallery and graves of pioneer settlers. Look in the church walls for bullet holes from a Civil War battle. Continue to the Historic District of Aberdeen to browse the antique shops and art galleries, and finish the day with dinner at Thai Orchid Restaurant.
Enjoy all the area has to offer by mixing and matching activities and events to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.
This article originally appears on VisitNC.com, the official travel and tourism website for North Carolina.