The Creators of N.C.

Salt of the Earth

Building a business together

By Wiley Cash    Photographs by Mallory Cash

The interior of the building is warm and smells like the ocean. The walls and ceiling are constructed of white corrugated plastic sheets, all of them glowing beneath the bright noonday sun. Nets hang from the ceiling above tables that hold large wooden trays, their bottoms lined with thick, restaurant-grade plastic.

Jason Zombron looks down into one of the trays of white crystals that seem to have arranged themselves in haphazard patterns. If you stare long enough, it appears that the ocean is in each tray, dozens of tides frozen in time, doing their best to return to their previous form. After all, just a few days ago, this salt was floating somewhere in the Atlantic, but now it has made its way here to a piece of land in Burgaw, North Carolina, where Jason and his wife, Jeanette Philips, own and operate Sea Love Sea Salt.

Jason picks up a small shovel and scoops up a load of crystals, which have hardened into countless geometric shapes, from squares to pyramids. Jeanette stands nearby. “I never get tired of this,” she says, her voice quiet as if she’s whispering a prayer. “Every time I witness it happen, it takes my breath away. It sits here with the sun and the heat until it’s ready to be harvested. We’re not doing anything to make this happen.”

While heat and evaporation are the final steps in creating salt, Jeanette and Jason actually do a lot to make it happen before it gets to that point. The venture begins in Wrightsville Beach, where, in a process and at a location that Jason and Jeanette are wisely hesitant to disclose, water is extracted from the ocean and pumped into a 275-gallon tank on the back of a trailer. From there, the water is transported to rural Burgaw and the 3-acre farm that Jason and Jeanette own. The water is then pumped from the trailer to a second tank, where gravity takes over and the real work begins. Jason and Jeanette fill tray after tray with water, kinking the hose to stop the flow while arranging the full trays on tables throughout the salt house. The trays will sit in the heat however long it takes for the water to evaporate, leaving nothing but the salt behind.

The labor can be taxing, and that’s before the harvesting and the blending of salt with other ingredients even begins, but Jeanette and Jason delight in the work. After all, the chance to spend as much time together as possible is what led them to step into the business of making salt.

“Whatever business we set out on, it had to get us together,” Jason says. “That was the most important thing.”

“It feels great because we’re passionate about this,” Jeanette adds. “And it’s the first time we’ve gotten to do something creative together.”

The two met on a blind date in Asheville. At the time, Jeanette was working in public health, and Jason was in sales for an outdoor provisions company. They both traveled a lot, and they wanted to spend more time together. Jeanette’s sister lived in Seattle, and so the young couple set their wagons west. They made a life in the Northwest, forging successful careers and raising two young children, and they soon realized that they were both interested in food, the growing of it, the preparing of it, and, of course, the eating of it. They also began experimenting with various ways of using different kinds of salts in their cooking.

While they loved living in the Northwest, they began to feel hemmed in by their careers and schedules and missed the sense of community they’d felt in the South. Jeanette was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, and Jason just outside of Washington, D.C.

“We wanted to live close to the water,” Jason says. When they moved to Wilmington a couple of years ago, they began to look for a shared business opportunity they could devote themselves to. They learned that Amanda Jacobs, the founder of Sea Love Sea Salt, was looking to sell her growing business. When they met with Amanda, Jeanette brought along a salt recipe she had developed back in Seattle. While there were other suitors who wanted to purchase the business, “No one else brought Amanda a salt,” Jeanette says.

Since purchasing the company, Jeanette and Jason have worked to develop new salts to add to a lineup that already includes citrus, Sriracha, rosemary, dill pickle and others. Two flavors they brought with them from their experiences in Seattle are herb and fennel, and they regularly test various salts at local farmers   markets in Wilmington, tracking the responses of their customers. They also have a thriving connection with numerous local restaurants and breweries, most of whom pride themselves on sourcing local products, as do Jason and Jeanette. Almost all their salts are flavored with North Carolina-grown produce. 

Aside from developing new salts, Jeanette and Jason are planning to develop the land where the business sits. While it contains the salt house and a warehouse, they are building a hoop house to double their capacity — important during the winter, when the time it takes for water to evaporate goes from 10 days in the summer to as long as three weeks in the colder months, when days are shorter. They are planning to host farm-to-table meals featuring local chefs and artists, and are thinking of other creative ways to invite the community to this wooded, quiet piece of land.

Jason pours scoops of salt into fine mesh bags that he hangs from the ceiling, salt that could have begun on the other side of the world, now suspended from the rafters in rural North Carolina.

“People come here for the ocean,” he says. “This is giving them the chance to taste it.” PS

Wiley Cash is the Alumni Author-in-Residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. His new novel, When Ghosts Come Home, is available wherever books are sold.


Monument to Freedom

In 2021 ground was broken for the North Carolina Freedom Park in downtown Raleigh. Marsha Warren will speak on “Freedom Park: The Inspiring Story of How a Monument to Freedom is Built while Confederate Statures are Coming Down” on Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. Cost is $15 for Weymouth members and $20 for non-members. This is part one of a three-part lecture series. For more information go to

Swing Your Partner

The Carolina Pines Dance Club trips the light fantastic with swing, line, ballroom, shag and Latin dancing on Saturday, Jan. 15, at the National Athletic Village, 201 Air Tool Dr., Southern Pines. Lessons are available at 6:30 p.m.  The dancing goes until 9:30 p.m. Beginners, old hands, couples and singles are all welcome. Cost is $15. For information call (724) 816-1170. 

Tap Into This

The Sandhills Repertory Theatre presents “Jerry Herman on Broadway,” with amazing tap dancing — including a medley of hits from Hello, Dolly! and much more — at the Bradshaw Performing Arts Center, 3395 Airport Road, Pinehurst. Show dates are Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $35 for regular seating ($45 at the door) and $75 for VIP lounge seats. Students under 12 admitted free. For information and tickets go to www.ticketmeshandhills or www.sandhillsreporg.

Bluegrass Bonanza

The Gibson Brothers, Leigh and Eric, perform with special guest Vickie Vaughn at 6:46 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2, at the Bradshaw Performing Arts Center, Owens Auditorium, 3395 Airport Road, Pinehurst. The brothers were named Entertainers of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2012 and 2013. Tickets are $40-$45 and available at

Warm Up Those Pipes

You can fight off the cold weather with a red-hot aria or two at the beginning and at the end of the month. The Sunrise Theater, 250 N.W. Broad St. in Southern Pines, will show the Met Opera performances of Cinderella at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1, and Rigoletto at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29. For more information visit



Freezing? Get used to it.

By Kate Smith

“Did you lose a bet?”

It was a little old lady out walking her dog. I’m in my bikini, wringing water out of my hair on the edge of a Whispering Pines lake. High on endorphins, I just laugh. “It’s good for me,” I say.

I’m not naturally hot-blooded. I don’t have the selkie genes — named for the seal folk of Norse mythology — we hear about in people who survive hours in glacial water. And I don’t have a high concentration of that metabolic unicorn, brown adipose tissue. In fact, I have a 97-degree average body temperature, am borderline anemic, and I hate the cold. But I’m trying to change that.

It started back in September. On gut instinct, I bought a used 9-foot longboard and taught myself how to surf. It was meditative medicine and nothing has kept me out of the water since. I don’t mind the rashes, skinned legs from wipeouts in broken seashells, sinuses raw with salt water, or bruises on my ribs. I’m not afraid of sharks, even after seeing one a few feet away on my second day in the water, and I’m not fazed by jellyfish stings or colliding with fishing lines. But as soon as winter hit, the cold has given me a run for my money.

I have Raynaud’s, an autoimmune condition that constricts the tiny blood vessels to my fingers and toes, making them go white and numb from cold exposure as insignificant as the produce aisle in the grocery store. Despite a full wetsuit with hood, gloves and boots, they still go numb, and it doesn’t take long before my dexterity nosedives, and then so do I. A lot.

Add to that the darkness of winter, and despite my best intentions, I’ve found myself huddled in my house for entire weekends, fatigued by the gloom and too cold to surf, the thing that helps the most. I hate the cold. But, really, I’m trying to change that.

I heard about this guy named Wim Hof. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts and ran a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot. I figured if this normal dude can train his body to thrive in the Arctic, I can certainly figure it out here in the South for the sake of getting back on my surfboard.

According to Wim, the process of cold adaptation is pretty simple. Do it, safely, until it doesn’t suck so much. The first time I waded into a cold lake, the water felt like razor blades. I dipped under, and came up with my heart pounding, muscles aching, and a little dizzy and disorientated. But when I got back to shore, the blood surged through my body, warming me completely, and brought with it a drug-like euphoria. So, I did it again. And every day since, it’s gotten easier. It’s still cold, but it’s not as painful, and it doesn’t take my breath away. In fact, it makes me feel almost invincible.

Turns out, that’s a normal reaction for cold-water swimmers. It’s evidence of something called cross adaptation. When your body adapts to the physical stressor of cold (or heat, or big changes in oxygen or pressure), you become more capable, physically and psychologically, to handle stressors outside your control. What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger, and it might even bliss you out. Along with strengthening your immune system, cardiovascular system and metabolism, cold water adaptation floods your body with stress-relieving hormones. When you emerge from ice-cold water, your brain thinks you almost died, and it’s rewarding you for staying alive by making you feel positively giddy.

Swimming in cold lake water did indeed help my body rise to the physical challenge of winter surfing. Soon, I was back at it, albeit sporting one of the warmest wetsuits on the market. But cold water helped me rise to the challenge of my internal winter, too. Every time I surface from beneath and I see spring a little closer ahead, I get a shot of courage and hope.

If Mother Nature can’t stop me, nothing can.  PS

Kate Smith is the clinical herbalist and holistic health coach of Made Whole Herbs.

On Writing at Weymouth

By Kelly Mustian 
Photograph by John Gessner

On the second floor of the Boyd House, cloistered in quiet rooms set apart, Weymouth writers-in-residence labor over novels, poems, memoirs, and all manner of literary endeavors. I wrote a considerable portion of my novel, The Girls in the Stilt House, in one room or another in those quarters, everyday responsibilities left behind, all attention on the work at hand.

Writing in that grand old house is unlike writing anywhere else. Although writing is, by nature, a solitary experience, at Weymouth I am sequestered with ghosts — F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Max Perkins, Paul Green, and a host of others. An abundance of illustrious authors of James Boyd’s day were guests in the house, and something of their essence seems to linger in the air.

On occasion, I sit with these ghosts at night in the intimate, dimly lit downstairs library. It is not difficult to picture them gathered in front of the fireplace, talking books and writing and agents and editors. This room is inherently inspiring, with its broad, rustic floorboards and rich wood paneling, walls lined with glass-front bookcases housing Boyd’s vast collection of volumes. When I was working on The Girls in the Stilt House, I often padded down to this library to slip into the past and meet my characters in their own time period. In a small pool of light from a floor lamp behind the sofa, the windows black with the night, I found inspiration that is unique to Weymouth.

My imagination is in high gear in that beloved house. Sometimes I pretend as a child would, but isn’t pretending the primary calling of a novelist? I settle into my assigned bedroom like a character settling into a story. So much that remains of the ’20s and ’30s throughout the house — the old push-button light switches, the shutter hooks outside the windows, the peekaboo keyholes, the sleeping porches — immerses me in the era in which both my last novel and my current work-in-progress are set. I arrange my writerly necessities on the desk, look through the wavy glass of a hundred-year-old window, and feel connected to everyone who has ever gazed out at that view of longleaf pines and English gardens.

I have come to know the house like a friend. There is a little door behind the bed in the Sherwood Anderson room, so small one would have to crawl through it, that is still a mystery to me, but I know where to find the corner fireplace that appears in an old black and white photograph upstairs yet is nowhere to be seen in a tour of the house. There is a stunted staircase leading to nowhere that I accidentally stumbled upon in a closet. I know where the old wood floors creak most loudly, and that on just the right kind of stormy night, wind blowing across the window shutters can sound almost like footsteps on the old iron balcony outside the Paul Green and Thomas Wolfe rooms.

In the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame upstairs, I see James Boyd working at his standing desk, still there today in front of the window with a view he loved. Downstairs, I see Thomas Wolfe, as the legend goes, climbing through a window before dawn after a long train ride and a bit of imbibing. When Weymouth hosts an event in the great room, voices, laughter and music drifting up the stairways, I hear a 1930s party, those familiar ghosts dining and dancing and telling stories.

Whispered among some of the Weymouth writers are rumors of a different kind of ghost. I have had no otherworldly experiences to relate, and I tend to be somewhat Nancy Drew-ish about that. But I suspect that almost everyone who is alone in that enormous house and steps into the dark hallway between bedroom and bathroom in the wee hours, is, for those few seconds at least, a believer.

There is a camaraderie among the housemates, usually no more than four of us at a time. During the day, we pass each other in the hallways almost like ghosts ourselves, exchanging a quick snatch of conversation or just a nod, our minds still on our work. We occasionally share lunches in the kitchen or walks through Weymouth Woods. Sometimes, near the end of a week’s solitary work, a few of us gather in the evening to read to each other from what we’ve written, the night-quiet house lending itself to reflection and the sorting out of life’s complexities, for both our characters and ourselves.

With each residency, I feel as if I’m adding my fingerprints to those of James and Katharine Boyd’s literary comrades, my footprints to those of all the writers who have walked those worn floors, a hundred years ago or last week. Weymouth’s writers-in-residence are all beneficiaries of the tradition of hospitality to authors established by the Boyds and furthered by a long line of Weymouth’s loving caretakers.

It’s just a building, but I have a relationship with that house. I miss it when I’m not there. It welcomes me back when I return. And my writing is richer because of it.  PS

Kelly Mustian is the author of the USA Today bestselling novel The Girls in the Stilt House, shortlisted for the 2022 Crook’s Corner Book Prize, and is pretty sure she is Weymouth’s biggest fan.

Kaitlin Baird + William Helms III


Photographer: Jennifer B. Photography Videographer: Story Focused Media Wedding Coordinator: Summer Jones Events

William popped the question over a morning cup of coffee on a low-key, rainy Saturday complete with cuddling on the couch. Close friends and family stopped by in the afternoon to top off the surprise.

“The perfect proposal,” Kaitlin said. “William knew his future wife well.”

The pair’s wedding was originally scheduled for New Year’s Eve 2020, but, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, William and Kaitlin waited 860 days to tie the knot — but who’s counting?

When the big day finally arrived, the couple wed at Pinehurst’s historic Village Chapel and then celebrated their new marriage and the New Year in a reception at The Fair Barn. Complete with sparklers and a Champagne toast at midnight, the wedding had an elegant and timeless vibe that the newlyweds said they’ll always look back on and love.

Ceremony: The Village Chapel | Reception: The Fair Barn | Dress: Jenny Yoo Bridal | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Jewelry: The Lady Bride | Hair & Makeup: Chelsea Regan Makeup + Hair | Bridesmaids: Revelry | Groomsmen: Generation Tux | Flowers: Hollyfield Designs Inc. | Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes | Catering: Elliotts on Linden | Rentals: Ward Productions and CE Rentals  | Invitations: Minted | Transportation: Kirk Tours & Limousine


The Suds Chronicles

When a cold one comes in downright handy

By Bill Fields

Some people abstain from alcohol during January, but I don’t think I will be one of them this year.

After getting a COVID-19 breakthrough infection in November and isolating at home for 10 days, one of my first stops upon recovering was for a beer in the tap room of my local — and excellent — craft brewery, Aspetuck Brew Lab. Along with the comfort of seeing familiar faces was the welcome taste of my favorite, Turbidity Lucidity, an American IPA.

The brewery says of TuLu that “this citrusy smooth, crushable IPA is capped off with a double dose of dry-hops and Simcoe and Mosaic lupulin power. Citrus-forward and crisp.” I just know that I like it.

The pleasure of that pint, the first I’d had in two weeks or so because I got sick, started me thinking about my beer life. It started with a sly (or so I thought) sampling of my father’s stash. I was 12, and Dad was in the hospital for a few days. While Mom visited him one evening, I built up the nerve to open one of the Budweisers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. So bitter and unappealing was the taste, I doubt if I consumed 2 ounces of the lager. I poured out the rest and put the empty in the outside trash can. I figured Dad wouldn’t notice there were now four cans in the fridge instead of five.

“I see you’ve been into my beer,” he said upon coming home.

“Didn’t like it,” I replied.

That would change in the ensuing years. I wasn’t much of an underage drinker — Dad being a police officer probably had something to do with that — but sure wouldn’t refuse an occasional beer from a friend when we left the Castle of Dreams disco on Tuesday teen night.

Upon turning 18 in 1977, a couple of friends and I were happy-hour regulars on Fridays at 21 Club on West New Hampshire Avenue in downtown Southern Pines. A cool, dimly lit place on a hot summer evening with $1.50 pitchers of Bud to pour into frosted mugs just about defined high living at that point in our lives.

Quantity trumped quality when it came to beer consumption during college in Chapel Hill, whether at Troll’s, Harrison’s or He’s Not Here. Only the place with the great name has survived the decades, but I’ll always remember a Friday afternoon journalism “class” at Harrison’s with the visiting journalist Tom Wicker. The North Carolina native, UNC graduate and New York Timesman held court for three Heinekens and lots of stories before excusing himself to attend another engagement.

I painfully had (way) more than three beers on a Saturday evening in 1985 in Cincinnati, prior to photographing the final round of the LPGA Championship the next day. Nancy Lopez won the tournament by a whopping eight strokes. My victory was making it through the hot afternoon despite a lethal hangover. It was a valuable lesson for the rest of my years on the golf tournament photography trail: all things in moderation, particularly on Saturday night.

I’ve had beers in the den of Curtis Strange, the first person I knew to have a keg in his home (being on the Michelob staff had its advantages, and there was no doubt he believed in the product). I drank a Rolling Rock on Arnold Palmer’s jet and went to a chicken-and-beer place (it’s a thing) with my South Korean hosts on a business trip there. Working at the Tokyo Olympics last year, our activities were restricted because of the pandemic. Fortunately, there was a 7-Eleven in our hotel complex that wasn’t off limits. A 7-Eleven in Japan is stocked with many items, including different kinds of beer, which wasn’t a bad thing to have on hand while watching Olympic rowing or table tennis at night on the Japanese channels.

That Yebisu tasted much better than the Budweiser I had 50 years earlier.  PS

Southern Pines native Bill Fields, who writes about golf and other things, moved north in 1986 but hasn’t lost his accent.


Photograph by Bill Fields


Winter Waterbirds

Coming in out of the cold

By Susan Campbell

The arrival of cold weather in the Sandhills and Piedmont also means the arrival of waterfowl. Our local ponds and lakes are the winter home to more than two dozen different species of ducks, geese and swans. Over the years, as water features both large and small have been added throughout the area, the diversity of waterfowl has increased significantly. Although we are all familiar with our local mallards and Canada geese, a variety of aquatic birds frequent our area from November through March.

Certainly, the most abundant and widespread species is the ring-necked duck, flocks of which can be seen diving for aquatic invertebrate prey in shallow ponds and coves. The males have iridescent blue heads, black sides and gray backs. They get their name from the indistinct rusty ring at the base of their necks. The females, as with all true duck species, are quite nondescript. They are light brown all over and, like the males, have a grayish-blue bill with a white band around it.

However, the most noticeable of our wintering waterfowl would be the buffleheads. They form small groups that dive in deeper water, feeding on vegetation and invertebrates. The mature males have a bright white hood and body with iridescent dark green back, face and neck. Also, they sport bright orange legs and feet, which they will flash during confrontations. But the females (as well as the immature individuals of both sexes) of this species are drab, too — mainly brown with the only contrast being a small white cheek patch. Interestingly, bufflehead is the one species of migratory duck that actually mates for life. This is generally a trait found only in the largest of waterfowl: swans and geese.

There are several types of aquatic birds similar to ducks that can be identified if one can get a good look, which usually requires binoculars. In small numbers, common loons can be seen diving for fish on larger lakes in winter, and even more so during spring and fall migration. Their size and shape are quite distinctive (as is their yodeling song which, sadly, they do not tend to sing while they are here).

We have another visitor that can be confused with loons: the double-crested cormorant. Along with its cousin the anhinga, it’s more closely related to seabirds, i.e., boobies and gannets. It is a very proficient diver with a sharply serrated bill adapted for catching fish. It is not uncommon to see cormorants in their “drying” pose. Their feathers are not as waterproof as those of diving ducks, so they only enter water to feed and bathe. Most of their time is spent sitting on a dock or some sort of perch to dry out.

Two other species of waterbird can be found regularly at this time of year: pied-billed grebes and American coots. Pied-billed grebes are the smallest of the swimmers we see in winter with light brown plumage, short thick bills and bright white bottoms. Surprisingly, they are very active swimmers. They can chase down small fish in just about any depth of water.

American coots — black, stocky birds with white bills — are scavengers, feeding mainly in aquatic vegetation. They can make short dives but are too buoyant to remain submerged for more than a few seconds. Given their long legs and well-developed toes, they are also adept at foraging on foot. You may see them feeding on grasses along the edge of larger bodies of water — or even on the edge of golf course water hazards.  PS

Susan Campbell would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted at


January Books


The Maid, by Nita Prose

A charmingly eccentric hotel maid discovers a guest murdered in his bed. Solving the mystery will turn her once orderly world upside down in this utterly original debut novel. Molly Gray struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others, but her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette make her delight in her job as a hotel maid. Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she finds infamous and wealthy Charles Black dead in his bed. Her unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. This Clue-like, locked-room mystery explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and, yet, entirely different.

The Final Case, by David Guterson

From the award-winning, bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars comes a moving father-son story that is also a taut courtroom drama and a bold examination of privilege, power and how to live a meaningful life. A girl dies one late, rainy night a few feet from the back door of her home. The girl, Abeba, was born in Ethiopia. Her adoptive parents are conservative, white fundamentalist Christians and are charged with her murder. The Final Case is an astute examination of justice and injustice.

Mouth to Mouth, by Antoine Wilson

In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life — a life that changed course years before, when he resuscitated a drowning man, a renowned art dealer, and begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. The dealer does not recognize him but casts his legendary eye on Jeff and sees something worthy. He takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. The paths of the two men come together and diverge in dizzying ways until the novel’s staggering ending.

How High We Go in the Dark, by Sequoia Nagamatsu

A spellbinding debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague. From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resilience of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.

Violeta, by Isabel Allende

This sweeping novel from the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans 100 years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the 20th century. Her life is marked by extraordinary events. The ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth. She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy.


The Vanished Collection, by Pauline Baer de Perignon

It all started with a list of paintings — the names of the masters whose works once belonged to her great-grandfather, Jules Strauss — Renoir, Monet, Degas, Tiepolo and more. Pauline Baer de Perignon knew little to nothing about Strauss, or about his vanished, precious art collection. But the list drove her on a frenzied trail of research in the archives of the Louvre and the Dresden museums, through Gestapo records, to a consultation with Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano. What happened in 1942? And what became of the collection after Nazis seized her great-grandparents’ elegant Paris apartment?


Show the World!, by Angela Dalton

It’s a powerful thing to have even one person believe in you. A gift of this powerful little book would encourage anyone to make the world their canvas. (Ages 4-7.)

Dinosaurs on Kitty Island,
by Michael Slack

Awwwww! The kitties on Kitty island are so cute . . . or are they? When the dinosaurs come to play, they’ll see just who is cute and cuddly after all. This perfect read-aloud will have everyone giggling. (Ages 3-6.)

Twisty-Turny House, by Lisa Mantchev

Everyone has their proper place in the twisty-turny house. The cats are upstairs and the dogs are downstairs until one day a bold cat ventures down the stairs and opens the door for everyone to discover the wonders the whole house has to offer. A sweet story of sharing, misconceptions and new experiences. (Ages 4-7.)

Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne

January is a great time to snuggle up with a classic, and this stunning new edition of the stories of a silly old bear is the perfect choice. The complete text of the 1926 classic is accompanied by full color versions of the original illustrations by E. H. Shepherd. (Ages 4-10.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Good Natured

New Year, New You

Maintain a healthy microbiome

By Karen Frye

Your body is home to more than 100 trillion micro-organisms. They live on your skin and in every nook and cranny. It is like a community made up of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. This is your microbiome. It’s unique to you — a gumbo based on your genes, where you live, what you eat, your age, the amount of stress you have, even what you touch.

A healthy biome is critical to good overall health. The largest number of micro-organisms are found in your intestinal tract and directly impact digestive health and how your body absorbs nutrients. The bacteria that make up your microbiome also regulate your immune system — about 80 percent of your immune system is located in the gut. Keeping the microbiome healthy and functioning well not only helps to prevent everyday ailments like colds and flu, it prevents more serious issues, too: oral health, bone health, heart health, vulnerability to allergies, even mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Balance of the flora in the intestines is essential for long-term good health from head to toe.

When the microbiome becomes unbalanced (dysbiosis), it can cause intestinal inflammation, leading to leaky gut (an unhealthy intestinal lining). There are a few key players that contribute to this condition. The first, of course, is genetics. Next is what we eat. Processed foods made with little attention to what’s good for the body are a major contributor to the state of health in the microbiome. Stress is also a contributing factor. It affects everything! And some medications, like antibiotics, can disrupt the terrain of the gut that leads to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria.

You can improve your gut health by taking a good probiotic supplement — a huge category in the health world these days. You can add more fermented foods to your daily diet and increase the fiber you consume daily. Chia seeds are a personal favorite. Try to eat as many organic foods as possible to lessen the body’s exposure to chemicals used in the growing process. Avoid fast food, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Add in more good fats like olive oil. Diets that are high in sugar and low in fiber are devastating to the microbiome. Artificial sweeteners can have a toxic effect on the friendly bacteria in the gut. Exercise is very beneficial to a healthy microbiome, increasing the diversity of beneficial species. Avoid environmental toxins. Lastly, sleep well and reduce stress.

A healthy microbiome is a major part of a happy, healthy life.  PS

Karen Frye is the owner and founder of Nature’s Own and teaches yoga at the Bikram Yoga Studio.

Golftown Journal

Centennial Curiosities

Mid Pines celebrates 100 years

By Lee Pace

Exactly one century ago, come Jan. 16, 2022, the inn and clubhouse at Mid Pines officially opened its doors. A paid advertisement in The Pinehurst Outlook proclaimed, “On that day all roads will lead to Rome. In many ways the opening of Mid Pines is an eventful period in the life of the Sandhills, for it adds a new factor of first magnitude to the facilities for caring for and multiplying the army of winter visitors.”

And 100 years ago, on Jan. 25, the golf course was christened with a 36-hole medal play competition open to all amateurs. “There is no question that Mid Pines is the most difficult course in the Sandhills country,” The Outlook said. “Donald Ross meant it to be just that way and succeeded . . . Leading professionals who have already played it consider it at least two strokes harder than even the difficult No. 3 course at Pinehurst.”

Interesting in those passages is the reminder that Pinehurst was founded in 1895 as a winter resort — a day’s train ride from New England just before Henry Flagler’s vision of building railroads and hotels along the east coast of Florida gained traction. Of equal note, the No. 3 course, just 2 years old, was considered a more formidable test than No. 2, which was yet to undergo routing tweaks in 1923 and ’35 and a major greens overhaul in 1935 that would buttress its stature as one of the nation’s foremost layouts.

What else might we glean about life in the Sandhills from a perusal of The Outlook during that month when Mid Pines was first functioning on all cylinders?

— That the Sandhills was not only a resort and golf enclave but a fertile agricultural community. “Where you find a peach ridge in this section you find tobacco soil close by,” proclaimed an offer for sale of land between Pinehurst and Southern Pines. Another missive proclaimed, “The Pinehurst peach orchards are the showplaces of the industry” and estimated that hundreds of thousands of peach trees would be planted that year.

— That the clientele was predominantly from the North, ergo the ads from hoteliers like the Waldorf-Astoria and retailers like Franklin Simon and Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York City hawking its Austrian angora golf jacket for $22, imported homespun tweed knickers for $6 and regimental striped scarves of imported silk in 46 colors for $1.50.

— That a century before the “webinar” was the “correspondence course” that operated via the U.S. Postal Service, such as this one out of Chicago offering, “Learn to play golf in thirty days. Send $5 and we’ll send you a complete course with 57 illustrations arranged in moving picture order and will send you absolutely FREE any golf club you wish.”

— That the fairer sex was well-entrenched in the golf experience with Miss Ann Merrill, “one of the many young college girls who enjoyed the holiday festivities in Pinehurst,” and actress Katherine Perry and her actor husband, Owen Moore, finding time “between films to enjoy an extended frolic over the Pinehurst links.”

— That a Swedish Health Institute was operating under the auspices of Professor Paul Roesell in the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst with electro-hydro and mechanical therapeutic appliances offering patients “all the advantages of such an institution in any large city.”

— That twice Pinehurst residents had been excited over a potential visit from President Warren Harding, an avid golfer, only to be disappointed when the visits never materialized. “They have been twice fooled and will now sit back and wait until the President actually arrives,” The Outlook noted.

— That “golf insurance” was being peddled around town in a facetious note in The Outlook, owing to the fact that “golf balls are whizzing over hill and dell in such large numbers that the innocent by-stander’s only chance of refuge is the nearest shell hole.” A principal sum of $5,000 was offered for the loss of one ear via passing golf ball, but no claims would be honored if white lightning was present on the golf course.

— That Donald Ross, the golf architect and head of the Pinehurst golf operation, was leading an effort to change the stymie rule in golf and was set to deliver it to the United States Golf Association’s annual meeting later in the month. The stymie, at the time, prevented a player from moving another’s ball if it lay within 6 inches of his own ball, leading, Ross thought, to the occasional “impossible shot.” Ross proposed extending the window to 2 feet. It would be possible at that distance, Ross proposed, “to negotiate the stymie by pitching over the near ball or curving around it.”

— That the same foot powder called Allen’s Foot-Ease which the U.S. government shipped to Europe by the ton for American soldiers during World War I was now thought ideal for golfers to “take the friction from the shoe, freshen the feet and make walking a delight.”

— That tea and dancing were offered daily from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Carolina Hotel lobby, and that hotel staff would set up mid-winter canoeing parties down the Lumbee River.

— That representatives of a manufacturing concern in Connecticut were in Pinehurst to promote their new steel golf shafts. “The shafts seem to be a big success, and indications are they will become very popular among golfers,” the newspaper offered.

— That Australian pro Joe Kirkwood would compete in the North and South Open in March and also give another of the trick-shot exhibitions that in previous years had drawn huge galleries to the “Maniac Hill” practice range. Among his specialties were hitting drives off the crystal of a watch, off an associate’s foot and fingertips, and hitting a full mashie straight in the air and catching the ball as it fell to the ground.

As for Mid Pines, Ross took care to transplant some dogwoods on the course “which at all costs must be preserved.” The newspaper further noted that, “He left clumps of trees near the clubhouse so that they could provide a cool and shady place for the wives who were waiting for their husbands to finish their game.”

The architect believed the nature of the ground provided an interesting twist to the course’s personality. “It is less exposed to cold winds than any other course hereabouts, due to its sheltered location, just behind a hill,” Ross said. “The hill, acting as a chute, deflects all winds upward, over the course, which is really a fine thing.” 

One century later, Mid Pines remains one of the area’s finest layouts, each hole in the same location and configuration as the day it opened. One of the many devotees of the layout is Southern Pines resident Jeff Loh, who prefers to play the course lugging a pencil bag with a half dozen hickory clubs he’s purchased on eBay and other collectors’ venues. He plays with balata balls he finds online as well, feeling that the softer ball, the vintage clubs and the 100-year-old course are a sublime match.

“When Mid Pines opened in 1921, they were still playing hickory shafts,” he says. “Steel didn’t come along for a few more years There’s just something about playing hickory and persimmon in a setting like this that is more authentic.”

Indeed, on the cusp of its second century, you’ll find Mid Pines an original in every sense of the word. PS

Author Lee Pace wrote Sandhills Classics — the Stories of Mid Pines and Pine Needles, which is available in the golf shops at both courses.


Photograph from the Tufts Archives