Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Little Drive Thru The NC Pines

During our visit to Ft. Bragg we found it was located in the pine forest area that runs up the eastern US coast and it’s pretty much the same in Georgia and the Carolinas, so it was no surprise that “pine” was included in several local names, such as Whispering Pines, Southern Pines, and Pinehurst. 

I haven’t been a golfer for 25 years but still knew Pinehurst was noted for golf, but I had no idea how much.  The 9500 person village, along with the towns of Southern Pines and Aberdeen make a triangular area that is home to 30 rated and 13 more golf courses and is known as the "Home Of American Golf."  The Pinehurst Resort, alone, has eight courses and you can pay up to $450 for a round of golf – now I know why I gave it up.

Being the map person I am, I found a back country route that runs along the northern boundary of the post and we were blown away as it was a beautiful drive thru the pines on very good roads.  As the crow flies, it’s located about 7 miles west of the post boundary, but since we had to exit on the eastern side and drive around, it took about an hour to get there.
And about 10 miles prior to reaching Southern Pines, we came upon beautiful horse farms – almost continuously and they all seemed to be into jumping.  I didn’t know NC had a horse industry – add that to the muscadine wineries that were an equal surprise.
You know you’re serious when you have a long fence decorated for Christmas.
We went on thru Southern Pines to Pinehurst and found it pretty full of people, but I just wanted to drive around and see a few things.  It looks like it was another one of those playgrounds for the wealthy in the early 1900’s and is now the home of the still pretty well off.  This is the village main street.
The Pinehurst Resort Carolina Hotel is located at one end of the street and the golf courses are at the other end and the spa is next to the hotel.
You know you're elite when you don’t even have a sign at the entrance to your golf course and it's pretty unimpressive.
From there it was back to Southern Pines for lunch to a place that was recommended by the girls other grandparents.  Sweet Basil is a small place owned by siblings John and Pepi– he does the baking and she does the cooking and they can both do their parts very well.
After hearing the ingredients, Bev jumped all over the daily special of chipotle chicken sandwich with a salad.
The sandwiches were halved and we swapped a half so I can say with certainty that it was delicious.  This is the second salad we’ve had in the area serving leaf lettuce (just like I grow in the garden).  I ordered a cup of roasted red pepper soup and a reuben and both were very good.
We asked the server some details about the chicken and she advised us to talk with the lady in the white apron for the details and she just happened to show up.  As it turns out she was Pepi, the cook/ owner, and she freely told us how she made both the sandwich and the soup, which I wrote down and plan to try at home.  As we left, there was a line waiting along the building and I can see why as they are serving delicious homemade meals, with fresh ingredients at a reasonable price – especially for a tourists area – and the service was every bit as good as the food.   If you’re ever within 50 miles of Southern Pines, this is a must try place.

After lunch, I walked up to the railroad station and Bev disappeared into the first shop.  The station is still served by Amtrak with one train per day in each direction - one end of the station is the Town's Welcome Center.
Here’s a shot of mainstreet from the depot and it is a nice little town converted to a tourist destination and nestled in the southern pines.
And of course no great day trip is complete until you’ve made the requisite stop.
All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago: Eggnog Crème Brulee

Two years ago: Butter Beans Ala Mary



  1. Loblolly pine trees and a golf course always remind me of where I grew up. What a nice town and I'm so pleased you what Alton Brown would call "good eats."

  2. What a great tour! I love restaurants exactly like Sweet Basil. Chef owned and operated. I'm curious about your comment about them serving leaf lettuce. What lettuce is normally served? When I go back to Kansas, almost all salads are Iceburg. The only time I like iceburg is on my BLT.

  3. Lea Ann - Seems like most salads around here are iceberg based.

  4. Although I lived in Black Mountain, (western) North Carolina, I never made it to the Southern Pines/Fort Bragg part of the state. I have been to Wilmington a couple of times since then, but that's about it. Your pictures are wonderful, and your lunch looks delicious. I'm glad it was as good as it looked.

  5. Hi Larry, Don't think I've ever been in that area of North Carolina.. But the pines remind me of areas we've been through in Georgia... I love seeing all of the pines...

    Your lunch looked good...

    Hope you two are having a good weekend.

  6. Larry, Nice photos! My kind of road trip...just coasting along and looking to see what might be available to look at and/or explore. Thanks for the railroad station shots! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  7. I love a Rueben Sandwich....yours looked wonderful! What a nice leisurely trip!

  8. I was supposed to be in Pinehurst two weeks ago but that got bumped for our trip to Florida. $450 for a round of golf!?!?! No wonder I never started golfing!


I appreciate and enjoy your comments