After spotting Willie Jackson at the back of the Carolina Dining Room, Kevin Anderson made his way across the floor and wrapped the longtime Pinehurst employee in a giant bear hug.
His wife, Jean, followed, offering her own warm embrace as the three shared a laugh.
After spending 25 Thanksgivings at Pinehurst, the people here are family to the Iowa couple. And they don’t just say that, they mean it. It’s obvious in the way they remember everyone’s name and give hugs that leave the recipient beaming.
“This is our Thanksgiving tradition,” Kevin said. “This is our adopted family.”
The pair made their first trip to Pinehurst back in June of 1990. Kevin had come down for a business in Charlotte and a friend back home suggested a trip to Pinehurst afterward. Jean met up with her husband in Pinehurst following the conference.
“We had a great time,” Kevin said.
A few months later, the couple started receiving information about Thanksgiving at Pinehurst in the mail. Jean kept her plans to visit family, but Kevin came back to check out the holiday at Pinehurst. It was a hit and the couple have been back every year since.
Kevin comes for the golf – Pinehurst Nos. 4 and 8 are his favorite. For Jean, it’s a chance to unwind. She enjoys reading in the rocking chairs on the hotel’s verandas, shopping in the Village, going to The Spa at Pinehurst and taking long walks at Rassie Wicker Park.
But the couple is quick to point out that’s not why they travel 1,200 miles – that’s 18 hours by car – year after year.
“The people here at just wonderful,” Jean said.
“It’s not just great customer service,” Kevin said. “You can tell they really care.”