trip report: fearrington house inn
Many moons ago, I attended a Relais et Chateaux event in New York that culminated in a raffle drawing for a free weekend's stay at many different R&C properties. I was lucky enough to win a trip to The Fearrington House Inn, which is located in the bucolic town of Pittsboro, NC, close to Raleigh-Durham. Of course, then I got pregnant and then we had a newborn, so it seemed like we might not ever make it down there before my gift certificate expired. But, as I am a huge R&C fan, the thought of letting it go to waste was too sad. So, we picked a random weekend in August, shoved the baby in the carrier and hopped on a flight down.
(Because it's so easy to fly by the seat of your pants with an infant)
In all seriousness, the flight from New York was just a little over an hour and the drive to Fearrington from the airport was only 30 minutes. It's taken me longer to get to the Hamptons before. Plus! We got to stop at the famed Allen & Son barbecue on our way to the hotel. It was here that I got my first taste of Brunswick Stew: a rich mix of beans, corn, and probably 10 different meats. And, since Avvie had just had her six month check up and been given the green light to eat almost anything, she, too, enjoyed it. Not to mention the baked beans, hush puppies, and the pulled pork that her dad ordered. A vegan baby, she is not. Oops.
The property of Fearrington is multi-faceted: there's a small hotel, an award-winning restaurant, a spa, a planned community with its own adorable town center, and a retirement facility. You could probably be here from birth until death and be quite content. We didn't end up leaving the whole weekend and never found ourselves bored. Maybe that was because they have TENNESSEE FAINTING GOATS, which are one of my most favorite and underrated animals. I could have spent three days just looking at them (although, to be honest, I didn't actually get to see them faint). There's also donkeys that roam the whole property and as I learned on my golf cart tour, the lady donkeys will come when called, but the boy isn't as smart. LIFE, AMIRITE?
Actually, ALL of the animals, minus the donkeys, -- cows, goats, and chickens -- at Fearrington are "belties," meaning they're black with a white stripe. I like to call them Oreo animals.
The majority of our weekend was spent wandering the grounds, perusing the bookstore (which is one of the best in the South), and even going for a swim at the community pool. Our room even had a separate sitting room, which meant that we could put Avvie to bed and still have the lights on and not talk using sign language. Parenting makes you appreciate the simple things, guys.
Our gift certificate also included dinner at the Fearrington House Restaurant, which, while I'm sure they would have been super accommodating, wasn't the best place to bring a baby. And since the hotel provided vetted babysitters, I took a big gulp and left her in the room while we went to dinner. As Mike pointed out, it was the best possible way to use a babysitter that wasn't family for the first time; god forbid anything happened, we were literally 50 feet away. I could almost see my room from the restaurant. Big shout out here to our babysitter Peggy, who was fantastic.
And Mike and I got to enjoy a fancy dinner using both of our hands! The farm-to-fork cuisine here is truly excellent; Chef Bedford and his team can go head to head with the best of New York. If you find yourself even close to it in North Carolina, it's absolutely worth a stop. They are most famous for their chocolate souffle, about which I'm still dreaming.
The only snafu we hit was on the way back, when a worldwide outage of Delta's computers ground all their flights for a few hours. Thank god for family restrooms at the airport, where we could all cry in peace.
Kidding! But they are really, really nice for breastfeeding when your baby is easily distracted.
Thank you to Fearrington House for such a peaceful and delicious weekend.