Situated on the outer reaches of Pittsboro, North Carolina, some thirty minutes from the state’s Research Triangle, the stately Fearrington House Inn helms the surrounding Fearrington Village. The inn’s property and 640 acres surrounding it date back to the late 1700s. They were once part of a working farm and family homestead in the Chatham County countryside. Some two centuries later, current owner R.B. Fitch and his late wife Jenny scooped up the property to transform it into a gathering space inspired by their European travels.
While a stay at the inn—a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group of independently owned boutique hotels—features luxurious amenities like Frette towels on heated racks, Kingsdown pillow-top featherbeds outfitted with Egyptian cotton sheets, and fresh-cut bouquets from the surrounding gardens, there’s plenty in Fearrington Village to make it a day-trip-worthy destination.
Indulging in the Fare
The original farm and homestead was transformed into the acclaimed Fearrington House Restaurant. It boasts a European-inflected, seasonal menu served in three or four courses—wine pairings optional, but highly encouraged. Start light with smoked salmon served with pear, mandarin, and cucumber and the charred octopus and eggplant. Then, tuck into an expertly seared fillet of halibut served with sunchokes, apples, and maitake mushrooms and accented with funky black garlic.
Dessert practically requires an order of the decadent dark chocolate souffle—it’s a Fearrington House signature. When in doubt, put the decision-making in chef Colin Bedford’s hands. The restaurant’s six-course tasting menu features a sampling of everything offered. The restaurant is only open Thursday through Sunday evenings, so plan your visit accordingly.
For lighter fare, there are several options around Fearrington Village. Breakfast means a trip to the Belted Goat, a casual coffee shop and bakery with everything from overnight oats to mushroom-kale omelets. Not to mention peanut butter and banana pancakes and an andouille-stuffed breakfast burrito. Lunch brings a light menu of sandwiches and salads perfect for packing on a picnic.
While the Roost is only open on Thursday and Friday evenings from April to October, this beer garden-style pizza spot features local beers and live music under the oaks. The Fearrington House Bar, meanwhile, is the spot to get your drink on year round. Sip a Limon Fumando, a complex, herbal combination of mezcal, amaro, and falernum. Nibble pickled shrimp, beef tartare, and truffled popcorn from the snack menu. For an easygoing afternoon, there’s an afternoon tea service at the flagship restaurant. Enjoy classic tea sandwiches and housemade desserts.
Unwinding at Fearrington Village
Kick off a relaxing adventure with an appointment at Fearrington House’s day spa. Try a massage with Balinese hot stones or an aromatherapy-infused manicure and pedicure. It’s easy to unwind while wandering the gardens around the inn, a paean to North Carolina’s native flora and fauna. Painstakingly designed by the inn’s late owner Jenny Fitch, the garden includes pieces by local craftsmen, a culinary garden used by the property’s restaurant, and a formal topiary display known as the Knot. Keep an eye out for flying friends, from bluebirds and barn owls to honeybees. The property is an Audubon Society-certified Bird Friendly Habitat and home to a nearly decade-old beehive operation.
Scattered around Fearrington Village are a half-dozen shops, all worth a visit. Dovecote boasts upscale clothing and accessories, while neighboring Nest dons home goods. Sprout features a curated selection of clothing, toys, and more for kids. McIntyre’s Books is a charming stop for the bibliophile in all of us. Be sure to check the shop’s calendar to plan your visit around one of the frequent author visits. The must-stop, though, is the Market & Wine Shop inside the Belted Goat. Along with a selection of Fearrington merchandise, the shop includes a well-stocked larder and bottles of wine chosen by Fearrington House sommelier Laura Francis.
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by Emily Havener
- by Veronica Meewes