Written by smmmarti guide on 03 Apr, 2002
Moore County was established in 1784 and named for Alfred Moore, a Revolutionary War hero. With such a long, rich history, the buildings, traditions and customs of a by-gone era rule this county and give it a very quaint and unique flavor that…Read More
Moore County was established in 1784 and named for Alfred Moore, a Revolutionary War hero. With such a long, rich history, the buildings, traditions and customs of a by-gone era rule this county and give it a very quaint and unique flavor that one must experience to truly appreciate. You might think a community offering croquet and lawn bowling on manicured lawns, golf galore, high tea at the inn, polo at the fields and festivals of antique and pottery collecting to be a bit … stuffy. But that is absolutely not the case in Pinehurst. Rather, you find all the gentile attributes of gracious manners without the pseudo-hype of so many glitzy wannabe resorts.
It’s a lot like old East Coast money without the snobbery. One-upmanship is, after all, a waste of energy better put into one’s sport. Drinks, relaxation, recreation, lots of game and intense competition shielded by perfect manners is the order of any great day. Support of community arts - music, theater, pottery, antiques, historical preservation - are high on the list of local priorities along with excellent health and educational services.
If the game of golf is a metaphor for life, as it's often referenced, then one understands easily why Pinehurst is such a haven for the sport. It swings easy, but stays focused. It has strong history and opinions, but respects, accepts and appreciates newcomers to its fields.
You can tell a lot about a place by reading the local news, which is what I try to do whenever I enter new territory. On my first day in Pinehurst, I sat in the shade of a long-needled pine in the center of the village square reading the Pinehurst Gazette with its outspoken editorials and complete disregard for being politically correct. In a prophetic editorial of March, 2001, the editor chastised those who lacked a sense of patriotism, who took American for granted or worse, and called upon us all to respect, defend and appreciate this great country of ours.
I looked up after reading that and other bits of insight into the mindset of the area’s residents and felt perfectly at home in the precisely organized village of shops and eateries, brick paths and tree lined streets that appeared to have always been there. Passersby smiled and said hello. No one seemed to think it odd that a person would just pass the time reading on a bench in the center of town quite content with the news and bemused by the local color it revealed.
That was just the start of my enduring fondness for the area.
I haven’t strongly taken to the game of golf quite yet, but very unexpectedly, I was captivated and enamored with the whole of Pinehurst; the people, the village, the potters, the pubs, the characters and atmosphere at the Pine Crest Inn, the history and the sports. Even if it’s only to play croquet and lawn bowling, to throw back a pint a Dugan's, I really can’t wait to return.
Written by smmmarti guide on 04 Apr, 2002
A little storefront "gallery" caught our attention directly upon our arrival in Seagrove. Stepping inside, we immediately began a bidding war over the stunningly beautiful crystalline glazed pot on display there. It was hotel lobby sized and like nothing we'd ever seen before.…Read More
A little storefront "gallery" caught our attention directly upon our arrival in Seagrove. Stepping inside, we immediately began a bidding war over the stunningly beautiful crystalline glazed pot on display there. It was hotel lobby sized and like nothing we'd ever seen before.
Our war ended quickly when we found the pot was not for sale, as the son of the artist quickly advised us. "These are Phil's best pieces and he keeps 'em for himself," he told us. But if he were to sell it, it would cost about $5,000.00.
Gasp! We were assured some of his pieces are in the Smithsonian and have been given as gifts to foreign ambassadors. The First Lady owns some, but there were plenty of smaller items at his workshop down the road a stretch. I wondered aloud whether Oprah had discovered Phil Morgan yet. We suddenly felt a need to hurry to his studio.
After an number of false starts and stops, pulling into and backing out of the wrong driveways, we tracked Phil down. It was astounding to think that beautiful vase, the stunningly refined piece of glazed sculpture could have been produced in this little collection of shacks and debris that made up Phil's working quarters and studio.
One single lighted display case showed off some of Phil's most recent work. My friend asked to see one closer. Phil got the windex and cloths and started to wipe the thick dust from the piece on the bottom which had provoked the pot envy in us both. He stood the precious vase on his countertop after clearing off the magazines, newspapers and invoices that littered the area. A few kids lounged on an old sofa in the studio and Phil yelped at them to clean up the place once in a while. They grinned and stroked their beautiful blond hair, assuring us it was all an act on Phil's part, that they were perfectly pampered with eyes that sparkled as bright as their father's vases.
"How much?" my friend inquired, smitten with the vase even more now that it was clean. Phil hemmed and hawed and began bringing us more vases to inspect, something tucked away here, buried under there, one more beautiful than the next. Finally a price range was determined. The smallest and least stunning were under a thousand. The larger and more dramatic upwards of two.
We were sitting on the sofa now and the girls had gone off shopping. We stared and stared at the vases. We imagined them placed magnificently on our respective art niches and mantles. We already owned them in our minds. But how could we convince our husbands, happily playing golf for $220 a round at Pinehurst, that pots were really this valuable?
While we strategized, Phil took us out back. He gave us the grand tour of his kiln and explained the firing process. He had built the kiln himself and developed the unique crystalline glaze that made the vases so beautiful and organic. (Some look like a collection of jellyfish floating through rainbow colored waters, others like magnified snowflakes on a background of mother of pearl.) When enough pots were ready to be fired, the kiln would be stoked for days until it reached the proper amazingly high heat required to finish the glaze and create the alchemy that turned paint into crystal magic. If the heat was just one degree off, the entire collection, months of work, could shatter into worthless remnants or remain dull, lifeless and utilitarian.
There was great excitement at firing time, obviously. To the family's income level it meant striking it rich or going back to the drawing board. All hands would be on deck for the endeavor and overnight vigils would be kept at the fullness of the moon by the glow and heat of the kiln. Very particular refreshments would be served and other ritualistic routines observed during these very special and hallowed times.
I asked Phil why he didn't just order a kiln with a thermostat? Surely something like that would be available if you wanted it and then you wouldn't be at the mercy of the kiln for your livelihood. Phil looked down and chuckled. He tugged at the hem of his t-shirt, sticking it back into his jeans as he swiped the dirt with his boot. "That's our house there," he pointed to a truly lovely log cottage with a glorious front porch strewn with flower baskets and rockers just a stone's throw from the studio. "We ain't going no where else if we did have the money," he told me. Then he looked very quizzically into my eyes as if perplexed at how I could even pose such a ridiculous notion as an electric kiln and said very gently, "and we live for our firing rituals."
I left Seagrove without one of Phil's pots. The investment seemed so great and so sudden that I couldn't make a decision that quickly and I wondered where I would put the treasure once I brought it home. Yet, when looking back on all the things I should have done, snatching up one of Phil's amazing creations is definitely one of them.
Breathes there a golfer who hasn’t dreamed wistfully of a trip to Pinehurst?
The area is the largest golf resort in the world with over 40 golf courses in Moore County’s twenty-five mile radius. This golf haven is centered around Pinehurst Resort www.pinehurst.com…Read More
Breathes there a golfer who hasn’t dreamed wistfully of a trip to Pinehurst?
The area is the largest golf resort in the world with over 40 golf courses in Moore County’s twenty-five mile radius. This golf haven is centered around Pinehurst Resort www.pinehurst.com with its dazzling collection of nine courses designed by such great golf course architects as Donald Ross and Tom Fazio. The famed Number Two course is incentive enough for golfers to make the pilgrimage. So what was I doing here?
To think of me golfing at Pinehurst is somewhat akin to watching my friend, a blush/rose wine drinker getting sloppy on Dom Perignon. A novice, make that a hack, surely can’t appreciate the subtleties and vagaries that make the sport (or wine) profound and exceptional.
When I think of myself taking those earth carving divots on my approach shot on Course Number Two, picking up my ball after too many shots on the seventeenth hole, I knew enough to beg forgiveness and even offer to pay alms for my damage. I honestly had to chip up six times on one little trick of a green to finally get my ball to rest on it before it rolled back toward me like some mocking devil saying, "nah, nah, nah, na-na, nah, you ain’t got no backspin!"
Thankfully, through the eyes of my friend who played heartily and joyfully along side me, recounting after putting out each hole how grateful and excited she was to finally be here at this hallowed land of golf, that I could appreciate the wonder of it all and see past caring about my own golfing inadequacies.
All I had to do was look to be captivated by the obvious charm and beauty of the landscape and to be humbled by the depth of the bunkers, the bend of the fairways, the complete absence of rough separating perfect shot from lost ball. I’m no expert, but I think I can vouch that golf at Pinehurst is all its cracked up to be and more.
Donald Ross most likely was the world’s best golf architect, as so many claim. Yet, there are many others who make a profound impact on the game through course design and most anyone who is anyone in golf is represented here at one of the 40 courses gracing the area.
Beyond the golf, one needs no specially trained eyes to appreciate all the other splendid pleasures of this neck of the woods; a woods designed by the landscape architecture wizard, Frederick Olmstead, who also designed Central Park and the Gardens at Biltmore (another of my all-time favorite places).
Read on to find out how golf at Pinehurst originally came to be.