This is the third post of an ongoing partnership I have with trivago. In case you’re not familiar, trivago is a travel metasearch site that specializes in hotels and compares prices for over 730,700 hotels from more than 200 booking sites. I’ve worked with them as a consulting editor for their Checkin Blog for more than a year and I’m very excited to share this series with you all highlighting unique and unusual hotels around the world. This series is about only truly exceptional and luxurious hotels and resorts, and I know that today’s selection more than qualifies. Trivago didn’t pay for the hotel, but this post is part of an ongoing partnership I have with them.
If you’re not familiar with them, Relais & Châteaux is a global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants around the world. I’ve had opportunities to both stay and dine with Relais & Châteaux properties before and the experiences have been not only great, but amongst the best hotel and food experiences I’ve ever enjoyed. So it was with high expectations that I drove down the quiet country road to one of the jewels in the Relais & Châlais crown – The Fearrington House Inn.
Located close to the town of Pittsboro and an easy drive from both Chapel Hill and Durham, Fearrington is a country manor in the finest tradition. Slowly driving down the lane into the community, Belted Galloway cows and fainting goats dotted the grounds instantly creating the relaxed pastoral escape I was hoping for. I say community because Fearrington isn’t your average country hotel; it’s part of a much larger effort.
Fearrington Village started more than 40 years ago, set on an old North Carolina farm. At the heart of the property is a small and immaculately presented village with shops, restaurants, a coffee shop and of course a spa. Surrounding the village is a large community, which has been drawing new residents for decades all for the promise of peace and quiet in some of America’s most picturesque countryside. Adjacent to the village is what I think is the star attraction of course, the Inn and Restaurant themselves.
The Farm Experience
The goal of Fearrington is to offer guests an experience that feels like something intimate and personal, which it is. With just 32 individually designed rooms, for me it felt like staying with a friend – well, a friend with a massive and elegant country manor. In the rooms themselves, the decor is elegant but not stuffy, drawing inspiration from the natural setting the original artwork, antiques and fresh flowers all make the experience instantly relaxing. That’s how I felt as I walked through the door to my spacious room; my blood pressure returned to a state of calmness and before I knew it I was smiling for no good reason except for the joy of just being there.
The star attraction is of course the grounds themselves. The village is built on an old North Carolina farm, and many of the original buildings have even been preserved, making it feel like a proper country escape. Adding to this pastoral beauty are the resident animals, including the famous black and white Belted Galloway cows and fainting goats that call the property home.
There’s plenty to do at the hotel, drawing from the larger Fearrington community itself. When you’re hungry though, there’s no better choice than the Fearrington House Restaurant.
Housed inside the old farmhouse, it feels like you’re entering a friend’s home because you are, except that the friend this time is Executive Chef Colin Bedford. Under his direction, the restaurant creates exceptional farm to fork cuisine that is honestly amongst the best I’ve ever had, presented in a way that can only be called refined and elegant. Interestingly enough, it’s also the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star restaurant in the country to be Green Certified – a clear indication of their commitment to maintaining the purity of their country setting.
It’s not all fine dining though, there are plenty of other food options at Fearrington from one of the best breakfasts you’ll ever have to a traditional high tea. There is also a more casual restaurant for lunch and dinner, a coffee shop and the immensely popular Roost Beer Garden. Surrounded by scores of tables and other places to lounge, Roost is the perfect place to grab a locally crafted brew, a delicious wood-fired pizza and just relax in the warm rays of the afternoon sun.
Looking at a map, Fearrington may at first seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere, which it kind of is. But that really is part of the appeal, at least for me. It’s nice to be able to get away from real life once in a while and visit a place that forces relaxation and calmness on you. I know it’s something I need in order to regroup and decompress. But, that’s not to say there aren’t things to do. If you’re a golfer, Fearrington offers access to a local private course and Pinehurst is an easy drive. There are also the great cultural centers of Chapel Hill and Durham, both of which have plenty to offer visitors. A closer drive is Pittsboro, which in addition to a fun downtown and several excellent restaurants and cafes also has a unique winery/distillery.
The Fair Game Beverage Company hasn’t been around that long, but they’ve already drawn a lot of attention thanks to their wines and spirits made using local fruits and grains. Amongst their wines, the Two-step White, Ferris Red, Apple Tipper and Scuppernong Tipper are all favorites and for an unusual spirit, be sure to try the Sorghum Cane Spirit. No matter what your interests are, this is a great area of North Carolina to keep just about anyone occupied.
Although my stay at Fearrington was brief, it was a highlight of my road trip around North Carolina. I prefer luxury hotels and experiences for a few reasons, but high on the list is because I know that the level of service will always be flawless and for me as a traveler that’s important. That was absolutely the case at Fearrington and not only is it a favorite hotel, it’s a place where I hope to return many more times in the future.