Inexpensive And Informal
The Squire's Pub
(Pub) 1720 U.S. Highway 1 South, Southern Pines; 910-695-1161. $$
The Squire's hamburger has been rated the best in town, and out on the golf courses, you might overhear locals setting wagers for the delicious fish-and-chip dinners. There are more than forty beers available, with many ales imported from England, making this pub a great watering and feeding hole after a day on the links or for a snack at any time. Closed Sundays.
(Pub) 2 Market Square, Pinehurst; 910-295-3400. $
Other than the resort and hotel bars and grills, Dugan's is all the Village offers in terms of nightlife. Walking distance from the "downtown" hotels and inns, Dugan's offers pub fare (including homemade potato chips) and a good beer selection (including a rarity in the South: Guinness on tap). And downstairs you'll find a second bar area with live music and a pretty happening after-hours scene.
Seagrove Dairy Breeze
(Grub) 311 N. Broad Street, Seagrove; 336-873-7612. $
When visiting the Seagrove pottery studios, stop by this mainstay on the side of Business 220 and get a vanilla milk shake and hamburger with cole slaw and chili--it's almost worth the trip by itself.
The fine guest houses here are all about southern hospitality, and as you'd expect from a four-star facility, the Pinehurst Resort is the class of the field. From villas and condos to the Carolina, Holly Inn and Manor Inn, stays are worry free. Guests can play croquet and tennis, but the most important amenity, of course, is the Resort's eight golf courses. Guests of the Magnolia and Pine Crest Inns may only book tee times on these courses up to three days in advance and day-of-play for No. 2; Pinehurst Resort guests are guaranteed times up to a year in advance. So if you want to play the Resort courses, particularly during high season, stay there. That said, the Magnolia Inn, Pine Crest Inn and Pine Needles Lodge are all excellent--and much less expensive.
Pinehurst Resort, Carolina Vista Drive; 800-487-4653. Rates: Three-day, two-night packages, $788 (standard) to $1,490 (suite).
The Carolina is a fine, stately Victorian hotel that boasts 210 rooms and twelve suites in the tradition of Old South grandeur found only in places like the Greenbrier and the Homestead. The enormity is apparent from the outside, but is made ever more clear inside, as the photograph- and golf memorabilia-laced halls seem to meander on forever. If you are in Pinehurst with children, stay at the Carolina, because activity abounds. The huge Carolina Dining Room feels a bit institutional, but both the food and service are wonderful.
Pinehurst Resort, 155 Cherokee Road; 800-487-4653. Rates: Three-day, two-night packages, $828 (standard) to $1,624 (suite).
Opened in 1895, before golf came to Pinehurst, this was the first hotel in the Village. It was abandoned for many years, but this historic landmark reopened in 1999 after extensive renovations and now is the finest of the Resort hotels. If you plan to travel with your wife or girlfriend, book one of the seventy-seven guest rooms or eight suites; all are large, comfortable, romantic and well-appointed (and make sure you ask for a room with an outside view). The Holly also features a hand-carved Scottish bar in the Tavern.
Pinehurst Resort, Community Road; 800-487-4653. Rates: Three-day, two-night packages, $702 to $930 (standard room).
If you're traveling with your golf buddies, stay here. There are forty-five standard guest rooms, and the feel is a little more laid-back than the Carolina and more sporty than the Holly. There are sunny sitting rooms, and no one gets in your face with service. Mulligan's, a casual bar and grill complete with big-screen televisions, serves pub fare, from cocktails to fried chicken. The Harmony Health Center, which offers skin-care services and massages, is also located here.