Sometimes I get funny looks when I tell people we spent the morning or evening wandering around Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, NC.
Then they ask: "Isn't that a retirement community? Or a wedding venue?"
Well, yes and no. It's home to a lot of retirees and does host weddings, but it's also a pleasant and family-friendly place to relax. Fearrington Village was built on an old farm. It has a variety of restaurants and shops, which you can learn more about here. But I'm just going to focus on a few things we like to do there in the summer. It's the kind of place you could spend 10 minutes or a few hours milling around.
Pizza night: First things first. Let's talk about wood-fired pizza, wine and music nights at Roost Beer Garden. The pizza is cooked in a tiny house, then a server grabs it through an open window and delivers it to your picnic table on the patio. Locals bring their dogs, kids play around the garden, a low-key band jams on the porch. And did I mention the wine? Because there's always wine. Yes, it's as idyllic as it sounds. And yes, you should check it out before Roost shutters its doors for the season. (Be sure to look at their Facebook page or call before you go: 919.542.2121. Pizza and music may be canceled for inclement weather, but they are typically open April-November during the evenings on Thursday-Saturday "when music is playing.")
Barnyard: The kids love to check out the black and white belted cows, fainting goats and chickens in the barnyard right at the entrance. When we visited last week, there was a young calf in the front pasture with its parents and a brand-new baby goat across the driveway. Beware: much of the fencing is electric, so keep those little ones close.
Walking: We are walkers. Or, more accurately, I'm a walker and I force my family to walk with me or ride in the stroller while I walk. When we lived in Cary, I felt very safe walking alone on just about any trail in Raleigh and Cary. Since we moved out here, I feel a little uneasy alone on some trails; I'm just not as familiar with the area yet. Walking around Fearrington feels safe. There are friendly people out and about, but it's never crowded.
There are sidewalks throughout the village, so you can take a nice long walk if you meander around. They pass through neighborhoods and around pastures, where there are often cows and donkeys grazing. (If you're standing facing The Goat, turn left, walk past Roost, then turn right and follow the sidewalk on either side of the parking lot/street to head toward the neighborhoods.) There is also a gravel trail around a pond, which is suitable for a jogging or all-terrain-type stroller. (To get to the pond, which also has some random sheep statues to play around, walk past Roost, cross the parking lot at the crosswalk, turn right and follow the sidewalk until it hits the park and pond area.) The grounds of The Fearrington House Restaurant and barn are also usually open unless an event is taking place, so you can wander through the gardens.
Coffee: I'd be lying if I said I didn't always stop at The Goat for an iced mocha before setting out on a morning walk around Fearrington. It's still considered exercise if you're drinking a coffee the size of your head, right? The Goat has signs up indicating there may be nuts in their goodies, so we haven't tried any of their pastries or gelato (peanut allergy here!). But you should.
Books: Just next to the animals near the entrance, McIntyre's Books is a small, quaint, independent shop that hosts a lot of book readings and also offers a children's story hour. They have a cute children's nook filled with picture books and toys, but it's not large enough to hold the kids' attention for long.
Playground: Fearrington does have a small playground across the road, Village Way, from the main village. Because it has signs saying the playground is for residents only, I'll leave it up to you to find it if you're so inclined.
Bathrooms: Fearrington has nice, clean, indoor bathrooms. You can access them from a separate door between McIntyre's Books and The Granary restaurant.
Parking logistics: Parking is abundant and obvious. There are several paved parking areas around the village as soon as you drive in, and we've never had trouble finding a spot at any time of day. We have, however, witnessed some "interesting" driving antics. Please watch out for drivers who may not be as attentive as they should at crosswalks.
2000 Fearrington Village Center
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Map of village area (does not include neighborhoods or the path around the pond).
For more photos of Fearrington, check out Nora's 4-year-old lifestyle portrait session.
Click here to learn more about the Pittsboro-Chapel Hill Outdoors series. Click here for more series posts. The next installment will feature the Honeysuckle Tea House in Chapel Hill.
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.