There’s undeniable comfort in a resort that feels organic, not contrived. It puts me at ease in a way a cookie-cutter hotel never can. The Fearrington House Inn, tucked into the sylvan landscape just outside Raleigh, is such a place.
The inn is the centerpiece of Fearrington Village, a mixed-use community that began as the vision of developer R.B. Fitch and his late wife, Jenny. He acquired the eighteenth-century Fearrington dairy farm in 1974 as the foundation for the development, which he modeled after the English villages he’d fallen in love with while serving in the Air Force. The couple turned the rambling farmhouse into the Fearrington House Restaurant in 1980, hoping to obtain the prestigious Relais & Chateaux designation awarded to fewer than 530 properties worldwide. Since Relais & Chateaux only accepts restaurants paired with lodging, the Fitches added an inn; they’ve been Relais-certified ever since.
Because the inn was not part of the Fitches’ original plan, its thirty-two guestrooms and suites were added in phases. No two are alike, though all have stately furniture, Frette bath towels, and Kingsdown pillow-top featherbeds. Some accommodations, like mine, feature free-standing jetted tubs and private gardens (mine even had a koi pond). Little touches are woven into the experience—gratis cruiser bikes, afternoon tea, and nightly truffle and port turndown service.
Considering Fearrington’s roots and history, it’s no surprise that food is a real highlight here. The Fearrington House Restaurant is AAA Five Diamond–rated and features the exquisite culinary styling of Chef Colin Bedford, who hails, not surprisingly, from England. He applies classic European techniques to Southern ingredients (some of which are grown on the property). Pastry chef Paola de Maayer’s jaw-dropping Valrhona chocolate soufflé still makes appearances in my dreams. For something more casual, the Goat sells coffee roasted on the premises, gelato, and light bites, while Roost Beer Garden offers brews and wood-fired pizzas. You’ll also find casual Southern fare at the Granary, housed in the former farm’s grain-storage building. Vestiges of the working farm still remain, including adorable heritage-breed cows, goats, and chickens, as well as a robust vegetable and herb garden.
Visiting Fearrington House Inn was like stepping into a Monet painting. Natural beauty abounds, with creeping jenny, lavender, lantana, and knockout roses flourishing in the shade of mature oak trees. It’s hard to believe the inn wasn’t part of the original plan, that it was simply a gorgeous afterthought. From its sprawling gardens to its mismatched guest rooms, it is perfectly imperfect, leaving me as relaxed as the place itself.
2000 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro, North Carolina • (919) 542-4000 • fearrington.com