You’ve seen the Best of the Pines. Now, peep our picks for the top six categories that didn’t make the cut. You didn’t ask, but we delivered anyway.
1. Best Place That Makes Us Famous
The Creation Museum. Come for the fudge, stay for the stuffed mountain lion resting on a disembodied mannequin hand. Stay even longer for the squirrel decked out in a G.I. Joe uniform. Regardless of your religion, you can agree this place is a strange trip — which is why it has landed on Roadside America, Atlas Obscura and Strange Carolinas, and is always among TripAdvisor’s top five things to do in Southern Pines.
2. Best Place to Go When You Miss Your Mom*
Sizzlin’ Steak and Eggs. Sure, the sign looks like it was burned by a giant toaster and it shares a parking lot with a strip club. But the waitresses all call you sweetheart, and bring you biscuits that taste like a family recipe. *reader submission
3. Best Place We All Love to Hate
Sandhills Cinema. It’s dark, it’s dirty, the bathrooms are third-world, and you may or may not hear the movie. You’ll complain, but let’s face it — you’re not turning down a chance to see that superhero blockbuster.
4. Best Event to Sweat Through
Summer concerts. With series in Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Aberdeen, you have the opportunity to get your thighs stuck to a chair on three different lawns. Go ahead, fill up on beer — it’s all coming out of your pores at a record-breaking pace.
5. Best Place for When You Don’t Want to Parent
Play Escape. Because you’d let them play outside, but the park doesn’t have couches. And unlike the park, you can get out of playtime by telling your kids you’re too big to fit in the tunnels.
6. Best Place to Reflect on Your Dreams
The Sinkhole. A sedan slid into this hole by U.S. 1 back in April — and, like the last goal you set, no discernible developments have happened since. That’s OK. Just put up a mental detour and keep on moving.
Did we miss something that should’ve made the list? Hit reply and let us know. But first, see what made the cut last year — and get a healthy dose of déjà vu with the intro.