My DH is now fixated on living in Southern Pines after his retirement in five years. He has fond memories of the area from his Special Forces training at Fort Bragg. What is the good/bad about living there all year round? He also rides; mostly trails.
I don't live there, but I go there to ride/train/compete A LOT. As far as trail riding, um, MOSS FOUNDATION IS AWESOMENESS. A friend has it literally in her back yard. I hate her. No, I'm really just jealous. We're heading down there next weekend to ride my favourite section, lots of jumps for me to train over too!
Pros -- horse mecca (I event) lots of places to explore on horseback, sandhills means great footing, very little mud. So it's great for winter, we can go ride down there and avoid our mucky trails up here.
Cons -- REALLY REALLY hot in the summer. Well, we all are hot in the summer, but it's hotter down there than it is here and the deer flies make you want to throw yourself screaming into a pond if you go in the woods. But we just ride at home and stay in the open, they seem to have a phobia of open spaces, especially if there is breeze. Evil beasts.
Summary: I would KILL to move down there, it's only about 2 hours away and my trainer lives there, but sadly, my office expects me to show up occasionally to get a paycheck, sigh.
I grew up about 30 miles East of Southern Pines. The summers are very hot and humid, but the winters are mild. The occasional ice storm (freezing rain) can wreck havoc, especially with the pine trees. 'Skeeters and deer flies make life miserable for man and beast.
The land is flat and sandy, so hurricanes and severe weather fronts that wander through can cause localized flooding. Make sure to keep your horse's digestive system cleared out to prevent sand colic.
I don't live there either, but I attended a clinic there a few months ago.
Downtown is cute - lots of shops, bicycle and pedestrian friendly, and I could spend a month or so eating my way through their restaurants. (You have got to go to The Ice Cream Shop for lunch. They do homemade soups and sammies - yum). If you've been to Asheville, NC, it's kind of like that, only without the hippies.
Horse farms are situated within a very convenient distance of downtown. And really, you just have to see them to believe them.
There's foxhunting! And the Moss Foundation. And Denny Emerson is there part of the year and does adult horse camps.
And, um, Southern Pines is where we go to cool off in the summer. But it would only feel cool to someone who lives in the ninth circle of hell that is the SC swamps in August.
I have been several times. I think it is a bit expensive to live there. I know there is some strife between eventers and foxhunters which, I think is why there is no event at the Walthour-Moss Foundation any more. Still lots of xc fences to jump there.
It is very nice though and I loved spending a few weeks in the winter there. They tend to get ice--freezing rain more than up north and some snow. Grass is brown in the winter unless you plant rye which many people do. I think hay is expensive unless you feed burmuda grass which is something northern horses have to learn to like.
The sand shouldn't be too much of a change for you. Coming from NOVA it is a bit to get used to.
Go and watch one of the events coming up. You drive across Fort Bragg to get to the Carolina Horse Park.
Don't know about summers, but I spent one fall, winter and spring there and it was absolutely wonderful to train horses.
The ground was ideal thru those months, the weather cooperated.
There were well run schooling shows all over.
Started TBs for the track with wonderful gallops thru the light forested country.
Hunting was awesome.
I think, at least those months, it was horse heaven.
I lived in Suffering Pines in the early 90s. Weather wa great except in the hottest days of summer...the sand just reflects all that heat back up atcha. I would move back there in a heartbeat and I love where I live. Whatever horse stuff you want to do, there's an "app" for that: driving, eventing, h/j, hunting... And the Foundation is priceless. Get thee to SP and get a post office box - that's the best way to meet folks!
Lol Lord Helpus are you out there there to throw 2 cents in?
I grew up there and couldn't get out of town fast enough. Now that I have matured a bit, I would move back in a skinny minute!!
Southern Pines, Pinehurst, and Aberdeen have all grown up quite a bit. There's lots of places to eat and shop, and things to do that weren't there when I was a restless teenager.
The horse scene in Southern Pines is high-end amazing. Barns and houses that look like they are out of a magazine.... the ability to ride year-round in good footing... the Moss Foundation.... yep - horse heaven!
Summer is hell and I won't even begin to sugar-coat it. Hot, humid, and lasting from May - October.
Fall is summer extended without humidity.
Winter can be very nice if you are accustomed to a cold climate. Ice storms are way more common than snow and the ice storms can be brutal because pine trees don't do well with the weight of ice, which means power outages.
If you have seasonal pollen allergies, start taking your meds in March. Springtime is beautiful with the dogwoods and azaleas in bloom, but when the pine trees start making love, everything has a nasty powdery haze of yellow.
I lived in Southern Pines for a few years and it is horse heaven! The farms are beautiful, the Foundation can't be beat, and there are world class trainers and riders in every discipline. Its fun to run errands in your riding clothes and see many other people out and about dressed the same! There are some really great local restaurants and boutiques, but you do have to drive a bit to get to a mall, Target, or any type of big box store that isn't a Walmart (yuck!). I came from a warmer climate so I did not find the summers to be bad, and as long as you do some trotting and cantering the bugs never bothered me on the Foundation. Weymouth is a nice alternative for hacking out in the hotter months if your horse is sensitive to bugs.
The community in Southern Pines is really great and always has fun local events going on, but it is definitely a small town in every sense of the word. Works for some people, not for others. I think it would be a great place to retire.
I visited several horsey towns 2 years ago. Took my big dog with me. (Good introduction, and barometer of meeting people.)
The hotel that I stayed at in Southern Pines was near a shopping strip, and the air was pretty foul. Someone said it was because of the base.
And the individuals at the doggie park were very, very weird and snobby. Most didn't have a clue about animals. They were kissy kissing their little pocket puppies, out of control with their bigger dogs (GSDs) and looking in great disdain at my sweet Irish Wolfhound. And there were probably more people at the dog park there than in other places I visited. Just found it strange, and funny, how the people at the dog park were in cliques - felt like high school.
I know it's not a way to judge a community generally, but just got a negative feel overall. And, yes, my allergies were going haywire.
I loved Aiken and Tryon. Also Lexington, KY.
Oh, and Northern VA, too - but with a sister there, I'll wait 'til they move back!
Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes
Sadly, fire ants continue their relentless march north as the climate warms. They've already made it to VA and I'm sure parts of TN. They are certainly here, although only in small patches -- nowhere near like the hell hole that is Texas, where I lived for two years. One species I wish would go extinct....why is it always the pretty ones instead?
I lived there for 9 years from 1986 to 1995. We kept horses all over the place at various barns and lived in a little mobile home park right off hunt country. I could sit at my kitchen table and watch the hounds go past my backyard. I loved it there. We were stationed at Ft. Bragg at that time and had just been married...so we were on a tight budget and did a lot of self board.
Most everyone has filled you in on the wonderful aspects so far. I remember a few downsides other than the extreme heat of summers..which IMO was no worse than living in SE Virginia. It's buggier here and more humid. I really hate summers in this part of VA.
Anyway, I remember there were a lot of low flying aircraft all the time due to the training on Bragg. It was nothing to have a large jet like a C140 Starlifter go 500 ft overtop of you riding..you do get used to it. Another thing was the bombing and noise. The artillery ranges would go sometimes at night time and for hours. I remember one time a huge explosion shook our little mobile home and almost rolled us out of bed one morning that I wondered if it was a stray shot or off target. Stuff would fall off of shelves....it's hard to describe. You could mistake it for a thunder storm coming at times and you did get used to it. Unless it's changed, it was not always a peaceful serene place to live with the Ft Bragg ranges so close.
The footing, while sand, can be deep. I remember Amanda Warrenton (eventer now deceased) who trained there telling me that the deep footing had made her top horse sore in the stifles and he had to be laid up. I think I recall Denny Emerson saying something similar also. He wintered down there at the time I was in town. Anyway, for some horses, that deep soft footing can bring on soft tissue issues. I remember we'd often try and stay off the deepest stuff and stay on the pine needles or the grass if we were cantering and even trotting long distance. That's probably not a big problem but just something to consider.
I do miss living there in many ways. Those were some good years. My husband and I were just talking about that a few days ago about being able to just go ride for hours or all day..and that we didn't realize then how good we had it. Our riding at our current place is very poor by comparison and we have to haul out to do any serious riding.
Daydream Believer - you reminded me of a crazy incident the first week I lived there!! I woke up one morning completely freaked out b/c I thought someone was walking quickly across the roof of my house. I started sneaking around the house and literally grabbed a fire poker...it was ridiculous! After fully inspecting the entire house - inside and eventually out - I mentioned to my trainer what had happened and he laughed his a$$ off. Turns out I was hearing exercises at Bragg and the stomping on my roof was the bombing. Nice, huh?
But I did get used to it and though I live out in the sticks, no way could I ride all day in as beautiful and safe a place as Moss. I miss it much, too.