Secret Hideaway: Fickle Creek Farm
The Farm: Set on 145 acres of rolling hills just 20 minutes from Chapel Hill, this farm is a showcase of sustainable livestock and produce. Owners Ben Bergmann and Noah Ranells supply a number of area restaurants with eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and vegetables. They raise animals naturally outdoors, and you won't detect a whiff of anything unpleasant from the dozens of pigs and thousands of chickens a field or two away. Request a complimentary walking tour past gardens, rooting pigs, and roaming chickens, or just wander about the farm on your own.
Where You'll Sleep: A simple, attractive studio apartment above the garage offers privacy, while a room in the couple's passive-solar house puts you more in the thick of things.
What You'll Eat: Breakfast, served in Ben and Noah's airy kitchen, is always local and usually comes directly from the farm.
Who Goes There: City folks looking for a country stay; anyone interested in an inside view of a working, sustainable farm; and families who want to show their kids where food comes from.
You'll Love It If: You want to see farmers in action and even chip in. Guests can help gather eggs and feed the animals.
You Won't Love It If: You don't appreciate time in the unadorned outdoors, without television.
Authentic Farm Moment: Witnessing an egg plop out of a chicken and, an hour later, devouring an egg strata accompanied by Fickle Creek sausage and fresh-squeezed tomato juice.
What You'll Take Home: An understanding of the ways animals not only provide food but also play an integral role on a sustainable farm, including eating brush, turning soil, and then fertilizing it. —diane daniel
Rooms from $80, with farm-fresh breakfast; ficklecreekfarm.com or 919/304-628