Fearrington Village Showcases Southern Hospitality and Agricultural Roots

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Fearrington Village

Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

Upon arriving at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, you might very well think you’ve stumbled into an English hamlet. Although the village is fewer than 10 miles from Chapel Hill, it feels a world away. Founders R.B. and Jenny Fitch designed the community after the English villages that enchanted R.B. during his time in the Air Force. When he finished his service, he decided to bring a piece of the English countryside home with him.

See more: Plan a Visit to a Local Farm Using the Visit NC Farms App

R.B. went on to become a real estate developer. He began building homes in the rural landscapes surrounding Chapel Hill, careful to preserve the region’s natural beauty. As he went, R.B. and his wife, Jenny, began to imagine a community constructed around beauty, hospitality and historic preservation. They asked themselves: “What would make this spot in rural North Carolina a place where people would want to stay?”

Fearrington Village

Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

The Birth of a Village

The answer, at least initially, was a restaurant. The couple remodeled a homestead that had belonged to the local Fearrington family and transformed it into The Fearrington House Restaurant, which is now celebrating 40 years of business. With that, the village began to grow, led by R.B. and Jenny’s vision to create a “coming together place.” Visitors needed a place to stay, the Fitches realized, so they built an inn. And if guests were staying the night, they would naturally need a place to shop and stroll and relax – so next they built the spa and gardens and boutiques. And on and on it went

“Fearrington grew really organically around what R.B. and Jenny thought would be a nice addition to the village,” says Kerstin Lindgren, who heads up public relations, marketing and special events at Fearrington.

Fearrington Village

Once an 18th-century dairy farm, Fearrington Village’s design was inspired by the English countryside. Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

A Stand-Alone Destination

It’s because of this organic expansion that Fearrington defies category. Today, the village is simultaneously a residential community, a vacation destination, a family getaway, an events venue and a working farm. The community is home to 2,000 residents, and the village center includes an independent bookstore, a coffee shop, boutiques, high-end dining and accommodations that transport visitors within the idyllic setting. All the elements combine to form an agrarian setting rich in history and hospitality. There’s not much like it elsewhere in the South – or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter. “It’s a stand-alone,” Lindgren says.

Once an 18th-century dairy farm, the family-owned and -operated village continues to preserve and showcase its agricultural roots.

shopping

Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

“You can really sense the original farmstead here,” Lindgren says. Structures in the village center have been carefully preserved and repurposed. The original barn still stands, while The Belted Goat cafe is housed in the farm’s granary. Dovecote Style boutique inhabits a renovated milking barn. Acres of gardens contribute fresh produce to the restaurants.

See more: Discover 9 Reasons to Visit Wilson, North Carolina

Fearrington Village has also preserved the tradition of raising heritage livestock. Alongside guests and residents, Belted Galloway cows, Tennessee fainting goats and Columbian Wyandotte chickens roam the property.

“There’s a sense of the pastoral about it. We try to maintain a lot of the views you would see when driving up to a farm,” Lindgren adds. This means that visitors cresting the rise toward Fearrington are greeted by views of a silo and grazing cows.

Fearrington Village

Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

Treating Visitors Like Family

Beyond the farm, Fearrington Village celebrates North Carolina’s culture through a commitment to Southern hospitality with a dedication to offer a warm welcome to all. “It’s the most important thing about what we do,” Lindgren says. “It is the kernel that started the place. We want everyone who comes to visit – whether they’re coming for the night or just for a cup of coffee and to browse the bookstore – to feel welcome.”

If You Go

Location: 2000 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro, NC 27312

Phone: (919) 542-2121

Website: fearrington.com

This is helped by the fact that many of the staff members have worked together for decades. R.B. and Jenny Fitch’s family remains closely involved in the day-to-day operations. As guests know and the staff confirms, this is not a place you want to leave.

Whatever escape visitors are looking for, Fearrington Village offers it. “You don’t have to come and drop a bundle,” she says. “If you’re looking for a place to spend a day with the kids, it’s a great place for that. It can also be a special anniversary weekend. It’s just a matter of what you’re looking for.”

shops

Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

– Annelise Jolley

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