Have you ever checked into a resort and wished you could move in? Say hello to Fearrington Village. This whimsical village sits just eight miles south of Chapel Hill and boasts four eateries, including a AAA Five Diamond gourmet restaurant, a heavenly spa, shops, a quaint bookstore with well-known author events, a Five Diamond Relais & Chateaux Inn, gardens, homes, cow pastures, and more. Owner R.B. Fitch and his late wife Jenny took the saying of “Build it and they will come,” to a whole new level with their vision of Fearrington Village.
Upon arrival on a Friday , I was given keys to my suite and was shown to my home away from home for the evening, which looked more like a townhome. The entrance to the suite opened to a foyer and I was greeted by a welcoming note and an even more welcoming plate of house-made truffles to accompany chilled Champagne. The room, set up like a home, was equipped with an ample-sized closet with an efficient organizational system, a bath the size of my actual home with a beautiful free-standing tub and separate shower room. I say room because it was the size of a substantial walk-in closet. Two pedestal sinks sat on top of tiled, heated floors and the wc was an actual water closet, as the term states, with a door for added privacy. The king size bed was as plush and comfy as a cloud and the adjacent living space had a thoughtful writing desk, bookshelves, and a fireplace. Everything was perfect – the bed linens were Frette and the bath amenities Molton Brown. I felt as though I woke into a dream and then my stay just kept getting better.
On the way to the Fearrington House Inn for dinner, live music spilled onto the outdoor beer garden of the Roost. Patrons in casual attire sipped wine and cold beers while guests from a wedding at the nearby Barn made their way to the venue dressed to the nines. I was a little apprehensive to dine in a Five Diamond establishment solo, but was easily persuaded by an acquaintance who assured me the experience was not to be missed.
A few minutes late for my 7:30 p.m. reservation, I apologetically introduced myself to the maître d’, Joris, who offered me to enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the lounge. If it weren’t for the bubbles in the room I would have gladly accepted, instead I let him lead me to one of the cozy dining rooms where just a few tables were arranged to allow for gorgeous views of the garden. I sat at a window table looking out onto the grounds where the wedding party was being photographed. A table of three ladies celebrating a birthday was to my right and a couple from Morocco speaking French sat in my 12 o’clock view. The sound of their conversation was like music in their French tongue.
Menu options were presented and I decided on the chef’s tasting with wine pairings. I told my intuitive server I trusted what chef Colin Bedford would serve and was thrilled I did. The evening’s dining entertainment began with a palate inducing shitake mushroom amuse-bouche with a sparkling wine. Next, sommelier Maximilian Kast presented a dry, German Riesling to accompany sweet, succulent crab salad with radish, avocado, and creme fraiche.
Kast set down two glasses to fill with a young, crisp, white wine from Santorini Greece and another Riesling from Germany. The Greek wine was crisp and fresh while the second Riesling, a vintage from 2003, was thick and dense with the aroma of petrol. The wine was dense swirling in the glass and coated the mouth and throat lie a high-quality car oil that makes an engine purr.
The pairings were perfect for the seared duck and cucumber salad that I devoured. The main course was a delicate halibut prepared with tarragon and leek, Max poured a 2012 Australian Pinot Noir from Adelaide Hills. The palate was cleansed with sorbet to prepare for the chocolate soufflé. I left in a state of culinary bliss and slowly stumbled home for a restful night’s sleep.
After my slumber, I toured the property on foot with a jog through the grounds and neighborhood. I could not believe encompassed wonderland with a weekly farmers market, banking on site, a homebuilder, hair salon, and all the other amenities mentioned previously existed. It was like heaven on earth and I was ready to leave my world behind and check in for good. I found out that was exactly the plans not only the owner had, but also the general manager, Theresa Chiettini. Well, she didn’t exactly leave her world behind she embraced it more and moved on property. It’s no wonder this wonderland was run like a well-oiled machine, Chiettini grew up in the hotel industry almost as a real-life Eloise and graced Fearrington Village with her presence and service for over 14 years. She graciously availed herself to join me for breakfast to learn more about the property. This woman is practically wonder woman not only does she retain Fearrington Village’s Relais & Chateaux status–no easy feat, standards testings are frequent and rigid–she upholds a AAA Five Diamond rating, is the buyer for the boutique, dreamt up the idea of the spa, runs the social media, and personally welcomes each guest onto the grounds with an email introduction inclusive of her direct-line phone number.
After breakfast–another five-star, dining experience which is included with each overnight stay– I headed accross the way to the spa for a facial with the exclusive Elemis skincare line and was greeted by Angela who had and angelic glow about her. She masked, gently scrubbed, and massaged the aromatic products into my sun-damaged skin, taught me how to thoroughly clean my face, her secret to that glow. I emerged with a similar glow and left with a few key Elemis items including the Rehydrating Ginseng Toner, perfect for refreshing the skin and acting as a second layer of cleansing with a soft swipe of a cotton ball.
It was time to snap back into reality. I was impressed not only with the near-perfect experience of Fearrington, but with Finch’s vision of building it and they will come and come again. I cannot wait to return to Fearrington Village and to experience another Relais & Chateau property, I’m a new fan.