By Ken Mink PINEHURST, N. C. – Earlier this summer the golf world was focused on this little village in the Sandhills of North Carolina, with hundreds of thousands of people showing up to watch the best golfers from around numerous continents – the U. S. Open championships for men and women. For consecutive weeks golf fans were treated to the best golf has to offer. Those crowds have gone now, and the picturesque little village has returned to a much more relaxed pace – but the golf lives on through more than 30 ou...

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Pinehurst, N, C., Is More Than Golf: Beauty, Charm and History Abound

 Magnolia Hotel

The Magnolia Hotel in Pinehurst

By Ken Mink

PINEHURST, N. C. –  Golf is king in this picturesque little village nestled in the heart of the North Carolina Sandhills, but it is worth taking a trip here even if you don’t know a four-iron from a sand wedge.

The village is much like what many small towns are like in New England, with turn of the century hotels, quaint shops, many locally-operated restaurants providing a variety of home-grown recipes and a community park.

It is a pleasure just to stroll around the village, with numerous floral and fauna arrangements providing relaxation for the senses.

In 1895, James Walker Tufts had a dream. As a philanthropist and a shrewd businessman, he felt there was a market for the development of an affordable health resort for the working class. With the help of the esteemed landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York City’s Central Park, it took just seven months to create the Village of Pinehurst.

When guests began arriving with golf clubs and invading nearby cow pastures to practice, Tufts made the decision to incorporate golf into the area’s offerings. Shortly afterwards in 1900, Tufts hired Donald Ross to design courses for the new facility. After thoughtful planning and the creation of a Ross design that infused Scottish links golf with the topography of the Sandhills, the legendary Pinehurst No. 2 was born. Since that time, Pinehurst No. 2 has been designated as a National Landmark and hosted numerous golf championships.

The large Pinehurst Resort Carolina Hotel  (http://www.pinehurst.com/contact/) is the big dog in town, but visitors can find several very nice older hotels to be quite enjoyable.

One of the oldest hotels is The Magnolia Inn, a charming hotel located in the heart of historic Pinehurst. This 115 year old gem is situated amidst long leaf pines and magnolia trees just steps away from a variety of shops, galleries and restaurants. In the evening, you can enjoy excellent food in a casual setting in the hotel dining room or pub. Or, you may want to take in the sights and sounds of the village dining on the hotel patio. Our group dined in the hotel’s beautiful dining room and had dishes ranging from steak to fish, finding everything lip-smacking good. The Magnolia is only minutes away from many challenging courses, and golf packages are available.  Each of the Magnolia’s 10 guest rooms offers a private bath and cable TV. Complimentary high-speed Internet access is also available.                  The hotel is at the corner of Magnolia and Chinquapin. For more: http://www.themagnoliainn.com/ or call (910) 295-6900.

Other beautiful historic hotels here include:

                       The Holly Inn, 155 Cherokee Road: An 83-room hotel with decor reminiscent of times gone by. The Holly Inn is a Four-Diamond hotel that also houses a Four-Diamond Restaurant, the 1895 Grille. Along with this fabulous Southern-influenced cuisine restaurant The Holly Inn, the oldest hotel in Pinehurst, has “The Tavern” which features an authentic hand-carved Scottish bar and serves cocktails, lunch and dinner. Info: 910- 235-8507.

 

Pinecrest Inn: Opened in 1913 to primarily provide lodging for the growing number of golfers visiting the area. The Pine Crest Inn became very popular among seasonal guests and was an immediate success. This once small family business has grown considerably, hosting over 7,500 guests annually, serving 15,000 meals, and pouring 45,000 drinks. The Pine Crest Inn operates 12 months a year with 50 employees on any given day. The hallways of the Pine Crest have been graced by the likes of Bobby Jones, Henry Cotton, Francis Ouimet, Annie Oakley, Frank Stranahan, Harvie Ward, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Roger Maltbie, Curtis Strange, Payne Stewart, and Cory Pavin, just to name a few. Baseball greats Sparky Lyle, Graig Nettles, Ralph Houk, Lew Burdette, Tommy Davis, and Warren Spahn all visited in 1992 while participating in a  golf outing. Info: 50 Dogwood Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374, Mailing Address: PO Box 879, Pinehurst, NC 28370 Phone: (910) 295-6121 Toll Free: 800-371-2545 Email: frontdesk@pinecrestinnpinehurst.com

The Manor Inn: Located a short walk from the Carolina Hotel is the casual Manor Inn. Built in 1923, the intimate Manor features 42 guest rooms including suites and adjoining rooms. All rooms feature modern amenities like WiFi and flat screen televisions. Info: 855-434-4549855-235-8507 or online http://www.pinehurst.com/accommodations/the-manor-inn/

There are many great restaurants in the Pinehurst area and our group checked out the Fratello’s Restaurant in a strip shopping center at 9735 U. S. 15-501 in Pinehurst. We were surprised and delighted to find some of the best Italian food this side of Rome. Prices are moderate and the interior design and décor is very good, particularly nice for a strip shopping area.

For more information on the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area contact the convention and visitors bureau at 1-800-346-5362Fax: 910-692-2493 or online at http://www.homeofgolf.com