Pinehurst Resort on Tuesday announced a deal that will increase its footprint further in the village and add another dining option to its hefty menu of choices.

The Resort has agreed to acquire The Magnolia Inn, located just around the corner from its iconic Carolina Hotel and just a couple blocks from its Holly Inn. The deal will also include the restaurant in the Magnolia, Villaggio Ristorante & Bar.

Magnolia Inn

The Villaggio Ristorante & Bar at the Magnolia Inn.  

The Magnolia has served as the gateway to the Village since it opened in 1896, less than a year after Pinehurst was founded. It is the second-oldest hotel in the Village behind the Holly Inn, which opened its doors on New Year’s Eve in 1895.

The Magnolia was purchased by Ron and Julie Milton, who bought the hotel in 2019 and opened Villaggio Ristorante & Bar which featured a fine-dining experience and traditional Italian cuisine.

Magnolia Inn

The Villaggio Ristorante & Bar at the Magnolia Inn.  

One of those impressed restaurant patrons has been Bob Dedman Jr., whose family owns Pinehurst Resort. Having enjoyed Villaggio’s  cuisine and service on recent visits, Dedman and the Miltons soon found they shared a vision to build on the Magnolia’s and Villaggio’s success.

“In their short time here, Ron and Julie Milton have not only restored the charm and elegance of the Magnolia Inn, their exuberance and commitment has established a new standard of excellence for those frequenting the Village,” says Dedman. “We want to bring the Miltons’ full vision for the Magnolia to life and look forward to continuing the traditions and spirit they have brought to Pinehurst.”

Ron Milton says Pinehurst Resort is ideal for the Magnolia and Villaggio to take the next steps in their evolution.

“While we had the opportunity to sell the Magnolia Inn and Villaggio Ristorante to other buyers, Julie and I felt it needed to be owned by the Resort,” Ron Milton says. “Pinehurst understands the rich history, and we believe they have the pride in ownership the Magnolia Inn deserves. We also wanted Villaggio to stay the way it is, and we are assured that it will.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Over the coming months, the resort will take that vision to heart, with plans to renovate the inn’s guest rooms and enhance the outdoor patio experience.

Ron Milton will continue to oversee operations at the Magnolia Inn and Villaggio through the end of the year. The current hotel and culinary staff will stay in place, with the exception of General Manager Pesefoni Nicolosi, who decided prior to talks with the Resort that she and her daughter would return to Florida to be with her family and continue to run the Miltons’ restaurant in Sarasota. Ethan Gross, a veteran of the fine dining industry, has been hired by the Miltons to replace Nicolosi, and will work directly with Milton and Pinehurst Resort to ensure a seamless transition.

“We are grateful to our staff, who shared our dream for what the Magnolia and Villaggio could be,” Julie Milton says. “We thank our many loyal patrons for making Villaggio what it is today, and they should know they are in great hands with Pinehurst Resort. The enhancements Pinehurst has planned will ensure the Magnolia maintains its rightful place as a landmark in the Village, not only for its history, but for its future as well.”

(4) comments

Jack Farrell

Probaby a good move to ensure the Magnolia does not fall into any kind of disrepair should any owner experiance hard times. The owners of the Magnolia did a great job with the restaurant and Inn over the past few years. Additional fact: in spite of the resort's claim, the Holly Inn did not open on New Year's eve in 1895. it actually opened on January 24, 1896. But the new years eve opening makes a better story so they will stick to that I'm sure.

Richard Riordan

This is a good move for all. And regarding the "additional fact" - it's irrelevant to this story and the good news.

Jane Liddell

I sure hope it will remain a place offering entertainment.

Jane Liddell

I sure hope it will remain a place offering

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just $5 a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$5.35 for 30 days

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to thepilot.com.

Starting at
$27.82 for 90 days