July was a traumatic month for us. We have now mostly recovered, but there were a few dark days where we weren’t sure we would. I plan on eventually writing about our latest pregnancy fiasco, but for now it’s tucked away in a drawer in my psyche for sanity-keeping. The short of it is we had a chemical pregnancy with our second IUI. Which means for two and a half weeks we were giddy with excitement at the prospect of finally becoming pregnant, only to have our hopes and dreams miserably crushed by a fucking wrecking ball when my HCG levels stopped rising and they found nothing in my uterus with an ultrasound. Infertility: 1. Us: 0.
I like taking trips because getting away is always a great distraction for me and even better medicine. My parents were here the weekend we got the bad news and we escaped to Beaufort for a night and had a terrific time. The next week we started to process what had happened and it wasn’t pretty. I was trying to come up with something within reason that would make us both happy and excited (all I really wanted to do was fly back in time to our honeymoon in Bora-Bora where nothing could upset me). The British Open was the following weekend and I decided what better way to enjoy it than to take a golf-themed trip. MainMan obviously loved the idea.
I kept my search parameters broad but simple: I typed in “golf” and “pet-friendly” on VRBO.com and hundreds of choices came up. Initially we thought we would return to the Myrtle Beach area where we played over the winter, but nothing really wowed me. I then discovered a charming condo that was right on a golf course in Pinehurst, N.C. If you golf and you’re reading this you’re probably thinking “Duh, dude.” But my golf-pertise is at a first-grade level. I just started playing at the end of last year. “Playing” being a loose term for taking a lesson and swinging a club, often at air. It wasn’t until I googled Pinehurst that I realized they held the U.S. Open last year.
I emailed the owner of the condo and the place was available. SOLD!
We left Friday after MainMan finished work and were delighted to arrive before dark. It was a quick 2.5-hour trip for us on small state roads — a nice break from the boring highways around us. After the horror of the Beaufort accommodations, I was a bit nervous unlocking the door to the condo, but to our pleasant surprise it was even better in person than in the online photos. We were jumping up and down with excitement.
Traveling with pets can be dicey. We’re experts by now, but you never know what the place will be like and how the pets will react to the new surroundings. We’ve learned pet-friendly hotels, while perfect for some occasions, aren’t our greatest option because Agnes gets jumpy/barky with hallway noise. This place was perfect and we could put up the kitten gate to the bathroom so Bode could safely pee and poop in his litter box without bulldog interference (Agnes has been known to strangely love the delicacy of cat feces). We were trying to decide what to do for dinner — get takeout so we could hang with the pets or have a beer, hang with them for a few minutes while they got adjusted, then head to dinner. We opted for dinner out.
The condo owner sent me a few dining recommendations and we settled on one called Drum and Quill. Obviously I like their name! It seemed to have the perfect casual vibe we wanted at 9 o’clock after being in the car for roughly three hours. When we pulled up to the village we were stunned at how cute it was. It was oozing with teeny tiny small town charm. There were lighted storefronts, some of the biggest container plants I’ve ever seen and a handful of chalkboards on the sidewalk inviting you in to the few restaurants that were open and buzzing. It must be town law to have stunning container plants outside places of business. We walked by a few couples in their best Vineyard Vine/Lilly Pulitzer gear and I giggled in my flip flops and jorts.
We walked into the Drum and Quill and fell in love instantly. It was a loud rustic space with dark wooden paneling and diners divvied up among small wooden booths. They had a bustling bar area and a packed red leather banquette along the front window (which was covered by an enormous projector screen playing the golf tournament). I think there was one television per couple. We chose the right place. Our waitress came over immediately and asked how we were doing. “GRRRRREAT now!” We shouted.
We ordered two Mt. Gay and tonics and looked at the menu. There weren’t a ton of veggie-friendly options (coming on six years as a pescetarian), but there were a few sandwiches that I could try. We started with pimento cheese fried wontons which were amazing. I doubled up on the Southern cheese with a pimento and fried green tomato sandwich and MainMan went with the big drum which was a corned beef sandwich.
Everything was delicious. If we weren’t driving and didn’t have pets we would have hung at the bar for hours. The only complaint I had was the temperature inside. It was ridiculously hot and we were sticking to our sweaty seats. I left feeling like I’d sat in a sauna for an hour. I don’t know what was going on, but hopefully it was just an air conditioner malfunction and they don’t normally leave air off when it’s 96 degrees out.
The condo was about a 10-minute drive from the main drag in Pinehurst. We thought Beaufort was small. This was about 1/8 the size of Beaufort. And I wondered what came first: the golf course or the town.
We had a 10:40 a.m. tee time Saturday which gave us time to relax in the morning and give Agnes a nice walk before we ditched her and Bode for four hours. We grabbed some coffee at the Roast Office in town then we walked around the village of Pinehurst and oohed and aahed at some of the beautiful homes. MainMan came up with the idea of walking to the club so we could figure out exactly where we needed to be at 10:30. We knew since the Open was held here this was going to be a serious operation.
Pinehurst Resort has nine golf courses. That’s right. NINE. The Open was played on no. 2 so it’ll be a while before we tee off on that one. When I called for recon purposes, I made sure to ask the guy on the phone which courses were novice-friendly. He recommended Nos. 1, 3 and 5, No. 3 being the most perfect for us because it was the shortest course. Unfortunately when we got around to making the tee time No. 3 was booked so we were put on No. 1.
After MainMan got the lay of the land, we headed back to the condo where we dropped Agnes off with her little brother and we changed for our big day of golf.
We arrived a few minutes early to park the car, check out the pro shop and hit a few balls of the driving range, where I embarrassed myself significantly. I was terrified and couldn’t believe I actually signed up for this.
As the superstitious saying goes in theater: lousy rehearsal means great performance, and vice versa. Lucky for me this was the case with my game that day, though calling it great is a stretch. I just felt comfortable and felt like I held my own most of the time. A hilarious older couple swerved up to us in their golf cart around the ninth hole and before I could ask them, “Are you lost?” they shouted, “Mind if we link up with you guys? We’re getting stuck behind groups of four and it’s painful. This will even it out.”
Apparently, this is a thing. I was nervous as hell and couldn’t believe I had to play in front of people, but we managed. They were really fun and outgoing. I warned them I’d only played one round of 18 before and they laughed and said no problem. The husband was really good, and the wife was so-so. She had a strange looking swing, but the ball moved when she hit it!
Unfortunately, after about 12 holes, the sky started getting darker and they blasted the storm horn. There’s a first for everything. According to our savvier partners, the horn is a “storm’s coming, you decide what to do” type of warning. We decided to veer on the safe side so we headed back to the clubhouse as fast as the golf cart would carry us. Just as we pulled into the cart area under the building, the rain came pouring down and we high-fived at our decision.
We walked around the clubhouse for a few minutes looking for a bar area and this was the biggest, most significant disappointment of the entire weekend: there is no bar to speak of at Pinehurst. They have a small room with round tables, what they call the 91st hole, which is basically a bar “counter” with alcohol behind it, but there’s a cashier on it and people just come in from the veranda outside and wait in line to pay for stuff. I was shocked. How does this place get away with not having a banging bar for golfers?? And it hosted a U.S. Open!? Get. Real. I could not have been more floored. I was expecting something of the Pebble Beach Tap Room caliber at a place like this, but instead it rivaled a bad Disney restaurant. MainMan ordered soup and we got a couple of margaritas and sandwiches. The food was OK, but I couldn’t get over the pathetic bar situation.
After our snack, we headed back to the hotel to rescue the animals. We walked around with Agnes for a few minutes then decided to rest for a bit before heading out to an early dinner. We ate at The Carolina Hotel’s Ryder Cup Lounge. It is the less fancy of two restaurant options at the hotel. We enjoyed it, though I felt it too was a bit lacking on atmosphere. Nothing compared to the Drum and Quill and I almost wished we’d gone back for round two, or tried another recommendation.
After dinner we were pooped. We had thoughts about going to Dugan’s Pub, an Irish pub in town, but we just didn’t have the energy. Amazing what four hours of golf does to you.
A few other places we heard about but weren’t able to try this trip were: Ironwood Cafe, Magnolia Inn and Curt’s Cucina (Italian in Southern Pines).
Sunday we woke up and took Agnes on a walk over and around the golf course by our condo. Afterwards, we headed to a great breakfast in Southern Pines at Mulligans on 18. We drove around feeling confused and we now know they changed the name to Hackers on the Green. It’s a really cute spot overlooking part of the Southern Pines Golf Club. I would highly recommend anyone in the area looking for a solid, laid-back, reasonably priced breakfast to go here. Our server was really friendly and they just had a nice vibe.
Sundays are quick for us, with checkouts usually being around 11. With pets we can’t very well drive around and stop at places and leave them in the car. There were a few antique/consignment stores I would have liked to have gotten into but c’est la vie. We headed home and enjoyed the rest of the Open at home from our couch.
This weekend we’re heading to Hilton Head and we’re playing Old South Golf Links in Bluffton. I can’t wait and look forward to giving a full report here.
Check out our slideshow of the entire weekend!