When choosing to live off base, military families seek a neighborhood with good schools, modern amenities, a safe environment, and a friendly community. It’s difficult to find a place close enough to be a convenient commute, while far enough to feel like a refreshing break from military life. The Village of Pinehurst, in central North Carolina near Fort Bragg, has a unique history that makes it a perfect fit for those looking for a place to call home.
Resort town appeal
Unlike most towns that spring up around a military base, Pinehurst was not founded with soldiers in mind. In fact, the Village of Pinehurst was established before Fort Bragg. In 1895, the wealthy Bostonian James Walker Tufts purchased the land and planned to establish a health resort and golf course. He hired a land planning firm to create a beautiful community — the same firm that planned Central Park in New York City and the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.
By the time Fort Bragg was established nearby in 1918, Pinehurst was a thriving resort community with world-renowned golf courses. Since then, it has transformed into an incorporated municipality with hiking trails, equestrian facilities, tennis courts, a splash pad, and the 200-acre Lake Pinehurst for boating and fishing. Not surprisingly, this community is a popular location for families stationed just 33 miles away.
Melissa Holt, a former military spouse, is the communications specialist for the Village of Pinehurst. She has lived there since 2008.
“We chose Pinehurst because it was close enough for my husband to commute to Fort Bragg, but the environment was completely different than many ‘military towns.’ This is a beautiful place to live, but the support I found from the military community who live here, easy access to healthcare, and a fantastic local school system made this somewhere we wanted to stay even after retirement,” Holt explained.
Safety and convenience
Pinehurst’s unique history has resulted in a place that welcomes service members into a safe and supportive community. Since 2014, it has twice been named the “Safest City in North Carolina,” and two other years it was ranked the #2 safest city in the state.
“The Village of Pinehurst is safe because its residents care. For us, living in a small town doesn’t mean a small life. Filled with farm-to-table cuisine, one-of-a-kind boutiques, historic homes, and friendly neighbors, this is a place you’ll be proud to call home,” Holt said.
For these reasons, the Village of Pinehurst has a large population of both active duty and retired military families, co-existing with civilian neighbors. This is ideal, since the healthcare system and local schools have experience working with military families and veterans. Holt says, “every school in our county was recently recognized with the Purple Star Award because of their commitment and practices that support military families. At Pinehurst Elementary School alone, 48% of the students are military connected.”
Pinehurst honors military residents on days like Memorial Day, Independence Day, September 11th, and Veterans Day, with the main streets lined with American flags. The town also hosts a free celebration for military children annually in April.