7.27.2014

Southern Chat: Stewed Okra and Tomatoes at The Public Kitchen and Bar in Savannah

When I return from my travels, I have stories that I am required to write because I am on assignment and then there are stories that I write just because I want to write them. Those stories are the ones that I write about first because they are easy and fun. No one is expecting my best work in a review. In fact, no one is expecting one thing from me.




While in Savannah, I didn't expect to find the most delicious stewed okra and tomatoes that I've ever tasted in my life.

No one knew when I was dining at The Public Kitchen and Bar in Savannah, Georgia a week ago today that I owned this blog, and that I was passing through town as a guest of Savannah Lodging on my way to JekyIl Island for a "Pack Your Bags" feature, and to get information and photography for a future article in the next Skimbaco Lifestyle Magazine.  No one knew that stewed okra and tomatoes would be the first thing I wanted to write about once I got home.I had asked the sales and marketing manager from Savannah Lodging to put together a list of local favorites for me. I wanted to experience the real Savannah, and not the touristy Savannah.

The Public Kitchen and Bar on Liberty Street was a restaurant on my list, handpicked for me.



We stumbled upon the restaurant during our walks, and I saw that it was on my list. We decided to get out of the heat, and try it.  I am so glad we did.

I cannot tell you how much I loved this dish. Both chefs from the restaurant are from North Carolina. That's an interesting little twist. Stewed okra and tomatoes are rarely found on menus in Raleigh so I never eat it.

I may have to ask them if they will share their recipe with all of us. I've looked online, and there are a lot of versions of this dish. I will say that this restaurant's version was both spicy and sweet, which leads me to believe that it could be most similar to the stewed orka and tomatoes recipe on the Deep South Dish cooking blog.. I tasted sugar and a lot of freshness. It was served with jasmine rice.

This dish was so good that I wanted to lick my plate.



The kid's menu is limited, but both of my children ate pasta and loved it.

If in Savannah, dine at The Public Kitchen and Bar. You'll be glad you did.



In other news, we still have about a month of summer vacation so until school starts full-time, my posting will be less on the blog because I'm too busy being out and about, and keeping these kids. Be sure to follow me on social media so you don't miss a trip.









7.17.2014

Photo of the Week: Savannah, Georgia #IGTRAVELThursday

For #IGTRAVELThursday, I'm sharing a photo from Savannah, Georgia that was taken from the Instagram account of Old City Walks/Tours.  This is a beautiful account to follow. Savannah is stunning. The company also hosts a smartphone photography walk tour at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tour leaders say that is the best time for the light so keep that in mind when you are traveling.

Savannah, Georgia


I have never been to Savannah, and I'm so excited to visit I'm stopping there on my way to Jekyll Island. I am a guest of  Savannah Lodging, and we'll be staying at The Holiday Inn Express in the Historic District. In a blind poll on my Facebook page, this particular property received the most votes for a family-travel stay they would most like to hear about from me. This hotel is a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner, and is a consistent top-ranked property in Savannah, Georgia. I don't think this is going to be an ordinary cookie-cutter chain at all. Staff have already given me a long list of things to see, and places to dine. In preps for my visit, the hotel started its Instagram account today so you can start following them @savannahlodging

If you have been to Savannah, leave a comment with your favorite things to see, do and eat because I would love to hear from you. My whole family is with me. We are really only going to be there for a full day and half. I am sure time will fly.

Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram at @HinesSightBlog and @LeighPHines. Our final vacation destination will be the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, my next "Pack Your Bags" feature.

Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll Island


Be sure to check out my latest "Pack Your Bags" on the Fearrington House Inn and Spa in Pittsboro, N.C.

An InLinkz Link-up

7.14.2014

Southern Chat: A Luxury Stay at The Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.

As you ride down U.S. 15-501 in rural Chatham County in North Carolina, it may be hard for you to believe that one of the top five-star hotels in the U.S. calls this part of the rural South home.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.

When you come upon the entrance of Fearrington Village and spot some adorable and rare Belted Galloway cows and goats in the pasture, you may wonder: What am I going to do out here? 



Well, I’ve got news for you. Once you check into the Fearrington House Inn in Fearrington Village, you relax and soak up all that this sophisticated country inn has to offer and you may never want to leave.  




Fearrington House Inn is only eight miles from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is only four miles from the historic town of Pittsboro with quaint shops.  So, in reality, you really aren’t far from anywhere when you check in here. It’s just that this inn makes you feel as if you have escaped to life at a slower pace.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


With its quaint gardens and beautiful interiors, Fearrington House Inn is part of the well-respected Relais&Chateaux membership, with its strict standards on hospitality and gourmet cuisine. 

Relais&Chateaux, founded in Europe, represents 520 charming properties in 60 countries. Inns in this membership tend to be small, luxurious, and family-owned and make you feel as if you are staying in someone’s home.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


These properties are top of the line. With inn rooms at the Fearrington House Inn starting at $325 and suites starting at $545, stays are not inexpensive, but this inn is certainly worthy of special occasions for those who like to splurge now and then on travels. All rates include a gourmet breakfast and afternoon tea.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


It’s not the type of property where valets and a doorman swoop down on you upon arrival. That’s what I love about it. It is more understated, European elegance, but first-class all the way.  There is not a big hotel lobby, but rather small living rooms for guests to relax and have a cup of complimentary coffee.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


Check-in is in a small office with a simple sign. Your host will walk you to your room, or if you are in one of the annex buildings, as we were, you will follow the host in your car while he rides in his golf cart.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


Our Suite

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


There are 32 rooms and suites at Fearrington House Inn, all individually decorated. The inn recently went through a room renovation with new bedding and fabric updates. It was lovely before with a more French provincial look, but I like this new look even more. 

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


Now, let’s talk special occasion. It’s the little things where this hotel completely shines. Will and I stayed here for his birthday and our anniversary, which are about a month apart from each other.  

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


With kids, it’s hard for us to get away without them so we came in between the two events for two nights.  Every staff member we encountered wished Will a “Happy Birthday.” We had champagne on arrival in our living room, courtesy of the general manager and some culinary treats made by Chef Colin Bedford and his staff.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


The bathroom in our suite was divine. There were robes, heated towels, luxurious bath amenities, basically all the amenities you would expect in a five-star property.

The inn provides turn-down with slippers, truffles and port. I think it’s the perfect way to end an evening before slipping into luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


Afternoon Tea

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


Complimentary afternoon tea is served in the main farmhouse each afternoon for inn guests only. It’s quite gourmet and very good. My only complaint is that each tray has only one item of each tea cuisine, so it’s hard for those individuals like me who don’t like to share. It’s perfect, though, for that afternoon pick-me-up.

Gourmet Breakfast


HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


The inn offers room service for its guests at a price per entrée, but a gourmet breakfast in the Farmhouse dining room is included as part of your stay. This breakfast is amazing, and you have a full menu to choose from daily.

It is a formal setting, but you don’t have to be formal in the morning. Staff at the Fearrington House Inn wants you to relax and enjoy your vacation. It’s OK to go to breakfast in resort casual attire with little makeup and your wet hair in a clip.


HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


You are so full from breakfast that you will want to skip lunch, but you shouldn’t. The Fearrington Village offers great lunch options at the Goat, a cafe, coffee and wine shop, and the Granary, an upscale, casual eatery with farm-to-table cuisine.

The Fearrington House Restaurant




You cannot stay at the inn and not have dinner at the main restaurant. It is the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in the U.S. to be Green-Certified and to have been ranked a top 10 restaurant in America.

The menu changes seasonally, and once a dish leaves the menu, it never comes back, as Chef Colin Bedford and his team are constantly creating new entrees.

It is impressive, and restaurants like this are why the Relais&Chateaux properties have such culinary accolades. Whether you are spending the night at the inn or not, you must dine at the Fearrington House Restaurant. It has remained a favorite of mine since its opening while I was in college.

The Spa at Fearrington


HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


The spa in Fearrington Village is a day spa. It has a very shabby-chic vibe about it with pedicures taking place in a tin foot tub. The spa uses Elemis, a leading British luxury spa and skin-care company, for its products.  Nail colors are provided by Essie.


HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


I had a classic pedicure and a massage during my stay. I loved the spa, and it was the best pedicure I have ever experienced. I will certainly drive back over to the Fearrington spa to have another one. The spa is located about 45 minutes from Raleigh, so if you have lunch in the village and a spa treatment, then, in my opinion, that makes a great day excursion.

HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


There are also some adorable shops in the village, so Fearrington Village is a great place to explore.

Other Hotel Amenities


HinesSight Blog: A Luxury Stay at Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, N.C.


Fearrington Village also has bike and walking trails. The inn offers complimentary bicycles for guests to use during their stay.  Guests can also have access to a fitness center and the use of an outdoor swimming pool at the Fearrington Swim and Croquet Club. Guests just have to present a room key to use the facilities.   

Fearrington House Inn is pet and kid-friendly; however, I think it is best suited for romantic giveaways since it's so close to my hometown. 




Want to Go:
Fearrington House Inn 
Pittsboro, N.C. 


Disclosure: Opinions about my hotel stays are my own.







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