So the PGA Tour goes to my old home town next week - Pinehurst, North Carolina for the U.S. Open, the second major tournament of the year.
It has been six years since Payne Stewart won the U.S. Open at Pinehurst and the old home town is getting ready to host the big party again. But my most poignant memories of the small North Carolina village have little to do with golf (I played tennis). If you are fortunate enough to go there, don't think that golf is the only thing you can do there - but don't look to live la vida loca either.
Pinehurst when I lived there was mostly for people who were not from there. Even I was not from there, although I am a native North Carolinian. My parents moved us there when I was six and we lived in a house that was called Pine Tree Cottage. Now when this thing was called a cottage, it was kind of the English version of cottage - you know, massive.
This house had 22 rooms, with 8 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. It had a veranda that stretched around it and it was great to sit on that porch when it rained. I remember two huge Magnolia trees in the front yard and claw-foot bathtubs with endless hot water.
This house had been built in 1896, which wasn't too long after the Village of Pinehurst was developed by the Tufts family. Turns out the house used to be an overflow hotel for the Holly Inn. The architecture was the same and the house was meant for more than a family of four.
We lived in this place for the eight years I was in school. When I was in high school we moved to a more modern, ranch-style house near the local airport and Community College.
But the thing that really, really feels like a lost opportunity is that when we moved, we could have bought the old place for $25,000! Can you imagine that? The thing was in the middle of the village of Pinehurst and would have made a bed and breakfast that I could be retired in now. But Dad had other plans and decided to move to the ranch, which he ended up paying $50,000 for.
Dad had other plans though. It was in the living room of the Pine Tree Cottage on a rainy Saturday morning - the morning of the UNC-NC State football game - that Dad told mom that when I turned 18 he was leaving. So I guess asking him to think about buying an 80-year-old house that needed probably $75,000 of work would be a little ridiculous, huh?
But have you tried to get a hotel room in Pinehurst this week?