Fuel Up on Java
First things first, and that’s coffee. Before you start your day here, you’ll want to fuel up. Cactus Creek Coffee at Spring Lake just recently opened in The Collective—a one-stop-shop business center that includes Spring Lake Outpost, Evolution Athletics (CrossFit gym), and Compass Rose Yoga (studio). Although I haven’t had a chance to visit their new coffee shop, I’ve perused their online menu. Here, you’ll find smoothies, refreshers, lattes, frappes, and more. I’ve already decided, when I visit, I’m going for the Stage Marker—almond, chocolate, and coconut yumminess!
Hit the Fairway
I’m not going to claim that I golf, because I don’t. However, what I do know about Anderson Creek Golf Club is it’s been described as “a hidden treasure in the Sandhills.” Jason Scott Deegan—a prolific contributor to industry publications—used those words to describe Anderson in his article on GolfAdvisor.com (where 81% of reviewers also recommended this destination).
Tucked between NC 24-87 and NC 210, in northern Spring Lake, the club sees its fair share of travelers from all over North Carolina and beyond. As Deegan emphasized in his review, this Davis Love III design with a Bermuda fairway gives golfers the perfect excuse to explore those treasures that lie beyond the Pinehurst area. Check out Deegan’s article and pictures or read other reviews on Golf Advisor to learn more about this course.
Go For Thai
Ten miles from Anderson Creek Golf Club, you’ll find one of the most popular Asian eateries in Spring Lake, Thai-Esan Restaurant. Owner Pennapa Hinnant is known for preparing authentic dishes that are specific to Esan, the northeastern region of Thailand. When coworkers and I visited this restaurant for lunch, we were impressed by the freshness of the food and the reasonable price (just $9.50 each). Buffet features vary, depending on which day you visit.
It’s difficult to beat the buffet, but if you visit for dinner, you may order from their extensive menu and full-service bar. You’ll find the classic noodle dishes, such as Pad Thai, but also a variety of stir-fry, grilled meats, and curries. My personal favorite was the Kang Dang (red curry), flavored with fresh basil and cooked in coconut milk and red curry paste. Outstanding!
I’ve now been to Fort Bragg Clay Target Center twice, once with coworkers and once with girlfriends. This sports gem is a perfect destination for group adventures, like team-building and a girls’ day out, as I shared on the blog before. Down the road from Carvers Creek State Park you’ll find the Clay Target Center, surrounded by scenic woods. For folks visiting from out of town, there’s no need to even travel with a gun. You can rent or purchase all necessary equipment onsite. You can even receive expert instruction from one of the staff members, many of whom are military veterans.
Unlike the standard gun range, your target is not stationary; these clay targets are moving at a fast rate across the sky. Even service members with years of military training find this sport to be challenging, but that doesn’t mean amateurs like me can’t have fun and occasionally score a hit. It’s quite the adrenaline rush when you finally make contact and see that orange clay shattering into a hundred pieces. I’d recommend the Clay Target Center to anyone who’s up for a bit of friendly competition.
Treat Yourself to BBQ
If you’re visiting the South, you need to treat yourself to good barbecue at least once while you’re here. In Spring Lake, that means going to Noble Meats, just a five-minute drive from Fort Bragg Clay Target Center. Any day it’s open, you’ll find this country joint packed with both locals and soldiers from nearby Fort Bragg. Their lengthy menu features smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, and more, plus all the traditional sides and homemade sauces. The first time I tried Noble, I was transported back to my home of birth, Texas. It didn’t hurt that they make Texas caviar, either (yes, that’s a thing). If you don’t have too far to travel, bring an ice chest and take a meat bundle home from their custom butcher shop. The quality of their meat and butchery skills make it so worth it!