Southern Pines before is one of our favorite day trips. Jim and I drove down recently to explore and then just a short while later Candice and I made a day of it…
Nestled in the Sandhills between Pinehurst and Aberdeen, is the quiet town of Southern Pines. Founded in 1887 by steel magnate John T. Patrick, Southern Pines was originally intended as a health resort. Breathing in fresh pine air was considered healthful and many people in the area actually built sleeping porches which they used year round.
Today Southern Pines is home to the Historic Weymouth House, built by railroad magnate James Boyd; the 1200 acre estate originally had stables, a tennis court, gardens and a 9-hole golf course.
In the 1930’s his grandsons, James and Jackson, divided the house, pulling half of the structure by mule across the street and establishing what is now the Campbell House and home to the Arts Council of Moore County.
James and his wife enlarged the original house and entertained the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. Today the Weymouth House is open to the public and serves as Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities. The family donated 1,000 acres of the original estate to become the Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve. Somewhere inside the preserve is a 465 year old long-leaf pine tree, the oldest of its kind.
Also in Southern Pines are the historic Shaw House built in 1820, and the Sanders Cabin built in the 1700’s. Both are classic examples of early settler’s homes. And while you’re in the neighborhood, plan to visit the Garner House with its handmade brick fireplace and authentic pine paneling.
Donald Ross, the famous Scottish golf course architect who built the acclaimed course at Overhills in Fayetteville, also built three courses in and around Southern Pines. In Pinehurst you can still play a Ross course at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Pine Needles, Mid Pines, and in Southern Pines at the Southern Pines Golf Club. During his career Ross built nearly 400 courses, and favored the sandy terrain here, which reminded him of his home on Dornock. His courses are notable in that they often incorporated naturally occurring elements instead of the modern method of reshaping the land and introducing new elements.
If golf isn’t your thing, try shopping the historic district on Broad Street. Both sides of the street are a consumer delight with everything from gourmet coffee, fine dining, antiques, and cutting edge fashion. The Sunrise Theater, built in 1898, began as a hardware store before being converted in 1940. Today the Sunrise Preservation Group offers all manner of entertainment: original release movies, concerts, live broadcasts and theatrical performances. And across the street is the historic train station, also built in 1898. Today it operates as the Southern Pines Amtrak Station so it’s both beautiful and functional.