The Daily Gamecock

Road trip towns: Pinehurst and Southern Pines, NC

<p>Pinehurst's famous, breath-taking&nbsp;golf course, Number Two, has been visited by President Obama.</p>
Pinehurst's famous, breath-taking golf course, Number Two, has been visited by President Obama.

A place of character as well as charm, the small, quiet town of Pinehurst, North Carolina offers visitors the perfect opportunity to relax, play a little golf, shop around and enjoy some delicious Southern cuisine.

Located two hours and 45 minutes from Columbia and just an hour south of Raleigh, North Carolina, Pinehurst is a quaint refuge from busy city life. Slow down for a bit and enjoy the cheerful atmosphere of the neighboring downtown Southern Pines, which is just minutes away from Pinehurst — making the two towns seem to be almost one. There, you'll find adorable boutiques, lovely gift stores, delicious delis and artful fine foods.

For the golfing folks, Pinehurst is famous for its world-class courses. The course called No. 2  is famous enough to have many presidents visit, including President ObamaPinehurst also hosts the U.S. Open golf tournament periodically.

One of the best places to begin perusing in downtown Southern Pines is Denker's, a delightful clothing store with a built-in ice cream and orangeade bar inside. Shop for fine, fashionable clothes while enjoying a tasty limeade, orangeade or ice cream cone.

For breakfast, brunch or even lunch, there's no place better to stop than Betsy's Crepe's, also located in downtown Southern Pines. This shop offers a variety of foods including sweet dessert crepes, salads and savory lunch crepes. A personal favorite is the Josephine, a crepe filled with grilled chicken, goat cheese and caramelized onions, which comes with a salad of fresh greens and a choice from a selection of unique, house-made dressings.

Another local favorite lunch stop is The Ice Cream Parlor. Despite the name, ice cream isn't the only delicious thing on the menu. Barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches are just some of the handcrafted foods you can enjoy while sitting in the picturesque, olden-style parlor.

For the coffee lovers, Swank is an adorable store selling local, hand-made goods and specialty coffees, all offered in a creative atmosphere. Java Bean Plantation and Roasting Co. is another charming coffee stop with a spacious porch to sit and sip your beverage on.

A more humorous yet entertaining visit to the state's largest taxidermy museum, located downstairs in the Christian Bookstore, will leave visitors both amazed and laughing at some of the comical representations of creatures and their funny plaque descriptions.

If you're looking for a fancy romantic getaway or just a beautiful place to walk around and sightsee, The Carolina Hotel is the place to stay — a magnificent four-star estate just minutes from downtown Southern Pines. Stately rooms, elegant decor, wonderful service and a fabulous day spa are just some of the perks to be found at the Carolina Hotel.

Yet another perk of the classy town of Pinehurst and neighboring Southern Pines is that the location was rated the number two safest place in North Carolina .

For a wonderful getaway in a cute and quiet town, visit Pinehurst and Southern Pines, North Carolina, and enjoy the calm mentality and slow-paced atmosphere that's sure to charm every visitor.