If you know golf, you know Pinehurst. So, if you don’t play golf, why would you consider vacationing or enjoying a weekend getaway in Pinehurst? Because Pinehurst is more than just golf! If you are like me and want to do anything but golf, it is time for you to take a look at Pinehurst through a different lens.
Even though the area is home to nearly 40 golf courses, the towns of Southern Pines, Pinehurst, and Aberdeen offer so much to do for non-golfers. Besides boutique shopping and spa treatments, you can take a historical walking tour or go for a hike. There are great coffee shops to linger in and fantastic restaurants serving innovative cuisine using local ingredients with a southern twist. You can play tennis, croquet, or go horseback riding. The possibilities are endless.
However, if spending a few days in the region finally piques your curiosity about the sport, try a free round at Thistle Dhu, the 18-hole putting course at the Pinehurst Resort.
What to Do
Monkee’s of the Pines – Take a few laps around this upscale women’s fashion boutique, then try on styles from unique brands not typically found in the area. They strive to carry fun, different, and good quality goods as well as brands that support a good cause like empowering women or that are eco-friendly.
McLaughlin– Known for their signature prints in bold colors and patterns, J. McLaughlin is the place to shop for classic contemporary clothing for women and men. Headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, where they started over 40 years ago, they have since grown to 149 locations. One of which is right here in Southern Pines.
Mockingbird on Broad – It is impossible to leave Mockingbird empty-handed. This sweet gift shop has everything you didn’t know you needed until you walked in and saw it. They have a great selection of home goods, puzzles, jewelry, candles, soaps, baby gifts, and so much more.
Against the Grain Shoppe – If you are looking for that special gift with a North Carolina motif, look no further. A relative newcomer to the block, Against the Grain is a luxury home goods store that supports local craftspeople and artisans. You will find more than 65 percent of their inventory from small North Carolina businesses.
Around southern pines, crafters should check out Bella Filaiti, a luxury yarn shop, the Eye Candy Art Gallery, and Wine & Design unleashing your inner artist. Grab a glass of wine next door at the Wine Cellar to bring in and enjoy while you paint.
Where to Eat
Betsy’s Crepes & Paninis – Open for breakfast and lunch, this quaint corner spot in Southern Pines is known for their crepes filled with almost anything you can imagine. You’ll find a mix of locals and visitors exchanging pleasantries and discussing the day’s agenda at the counter or in the cozy dining room furnished with mismatched wooden tables and chairs. This comfortable spot with a local vibe is an excellent choice for breakfast before walking around town.
Ashten’s – At Ashten’s, “eat local, everyday” is their motto, and they mean it. Make a reservation for dinner at this farm-to-fork restaurant. Everything is made in-house with ingredients from local farms. Beautifully presented dishes are packed with fresh ingredients that create a rich flavorful feast. The eclectic interior is made up of several small dining rooms furnished with couches, armchairs, and bench-style seating. The walls are lined with antique equestrian art, complete with stained glass lamps on each of the tables. It creates the intimate atmosphere you might find in an English pub, just with a southern twist.
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST
What to Do
Historic Walking Tour – Start your visit with a self-guided walking tour of the Village of Pinehurst. Stop by the Visitor Center or the Tufts Archives to pick up a copy of the tour book, then head out for a walk around this National Historic Landmark. There are five routes to follow. Along the way, you can see, and read about, the original cottages that were built in the late 1800s.
Culinary Walking Tour – An expert-led food tour is often the best way to experience the authentic taste of what makes a city great. The culinary walking tour of Pinehurst begins at The Deuce, where you will enjoy their famous pastrami slider. During the three-hour tour, you will also stop for a wine tasting at the Village Wine Shop and end with a sweet treat at the Carolina Hotel
The Spa at Pinehurst – While there are several great places to get a massage or facial in the area, there is a no more luxurious place to go than The Spa at Pinehurst. If you seek total tranquility, spend the entire day relaxing there, or if you can’t spare the time, just go for one treatment. I highly recommend the microdermabrasion facial. It will polish away at least a decade’s worth of fine lines and wrinkles and leave you looking and feeling better than ever.
Where to Eat
The Roast Office – Housed in the former town post office, The Roast Office occupies the Postmaster’s Office while the rest of the space is home to the Given Book Shop. Grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and a little nibble, then peruse the shop which sells gently used books. All of the book sale proceeds benefit the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives.
The Deuce – Join your golfer before tee-off time for a bite to eat in the famous Pinehurst clubhouse restaurant. Overlooking the 18th green of No. 2, there is no better view of the course. After lunch, pop into the Pro Shop for some souvenirs or future holiday gifts for every golfer on your list.
Pinehurst Brewing Company – Located in the original steam plant that powered the village well into the 1970s, the Pinehurst Brewing Company is the perfect place for lunch or dinner. Much of the original building has been preserved and restored, bringing new life into this historic space. You’ll find plenty of smokehouse selections alongside tasty pizzas, salads, and sandwiches on the menu. They brew their own beer (obviously) and have a rotating selection of their beers on tap, where you’ll find anything from a pale ale to an imperial stout.
Elliotts On Linden – Located on the village’s outskirts, Elliotts is the definition of a hidden gem. The eclectic menu choices reflect the chef’s use of a unique combination of local ingredients to create fabulous fare. You must try the Jack Daniels & Chipotle Glazed Salmon, a staple on the menu since they opened over 20 years ago. This fish is so fresh; it is flown in every 72 days from the Faroe Islands. This chef-owned restaurant is just one of many that Mark Elliott owns in the area. Just next-door, you will find Elliotts Provisions Co., an old-style deli that is open for lunch and stocks an assortment of wine, cheese, and prepared meals to-go.
What to Do
Aberdeen Lake Park – This park has a 1.5-mile gravel trail which is perfect for a morning walk. It is one of the prettiest settings in all of Moore County. If you are traveling with children, they will enjoy the playground in the park.
Legacy Lake Tennis & Fitness Club – If you are looking to improve your tennis, grab your racquet and head to the Legacy Lake Tennis & Fitness Club. Sign up to take a lesson or join a clinic with their new head pro.
Eloise Trading Company – This shop in the historic district is full of thoughtfully curated home goods. You will find items for every room in your house or that perfect gift for someone special.
Where to Eat
High Octane – Grab your morning cup of joe in a former gas station turned coffee shop that serves handcrafted coffee drinks made with local ingredients. Sit on the patio or on cooler days, grab a seat inside and enjoy the hot (or cold) beverage of your choice.
Mason’s Restaurant & Grocery – Housed in a renovated 100-year-old building, satisfy your hunger for southern comfort food at Mason’s. You will spy buttermilk biscuits with everything from gravy or hot chicken on top to fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits on the menu. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch on the weekends. The grocery section offers tasty treats for you to bring home.
The Workshop Tavern – Breathing new life into a space that once occupied a hotel among other things, The Workshop Tavern is Aberdeen’s newest star on the block. With everything from classics like the Carolina Pork Sandwiches to the Spicy Chicken Mac & Cheese on the menu, there is something to please every palate. Plus they offer an extensive selection of whiskeys and handcrafted cocktails. I am sure you will fall in love with this local favorite.
Dana Freeman has lived in Vermont more than 20 years and just visited the Home of American Golf for the first time with her golfing husband and son. She disliked writing in college and is now a travel writer. Her only superstition is always touching the outside of an airplane when she boards. Dana has seen U2 more than 35 times in seven countries and will sleep on the pavement to make sure she’s on the rail for the concert.