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Spectacular Stays in the Carolinas

While the major beachside vacation hubs of the Carolinas are thronged with resorts, the mountains, islands and flatlands have their own extraordinary properties with deep histories.


Fearrington House Inn

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

After touring Europe and falling in love with the exclusive family of Relais and Chateau hotels and restaurants, Fearrington House Restaurant owner R.B. Fitch called to see if he could get his property included but was told the collection wasn’t looking for restaurants without rooms attached. So in 1986, he set about building the Fearrington House Inn, which has gone on to become one of Chapel Hill’s finest properties.
Fearrington Village was originally designed to be a private residential community modeled upon the English villages Fitch visited while in the Air Force during World War II. But since the family acquired the land and working dairy farm in 1974, it’s grown to include the inn and restaurant, an independent bookstore with weekly author events, a boutique with regular couture trunk shows, a seasonal beer garden with a wood-fired pizza oven and a 40-vendor weekly farmers market.
Groups staying at the resort receive a full, complimentary English afternoon tea each evening, complete with house-made jams and ricotta sourced on property.
“We have people that come and think they are going to explore off property because we’re in the triangle, and then they end up staying because we have so many things that we offer,” said marketing manager Missy Fournier. “It’s really a food marathon when you come visit. You feel like you can’t stop. You have to try everything.”


Inn at Palmetto Bluff

Bluffton, South Carolina

While it has won more than its fair share of accolades, including best resort in the United States from Condé Nast Traveler, one of the most unusual things about the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is its setting.
“There’s over 12,000 years of history associated with the land,” said Craig Schoninger, director of sales and marketing. “When you talk about authenticity and travel experiences, here the history and personalities are very real.”
Many staff members, such as Jay Walea, head of the conservancy program for the entire community, and Captain Boo Harrell, have such a long history with the area that they pass on the stories they’ve heard growing up about everything from the Native Americans to the best spots for oystering. Groups can even experience the area’s ancient history firsthand by joining in an archaeological dig.
The resort’s location on a saltwater estuary teeming with marine life means groups can enjoy active excursions like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, but Schoninger says “porching,” or relaxing on the veranda of the main River House with cookies and bourbon-infused sweet tea, is one of the top attractions. “At the end of the day, people come to relax and connect with each other and nature,” said Schoninger.

Gabi Logan

Gabi Logan is a freelance travel journalist whose work has also appeared in USA TODAY, The Dallas Morning News and Italy Magazine. As she travels more than 100,000 miles each year, she aims to discover the unexpected wonder in every destination.