Did you know there is a luxurious property only 30-minutes from Raleigh in the Pittsboro area, a Relais & Chateau property? After you take a look at our experience below, you might just be packing your own bags for a quick getaway!
Considering we had stayed at a real chateau in the Loire Valley, France the week before, I was more than happy to take that trip back to regal elegance. Perhaps life is trying to tell me something.?
Yes. Life. I’d be incredibly happy with luxury travel in my future.
I know most people flock to the beaches near Raleigh during the summer, but don’t discount a quick getaway to a charming Southern village with English and European vibes closer to home for a little luxury.
There’s a pool to cool you down, plenty of oak trees for shade, beautiful gardens to sit and muse, boutique stores to shop, and delicious food even the French would enjoy.
We escaped to The Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro as hosted guests of the property for just one night – it’s all we could leave the kids for, otherwise we would have stayed for a full weekend. If you’re in the same situation, or can only spare one evening, it is enough time to return home feeling a little rejuvenated.
If you have a special occasion coming up like a wedding anniversary or special birthday, the Fearrington Inn makes the perfect setting for that congratulatory splurge.
What is Relais & Chateau and what is this property we speak of; I hear you ask? Allow us to show you around.
About Relais & Château
Relais and Chateaux is an association of 580 unique, independently owned hotels and restaurants throughout the world. Included properties are dedicated to preserving local heritage and the environment, outstanding hospitality, and culinary excellence.
There are 42 properties in the USA, with only three located in North Carolina including The Fearrington House Inn, the Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, and The Swag in Waynesville.
Our Summer Getaway to Fearrington House Inn
We’re professional travel bloggers who’ve traveled to over 60 countries (many multiple times) and this was our very first experience of a Relais and Chateaux hotel, and shockingly our first visit to the Pittsboro area. It won’t be our last!
From the attentive service that began at check in, to the comfortable and luxurious suites, to that mouth-watering chocolate souffle dessert (keep reading), everything was of the highest standard.
The first thing I thought when I arrived and walked through the grounds and courtyard was, “I feel like we’re in Europe.”
As mentioned, we’d recently returned from a 4-week Europe trip just the week before and I had the vibes still living in my soul.
That feeling continued throughout our stay, made easy by the tranquil English-style gardens, the Aperol Spritz cocktails on the menu, wood fired pizzas, Sangiovese wine, chocolate souffle (did I mention that already?) and breakfast croissants.
About Fearrington Village
With all the development and surging growth happening in the Triangle area, you wouldn’t think of places like this where black and white belted cattle and black and white Columbian Wyandotte chickens roam the property’s fields.
If you’re sensing a black and white theme here, you are correct!
The Belted Gallow way cattle originally came to the old dairy farm in 1982 and they’ve been part of this village since. In these modern times, the cows here are spoiled – their main task is to munch on grass and look pretty. The chickens are laying eggs for the restaurant though!
This old dairy farm is now a residential village with a luxurious inn and fine dining restaurant.
Fearrington Village was the vision of R.B Fitch and his late wife, Jenny, who were avid travelers and loved the smaller villages of England.
In 1974, they purchased the dairy farm that had been in the Fearrington family for generations and began converting the farm into a country village that had the coming together feel of England. The original farmhouse and outbuildings now house the shops and restaurants of the Village Center, and over 2,000 residents live in the surrounding woodlands.
Now visitors can have the experience of being part of this small village with a stay at the Inn – or even as a day trip from Raleigh.
Fearrington Inn and Village is still owned and operated by the Fitch family.
Fearrington Village Amenities
As the Fearrington Inn is a part of the village it does mean there are amenities you can access and ample things to do there. But I like how minimal it was: a few boutique stores, a café, a spa, a cute bookstore, and an outdoor beer and pizza garden.
It offers you the space and time to not get distracted by big city stuff, but to relax in the peacefulness of the countryside.
Walk through the garden trails, swim in the pool, sit under a tree, ride a complimentary bike, look at the cows, and count the goats and chickens.
Check-in to the Superior Suite
Check-in began with a small tour of the property with Sarah, who then took us to our room to show us around and explain how everything worked.
I was quite surprised by the size of the Superior Suite at Fearrington Inn. We walked straight into a spacious living room area with a work desk, coffee table, comfortable sofa, and chair with views onto the garden.
The King Bed was the luxurious kind you don’t want to get out of, and the bathroom was modern, large and spacious.
We mentally made notes to return in the winter to make use of the suite’s fireplace, heated bathroom floors and heated bath towels.
The only thing we would have liked was our own porch area. We would have loved to have sat on it with an after-dinner drink listening to the nighttime sounds. We did that instead sitting on the communal deck overlooking the gardens, which was lovely. But having our own private space would have been the ultimate – some Grand Suites do have a private porch feature.
You can buy alcohol from the bar to take back to your room, or wine and beer from the Belted goat.
picnic lunch at the Swimming pool (or in the gardens)
Summer is the perfect time for picnic lunches and refreshing swims in the pool. You can do all of these at Fearrington.
We ordered a simple picnic lunch from the Belted Goat: A delicious Wild Harvest salad with Pulled Chicken, Cauliflower Rice, Seeds, Medjool Dates, Warm Brussels Sprouts, Sherry Dressing; a roasted turkey sandwich with Whipped Brie, Red Pepper Jam, Artichokes, & Arugula on Ciabatta; some cookie snacks, and mineral waters.
The Belted Goat is a small café and store, where you can pick up amenities, a light lunch, or coffee. Sadly, the latte did not meet our high Australian coffee standards, but everything else was great.
You could even throw in a bottle of wine – but note, you can’t take glass into the pool area, so you may need a different location for your picnic. The Inn’s beautiful gardens will definitely work.
The swimming pool is part of the village community, so you will be swimming with residents in keeping that community gathering feel. There are picnic tables, padded lounger chairs with umbrellas, plenty of shade and space to sit.
The water was the perfect temperature for me – warm without a chill to be felt, and yet totally refreshing on a humid North Carolina summer day.
Afternoon drink and live music at the Roost Garden
In the afternoon we went to the Roost Garden for live music, a few adult beverages, and wood fired pizza from the tiki bar.
Note, it gets busy here on a Friday evening. We arrived at 5pm sharp for the start of the music and just beat the crowds. The line grew quickly in just 10-minutes.
I liked the happy community vibe here with kids eating pizza and having fun with other kids, strangers chatting away, and dogs lazing about on the patio.
The beer garden has shady areas under the oak trees to sit. Like all things Fearrington, it’s tranquil.
Dinner at the Fearrington House Bar
For our evening meal we dined at the casual Fearrington House Bar located in a small space at the front of the fine dining restaurant. You do not have to be staying at the Fearrington Inn to eat here. We could tell there were many local regulars eating in the bar and restaurant.
Our experience started with and ended with an unforgettable moment.
First was walking across the yard, past the beautiful towering trees, and around the corner to the front of the house and being taken aback by the stunning Southern front porch beauty with high columns and rocking chairs out front.
The Fearrington family homestead was converted to a restaurant in the eighties in order for the property to be accepted as a Relais & Chateaux property.
Craig and I made sure we ducked out onto the porch after our meal to have a red wine while looking out over the cows grazing on pastures as the sun set.
The final unforgettable moment of our meal was the Hot Chocolate Souffle. I chose it because it is gluten free. I had no idea it was Fearrington Inn Famous!
Obviously for its dramatic Instagram worthy pouring of the chocolate over the souffle and the layering of cream, but also for its delicious creamy French chocolatey goodness. Watch our video.
The souffle was perfectly light and fluffy and not too American sweet. It is big enough to share – and as it’s quite a pricey dessert, you may want to – we’re not in Europe anymore!
You’ll want to pair this dessert with a red wine – try the Sangiovese from Tuscany. Everything tastes better with Tuscan wine (and vice versa).
We sat at one of the high tops for our meal just to the right of the bar. The stools and small tables in the bar area have beautiful views of the garden through the wrap around glass windows.
The bar menu has plenty of options for any kind of palette, including several gluten free dishes for me to choose from.
We started with an artisanal cheese and charcuterie board which was more than enough for two. I think even three or four could have shared it. All of it was fresh and melted in your mouth.
For mains Craig went with the grass-fed burger, and I could not say no to the gluten free crispy cod with the most delicious mushy peas I’ve ever had.
Mushy peas are one of those foods that you have to eat repeatedly before you develop the taste for it. My years living in London helped me to do that – no one ever tasted as good as this one though – I told you Fearrington has European vibes!
You’ll be happy to know there is a farm to table focus in the restaurant. They have partnerships with local farms which they use for their seasonal menu, in addition to using herbs from their own gardens!
Service was exceptional: Attentive, friendly, and accommodating. We enjoyed chatting with the bartender about travel and tennis. He had recently returned from Europe like we had and went to Wimbledon.
He was also great at making craft cocktails. The smoky Naked and Famous cocktail with Mezcal, Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse, Lime was sensational.
Breakfast at the inn
Included in your stay is a full-service breakfast in the restaurant – no buffets to be seen.
It began with strawberry smoothie shots – an enjoyable first for me and a choice of pastries – all made in house with that buttery melt-in-the mouth croissant experience you’d find on the streets of Paris.
I was thrilled that they bought freshly baked gluten free scones for me which were delicious especially with jam spread on top. This is a rare treat that I celebrate with gratitude.
For breakfast, I enjoyed a Fearrington Breakfast and Craig ordered the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. And of course, coffee continued to flow into my cup and juices were also available.
Final Thoughts on our one night stay at fearrington Inn
We had a lovely one-night summer getaway from Raleigh to Fearrington House Inn. We would love to return for a longer stay and to enjoy the different seasons.
This is not the kind of getaway that is packed with activities. This was an opportunity for us to disconnect from the chaos of our life in Raleigh and reconnect, to have some important couples time in a much simpler and quieter way – and we were only a short 30-minutes away from our kids in Raleigh if they needed us!
It is important to note that this is a luxurious Relais & Chateaux property, so prices will reflect that and may not be typical of what you’re used to in North Carolina! It’s a special occasion kind of place, but if your budget allows for this kind of style more often then go for it!