FEARRINGTON HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
April 2021 Volume 40 Number 4
When I was a boy, one of the few expressions of irritation permitted by adults (at least in their company) was “Doggone it!” I still use the expression, although I do slip occasionally. But in a time when our television and movies celebrate vulgarity to attract viewers (some of those expressions even suggesting anatomical impossibilities), it now seems such a sweet expression. Besides, I like “Doggone it” because it contains the word “dog,” which always has a positive note to me.
I am presently in need of an expression of dismay and irritation because, “Doggone it!,” the transition from our old management company to Associa HRW has been much more troubled and difficult than any of us thought it would be. FHA considered multiple companies, did reference checks, and took considerable care to validate Associa HRW as our management company. But the transition issues still surprised us.
Every single member of the FHA Board puts in a lot of time and effort to preserve things as we all want them to be and to improve many areas. We depend on our management company for many things. They receive residents’ dues; they pay the FHA bills; they help manage vendors and projects; perhaps most importantly, they respond to questions from residents; they help with requests for things like building projects, repairs for some residences, or with covenants issues.
So, we are working diligently with Associa HRW to get things right and identify mutually agreeable solutions for some of the larger issues:
• There were errors in names and ZIP codes on initial packages to residents, which caused issues in trying to pay FHA dues; that was fixed. There is work still to be done to get things set up properly for many residents, but progress is being made. The good news is that once everything is working, residents will not have to repeat the process.
• Just two weeks into her first month, our Assistant Manager quit. A new Assistant Manager, Darla Sandoval, is now in place. Based on results and comments from residents, she has been extremely helpful in solving problems.
• The Associa HRW Manager initially assigned to oversee FHA dues had issues that took him out of action for much of January and some of February—additionally, he may not have been the right person for the job. Associa HRW has now replaced that person with a brand-new Manager, Kathy Wood. It is early yet, but our impression is that she will be particularly good in this role.
• Our former management company had many issues with tracking financial operations and getting bills paid, which is one of the major reasons we chose a new company. Poor information from that prior company, and some delays by Associa HRW, have made getting things right even more difficult and frustrating than we had imagined. Our Treasurer is working diligently with Associa HRW to resolve these problems, and we are starting to see success.
So, “Doggone it,” we are too stubborn to let these kinds of issues stand in the way of getting things right! We hope to look back in a month or so and breathe a deep sigh of relief.
This is not the end, or even the beginning of the end, but it may be the end of the beginning. (Churchill)???
The Belted Gazette
The Belted Gazette is the official publication of our Fearrington Homeowners’ Association (FHA), produced by and for residents of Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, NC. The Gazette contains community news, reports from FHA Board members, items of interest to residents, and announcements of club and neighborhood activities.
The Gazette is published electronically eleven times a year (July/August is a combined issue). A PDF copy of the current issue and back issues can be found on the FHA website (fearringtonfha.org).
Content deadlines are the 15th of the previous month. All persons submitting content will receive a confirmation email.
Send submissions to: email@example.com.
Do you have content for an upcoming newsletter? Email us at the above address and we will send you the Newsletter Guidelines.
|Jan Kowal||Ann Melchior|
|Leslie Palmer||Deborah Repplier|
Printing and Distribution:
|Carol Kurtz||Barbara Amago|
Fearrington Homeowners’ Association
Our Fearrington Homeowners’ Association (FHA) is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the health, safety, and welfare of residents. In addition to fostering resident participation, the Board is responsible for maintenance of common property and covenant enforcement. For additional details, including job descriptions, visit the FHA tab on our webpage (fearringtonfha.org).
|Vice President:||Rose Krasnow|
|Community Affairs:||Chris Jaeger|
|Grounds and Landscaping:||Jesse Fearrington|
|Health, Safety and Security:||Warren Ort|
|Infrastructure and Facilities:||Mark Haslam|
From the Editors
Meet John Webster, Our Naming Contest Winner
By Ann Melchior
John Webster with his folk-art illustrated mantle featuring the Fearrington Galloways painted by his friend and trompe-l’oeil artist, Kate Ladd, of Pittsboro. John’s beloved Galloways are featured prominently throughout his home.
When told his entry, The Belted Gazette, was the winner of our “Name the Newsletter” contest, John Webster enthusiastically emailed back: “I’m both surprised and pleased all at once! I have had a love affair with the Belted Galloways for over 45 years!”
A few days later I sat down with John at his home for an interview. I learned the story of how John developed such affection for the cows we Fearringtonians consider our community mascot. That is when I realized John’s winning our naming contest was kismet.
But first, a bit about John. For many Villagers, Boston-born John Webster needs no introduction. John and husband, Kimball Page (“Kim”), moved to Fearrington in August 1986. This was a time, John hastens to add, when Fearrington was a small village and most residents knew one another. After renting homes on Creekwood, the couple bought homes on Brampton Close and later on Spindlewood. Eventually sizing down, they ended up at John’s current home on E. Camden, across from the park. In earlier days, both John and Kim were active Fearringtonians known for hosting fundraisers for local non-profits. John also served as the president of Fearrington’s Garden Club.
John’s home is filled with antiques, collectibles, trompe-l’oeil, and mementos of the Galloway cow. All are good memories of the life he shared with Kim, who passed away in September 2018 at the age of 89. John is mostly retired from a varied career that included being an antique dealer. More recently John worked for Southern Seasons, the now-closed Chapel Hill gourmet store where he was a manager and buyer. John smiles recalling how he talked Kim into working at Southern Seasons too, “for something to do in his retirement,” and how customers were charmed by Kim, a bon vivant with interesting stories.
What first brought John and Kim to Fearrington? Florida friends pondering a move asked the couple to check the development out. They did so in June 1985. Both were impressed with the little English-themed village that came into view as they turned onto Village Way. And that’s when John saw them: Fitch’s Galloways grazing next to the silo. John immediately recognized the unusual black and white cows, which he acknowledges colored his positive impression of Fearrington that day. In fact, John and Kim were so charmed by Fearrington on that visit they decided to move here, even though their Florida friends didn’t.
So, you might wonder, why was John so taken by the grazing Galloway cows that day? This story requires us to delve a little further back in time.
In the mid-1970s John and Kim moved to a rural Vermont home in Waitsfield, a half hour from Stowe. Their neighbor, a farmer, was a man named Werner von Trapp. Now the story gets a bit…musical.
This neighbor was the same Werner von Trapp who, in his childhood, was a member of the Trapp Family Singers. This singing troupe was popularized in the 1959 Broadway play The Sound of Music with Mary Martin, and later in the 1965 movie with Julie Andrews. As readers may recall, the von Trapp family fled to the United States from Austria in the 1940s where, when not performing on the road, they ran a lodge and music camp in Stowe. So yes, Werner von Trapp, John Webster’s neighbor, was of the musical von Trapp family. According to Wikipedia, Werner was the 2nd oldest son of the singing children (and referred to as “Kurt” in the movie). After serving in the US Army during WWII, Werner became a dairy farmer, raised six children with his wife, and retired to Waitsfield, VT where he raised…Scottish heritage Galloway cows.
And that’s the nexus. Werner von Trapp’s dairy farm was situated next to John and Kim’s Vermont home. “That’s the first time I saw a Galloway,” John recalled, “they were called Oreos.” John has studied the Galloway’s origins and knows that this cold-tolerant, docile breed was popular in nearby Maine where, he notes, RB Fitch acquired his first Galloways.
That is why John “felt it was home” when he and Kim first drove into Fearrington Village and saw Fitch’s cattle grazing. It brought back fond memories of living in Vermont with the von Trapp’s Galloways right next door.
Despite spending over two hours with John, I felt the interview ended too soon. As a newcomer to Fearrington, I enjoyed hearing about the Village “back in the day” when everyone knew one another and RB and Jenny Fitch were commonly seen around the ‘hood. I will now think of John, and his passion for the Galloway, whenever I walk or drive by the ‘Oreo’ cows grazing in our Village fields.
From Our FHA Board
Plans for April Open Meeting: Beechmast Pond
On April 27th, at 7:00 pm, the FHA will host the second open meeting regarding the future of Beechmast Pond. As a reminder, the FHA is considering whether to keep the pond as is, to turn it into a wetlands, or to restore it to its original state—a free-running stream. After the next open meeting, a survey will be sent to residents, and the Board will make a decision about which option to pursue.
Since the first presentation, we have learned more about the availability of grants that would cover some of the costs. Here’s what we know now:
• There are two state grant programs that are considerations for our project. One accepts applications in January, and the other accepts applications year-round.
• We expect that it will take a year to obtain a grant and then another year to obtain all necessary construction permits. So, this is a two-year project or longer.
• All of the necessary design work has been completed to submit a grant application. Each grant application will cost about $1,500.
• Grants are available for the wetlands conversion, but there are fewer opportunities, and they would cover less than the 50% contribution that could be available for restoring it to a stream.
• The grant has to be submitted through a non-profit partner with an environmental mission statement. They would technically become the applicant for the grant. There are a number of such agencies that would be appropriate.
You will receive any further information we obtain and an invitation to register for the open meeting closer to the meeting.
—Jesse Fearrington (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What a Difference Our Fearrington Volunteers Make
Fearrington homeowners, I have some good news for you! The Hospitality and Service Center will be re-opening on a limited schedule in April. We’re thrilled that many of the former volunteers have agreed to return. All will be wearing masks, of course, and everyone is at least two weeks’ post-second vaccination. We’ll limit visitors to one at a time.
These volunteers can provide you with useful tools, like access to a color copier and even colored paper if you like. There’s also a fax machine if you need it. Our Hospitality Center is a great source of information about Fearrington and the surrounding area—newcomers will find it invaluable.
As long as you wear a mask and you’re at least two weeks past your second vaccination, we welcome you to drop by The Gathering Place—or call with your questions between the hours of 9 am to 12 pm.
Available Volunteer Positions
Would you be willing to help out at The Hospitality Center? We’re looking for at least one more person to help staff. Additionally, our current volunteers may be looking for alternates to fill in on an occasional basis, on days they cannot make it. If you’re interested in learning more about these opportunities, please email me at the address below.
Kudos to Neighbors Who Keep Fearrington Clean
On a different note, many thanks to the neighbors who can be seen picking up trash along our roads and pathways. They carry a trash bag and a grabber with them whenever they go out walking. They too make a difference in the quality of life here in Fearrington. Although these folks wish to remain anonymous, I want to congratulate them on their community spirit and encourage others to join them in keeping our village looking good. If everyone does their part, we’ll continue to have a beautiful neighborhood.
Easter & Our Egg Hunt
This year we decided it was too early in the recovery efforts against Covid-19 to hold our VERY popular Easter Egg Hunt. We’ve been very fortunate here in Fearrington Village to have a healthy community, and we don’t want to jeopardize that now. Please wear your masks and keep up the social distancing a while longer, so we can all survive this pandemic. And next year, we’ll plan for our best Easter Egg Hunt yet!
In the meantime, have a wonderful Easter, and stay healthy!
—Chris Jaeger (email@example.com)
Join a Village Improvement Team!
Your FHA Board is very appreciative of your recent responses to our Community Assessment Survey, which have helped us identify what defines our mutual Fearrington Village vision.
Key findings of the Survey have led the FHA’s Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) to identify four new initiatives (along with the issue of Governance) that have wide community interest and can enhance life in our village. The four proposed initiatives are:
• Walking Paths & Nature Trails
• The Gathering Place
• Village Attractiveness & Renewal
• Aging in Our Community
In the recent Community Survey, 60% of residents stated that, depending on the topic, they would consider providing assistance to find solutions for the issues our village is facing. Our Board fully supports each of these four initiatives. To accomplish them, we need your help. Only with active community participation can we achieve our shared goals. Your engagement will help drive success. Now we are asking for your assistance. We strongly encourage you to consider joining a team focused on the initiative that interests you most.
If you are able to invest your time, energy, and abilities over the next three to four months, the LRPC would be delighted to consider your participation on one of these projects.
Fearrington Village Needs YOU! Learn more about volunteering.
—Long Range Planning Committee (c/o firstname.lastname@example.org)
Using the FHA Website: The Directory
Last month I explained how to create an account on the FHA website and log in. This month I’ll show you how to use one of the most popular and useful features of the website, the Directory.
If you are reading this on the web page version of the newsletter, you can see the link to the Directory on the blue menu bar at the top of the page, fourth item from the left. If you have not logged in, you will find that you have access only to very limited features of the Directory, but if you do log in and hover your cursor over that item on the menu, you will see that there several options.
Figure 1 : Options for finding the person you are seeking.
You may want to explore all of these, but for now I focus on the first option, Find People. Suppose you want to find a friend’s email address. Select Find People, and you will see that there are a number of ways to find the person you are looking for (Figure 1). Again, you can explore them all, but let’s find the person by Last Name.
In the box labeled, Start typing … type the first two letters of the person’s last name. You will see a list of all residents whose last name begins with those letters. Sometimes that’s all you need. If the list is quite long, type a third letter. Rarely will you need to type more than three or four letters to find the person (see Figure 2; the personal details are blurred here to preserve privacy).
There is one strange quirk to the directory search process that you should be aware of and beware of. If it happens to you, it can cause a lot of frustration. Try the search for the same name one more time.
Tap or click on the small red Clear button beside the input box. Type the first letter, “p”. Then, as quickly as you can, type two more letters, “i t”. When I do this, no names at all appear in the list. It looks as if there are no residents whose last names begin “pit”, which we know is not true.
Figure 2: List of residents whose names begin with the first three letters.
The problem is that the software managing the directory search cannot work correctly if the input characters are typed too quickly. They register correctly on the screen, but the search process that the directory search relies on is overwhelmed. This does not happen for every user, but when it does, it can be very disconcerting.
The solution is simple. Just type the initial characters one at a time, quite deliberately. After I was trapped by this quirk, I eventually trained myself not to rush through the typing.
There is much more to the directory you may find helpful. Your Neighborhood provides you with the directory information for everyone on your block. You can find this information for any block in the village. Select one of the 24 FHA areas from the dropdown list, and you will see the neighborhood listing for every block in that area.
Under Find Other you can obtain the directory information for Block and Area Contacts in any area, as well as information for the various Service Groups or for FHA Board members.
With all this information available to you, perhaps you can see why the Directory is considered to be so useful.
Changes to the FHA Website
Each month the editors of The Belted Gazette (as it is now called) produce an attractive, interesting, and informative newsletter. It suffers from a significant problem, however. By the time you receive it, the newsletter will be at least 10 days out of date, and there is no way to update any of the articles.
In the case of sudden, critical events, the Board will send an email to everyone. However, distributing emails to all residents whenever something happens is not feasible and can be very annoying.
The most efficient way to provide up-to-date news is through the website, fearringtonfha.org/. With the help of the webmaster, Jim Brooking, we have been redesigning the home page so that it emphasizes this important function of the website. When you first connect you should see a few short items that address the most recent issues the FHA has had to address. These may range from recent CDC guidelines concerning the pandemic to upcoming community events. Following a brief heading and a date indicating when the item was posted, there will be a link to a longer article.
We encourage readers who want to find the most recent information about any FHA issue to check the website. If there’s something important there, you will not need to search for it; it will be there on the front page. It is unlikely that something new will be posted every day, or even every week, but if something important has happened since the last publication of the newsletter, that’s where you can find out about it.
Jim Brooking is also exploring other modifications to the appearance of the website. For the next month or so you may notice other changes taking place. Please feel free to comment on these changes, indicating whether or not you find them helpful. The purpose of the website is to be useful to you.
—Gordon Pitz (email@example.com)
Associa HRW, the new management company, provided the following information about their new staff and their availability:
The Associa HRW office is located in The Gathering Place. The phone number is: 919-542-1603. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Kathy Wood is the new Community Manager. Darla Sandoval is the Assistant Community Manager. Please reach out to either if you need assistance with residents’ dues, with issues involving vendors, or with any of the tasks in which they assist the FHA.
The HRW office will be closed April 5, to observe Easter.
—Associa® HRW Management AAMC®
4700 Homewood Court, Suite 380 Raleigh, NC 27609
Parking on Village Roads
Our FHA Board has received a number of complaints from residents regarding cars being parked on the grassy edge of roads in the village. One road where this can become especially problematical is Creekwood, near the trail entrances. In some locations, parking on the edge of the road can be a safety hazard for walkers and for other drivers. It may reduce visibility and force pedestrians to walk in the road to pass the parked vehicles. In addition, when you park on the grass, your tires can dig up the grass and cause erosion. This is an especially serious problem now, following a very wet winter.
We ask residents to be especially careful when parking along roads. Please think carefully about the suitability of locations where you want to park. Here are some questions to consider:
• State law allows vehicles to park along state-maintained roads as long as other motorists can see them from a distance of at least 200 feet. This guideline applies to parking on any road. Can your vehicle be seen by other traffic?
• The law requires vehicles to be completely off the road, but to avoid being a hazard for pedestrians, this may not be sufficient. Try to park at least 24 inches from the edge of the road. Can pedestrians get by safely?
• To preserve our natural environment and protect the vegetation that we all enjoy, please avoid muddy areas, bare dirt surfaces, or any location where tires can cause damage. Are sure you are not harming the environment?
If you are using the Creekwood trails, consider parking in the village parking areas and walking over to the trails. There is parking on Market Street, less than 200 yards from the trailhead at the corner of Creekwood and Village Way.
The nature trails are an asset we can all enjoy, and we encourage residents to use them. Please bear in mind, though, that the natural resources can be very fragile.
—Health, Safety, and Security Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This Month's Features
Buffleheads in Camden Park
Story and Photos by Gordon Pitz
Early in March a female Bufflehead duck appeared on the lower Camden pond, joining Sophocles (Sophie) and the Mallards. A few days later she was joined by a male. The Bufflehead (a name derived from the abbreviation of Buffalo Head, so called because of the shape of the duck’s head) is not rare but is not often seen in Fearrington. They typically spend winters closer to the coast. In summer they head north to Central Canada for the breeding season.
Buffie and Buffo
Buffo and Buffie take off
The breed is very small as ducks go, and it is not easy to get a close view. If you walk by the pond, they will quickly move to the far side. In any case, they may spend half their time fishing under water, disappearing for up to 25 seconds at a time. I managed to take these photos by parking myself in the shrubs on the north side of the pond, waiting for pedestrians to pass by on the south.
—Gordon Pitz (email@example.com)
Welcome to the debut of the Fearrington Puzzler! We’ll offer this feature regularly for readers who enjoy puzzles and for anyone interested in learning more about our village. This month’s puzzler is brought to you by, most aptly, Jesse Fearrington. We hope you’ll put on your puzzler hats and do a bit of research, on the FHA site perhaps, as well as chatting with some of your long-term resident neighbors.
What history is contained in the building that houses The Belted Goat?
Stay tuned for the May edition of The Belted Gazette to learn the answer.
Introducing Fearrington Book Groups
Part 2 of a 2-part series
By Katie Baer and Maggie Pearson
This is the second of two articles introducing book groups in Fearrington Village and includes suggestions on how to start your own book group.
The Belted Bookworms is unusual because it is composed only of men.
Vince Tollers started the group in 2013, soon after he and his wife moved to Fearrington. “I was in a men’s book group when we lived in Rochester, and I wanted to create something similar when we moved here,” he said. Initially, he invited six men he knew from his neighborhood, and the group has since expanded to 13 members.
“We organized as a way to talk about books of substance,” Tollers said. “We read widely, primarily fiction, but no ‘beach books’ or ‘fluff’.”
Typically, meetings start with a member giving a brief summary and then opening up discussion. There’s always a good ebb and flow, and good listening skills are key to the success of the group, Tollers noted. “Members offer different points of view, and we respect and enjoy hearing those.“
To identify likely good reads, the group often looks to lists of literary prizes, such as the Booker Prize and the National Book Award, but also chooses recently reviewed books and members’ suggestions.
The Belted Bookworms’ list of books read over the past eight years reflects the group’s wide range of interests. Just two recent choices: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart.
Tea and Talk is a hybrid: a discussion group that relies on books, articles, and personal experience to support opinions on a variety of topics. “It is a group that likes to read but wants a more free-form organizing principle,” said one member.
Each month a member chooses a subject for discussion. Members are not expected to do research for the meeting but to come with ideas that draw on books or articles to clarify points of view. One member said that she wasn’t looking for “an English class. The goal is to learn something new. Our members are well-read so using books to bolster ideas comes naturally.”
Tea and Talk has six members who got together through word of mouth. Before the pandemic, the group met in members’ homes, and tea was always served.
Bookends, a popular group affiliated with McIntyre’s Books, is a somewhat structured group directed by Wayne Pond, PhD, a Fearrington resident and former director of UNC’s Program in the Humanities and Human Values. It is open to anyone in the community and does not limit the number of members.
Keebe Fitch, McIntyre’s manager and events coordinator, and Pond, developed a plan several years ago to foster a thematic approach to reading. Typically, several paired books (hence the name Bookends) emphasize a common theme, and readers read both books a month apart. “The dual selection often shows how authors in different time periods address a theme differently,” said Pond. Examples include politics: Washington, DC (Henry Adams--19th century) and Echo House (Ward Just--20th century) and friendship: Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain) and Crossing to Safety (Wallace Stegner).
Pond typically starts each session with a brief introduction and then invites discussion. “Wayne provides a sense of decorum, but always generates a lively discussion,” said Fitch. The sense of collegiality has been a hallmark of the group, according to John McDowell, who’s been a regular for several years. People who attend are a well-educated, diverse group, he noted. “The high quality of discussion makes it feel like a graduate seminar,” he said.
Until Covid-19, the group met in McIntyre’s back room but recently revived in a virtual format.
For more information about upcoming discussions via Zoom, contact Wayne Pond at (919) 542-9194. The selected books are available at McIntyre’s at a 20% discount up until the meeting’s date.
How to Start a Book Group
Book groups in Fearrington Village usually start with one or two friends who share similar interests in reading and discussion reaching out to others who share the same interests and whom they think would get along well in the group. Over time a decision is made about the ideal size for the book group.
For newcomers, an ideal way to start is with an open book group such as Bookends, or groups supported by other independent bookstores or local libraries. (Check to learn if they are currently supporting book groups during Covid-19.) These larger venues offer a chance to meet like-minded people who enjoy the same kinds of books and who may want to start a smaller group. The Chapel Hill Newcomers also offers a way to meet other newcomers who might be interested in setting up a book group.
Group members interviewed for this article emphasized that developing a sustainable book group requires some clear choices:
1. What are the goals for the group - social, intellectual or both?
2. What kind of books will the group read, and how will they be chosen?
3. How often will the group meet and where? How long will meetings last?
4. Will there be rotating hosts and rotating discussion leaders?
5. Who will facilitate communication among members, such as keeping everyone up to date with changes to the schedule?
6. Will the group be women-only, men-only or mixed?
7. Will drinks or food be available?
Other comments include:
1. Ideally, total group size should be about ten so each meeting is assured of six or seven participants.
2. Start each meeting with a short social period to find out how everybody is doing, but once discussion begins, avoid non-book related socializing. End the discussion by asking about other books members have been reading.
3. Help all members feel valued by ensuring that everyone who wants to speak can do so.
4. Over time a book group serves many purposes for its members: intellectual stimulation, a place to deepen relationships, a way to encounter new ideas. Members with open tolerant attitudes fare best because the most interesting discussions often are those where there are differences of opinion. A book group should be a relatively safe place for members to express their ideas.
5. McIntyre’s offers a 20% discount on selected book group titles if the group supplies the bookstore with a reading list five weeks prior to its meeting. Call McIntyre’s for more information: (919) 542-3030.
Newcomer to Fearrington Records Chatham County’s Historic Structures
By Kimberly Steiner
Chatham County has a rich architectural heritage worthy of exploring and recording for its residents. I discovered this when looking for ways to become acquainted not only with my new neighborhood of Fearrington, but with my larger community following my family’s move here in 2014.
With a degree in art conservation, experience working in museums and archives, and an interest in history, I made new friends visiting the Chatham County Historical Association’s (CCHA) museum in Pittsboro. When a friend asked me to assist with some research for a project concerning the Bynum bridge, I dove into the wonderful local history collection at the Chatham Community Library.
An impressive find was a book titled The Architectural Heritage of Chatham County by Rachel Osborn and Ruth Selden-Sturgill. A compilation of surveys of historic homes in Chatham County conducted between 1980-1986, it records an expansive effort to document historic homes in the county. Curious about which homes were still standing and which had not survived the past thirty years, I got in my car and started searching, paying attention to the townships around Fearrington.
I found the ones still standing and was surprised at the number gone. I was also surprised to drive by distinctly older homes that had no entry in the book. Thinking about all the new development in the county and all the homes that might not survive the next thirty years, I contacted CCHA, met with Bev Wiggins, reported my drive-by findings and my concerns and proposed a project—a new survey of historic homes.
During the original survey in the 1980s, 211 homes were surveyed in Williams, Baldwin, New Hope, and Center townships. Since then, 37 of those have been demolished or are in ruins. That’s at least one house per year and doesn’t account for the countless historic homes that were razed prior to the 1980s survey. We can only assume that number is substantial since the county was founded in 1771 and has seen significant growth over time. The construction of Jordan Lake, for example, relocated or demolished numerous homes in New Hope township. Additionally, I discovered 134 homes within these four townships not published in Architectural Heritage that I felt warranted documentation. In my own research, I also identified 33 homes no longer standing that were not included in the book, and I’m sure there are many more I’m unaware of.
CCHA reviewed my proposal and graciously agreed to back the project. The goal of the project is to survey all homes within Williams, Baldwin, New Hope, and Center townships (including Pittsboro) that predate 1930. I began the project in October of 2019 and have surveyed all of Williams and New Hope townships to date. CCHA shares the surveys with the community through its website (Chatham County, NC Historical Association (chathamhistory.org)). Eventually, I will share my findings with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which maintains a map of historic structures throughout the state—a wonderful resource.
The survey process requires some planning, organization, research, a pinch of willingness from homeowners, and quite a bit of gas for my car! I mail homeowners a letter a few weeks prior to the date I intend to survey their home and give them a chance to respond. Some are excited to be included in the project, meet me at the door when I arrive, give me a tour, and tell me everything I’d ever want to know and more about their property. On the other hand, quite a few have told me to “bugger off”; some are reluctant, maybe because their property needs some repair or extensive renovations have obscured their home’s history; most are indifferent. Once on the property, I photograph the home’s exterior and take notes on certain architectural features. The whole process takes 5-10 minutes, and I typically survey up to 20 homes a day. After creating a write-up on the property, I send it off to CCHA.
The hardest part is not watching development creep in, witnessing homes falling apart, or showing up to a property and finding the house gone—it is the indifference to these situations I find troubling. In truth, my favorite part of the project is not visiting an impeccably restored home—it’s photographing a house before it gets demolished.
I believe it is important to preserve the memory of the places that have played a part in the collective history of our county. Chatham is my home—its story is my story.
The pandemic has temporarily paused the project, but I hope to complete Baldwin and Center townships by the end of 2021. Who knows what I will do when it’s done—our county is full of historic churches, mills, bridges, cemeteries, and tobacco barns! Who knows what you will do upon reading this—our county’s history awaits!
Fearrington Groups and Organizations
Fearrington Groups and Organizations
Fearrington Bulls & Bears
The Fearrington Bulls & Bears Investment Club is a group of Fearrington residents who are interested in improving their investment knowledge and capabilities. We meet monthly during non-summer months and communicate regularly through an email exchange group to share information, insights, and ideas about investing.
Guests are welcome to participate in a meeting or in our email exchange group to gauge their interest in joining the Club. The next meeting will be held by Zoom on April 9 at 9:30 am.
For more information about the Club, meetings, or the exchange, please contact:
Anna Shearer, President, at 703-217-0322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fearrington Democratic Club
The Democratic Club’s April speaker on Zoom will be Jonathan Weiler, Ph.D., of the UNC-CH Curriculum in Global Studies. A specialist in the area of authoritarianism and political polarization, he will speak on the topic “American Politics and the Worldview Divide.” To get the Zoom link, please use the contact form on the Club website (FearringtonDems.org/contact-us). Please register as soon as possible; if your plans change, please cancel your registration using the same contact form. We look forward to “seeing” you on April 27th from 7:00-8:15 pm.
Fearrington Duplicate Bridge Club
There are three kinds of bridge players: 1. Those who can count, and 2. Those who can’t. We, the Fearrington Duplicate Bridge, have fun as well as exercise our brain.
As of this writing (mid-March) we are unable to provide the next time we will see each other face-to-face. The sooner the better is what we all would say.
The FHA Board and the Health and Safety Committee have determined they will abide by Governor Cooper’s guidelines. So, the inevitable is coming, just not yet. Those on our list will receive notification when I do.
Please text or email me if you have any questions: Jean Hjelle, 919-548-6216 or email@example.com. We welcome all levels of bridge players as our games are stratified allowing people to be compared with other bridge players with comparable skill.
Fearrington Genealogy Group
Tuesday, April 13, 3:00 pm, Zoom Teleconference
Program details will be emailed to members around the 1st of April.
Newcomers are welcome: Contact Linda Grimm at 919-533-6296 for details about participating in this event.
Fearrington Swim & Croquet Club
Spring is here, and summer will be here before we know it! It is time to renew your membership or join the Swim & Croquet Club. The pool opening will be in early May with the actual date confirmed after all is set to comply with county, state, and CDC guidelines relating to Covid-19.
We had a very safe and pleasant season last year and expect this summer to be equally safe and enjoyable. Some good news on fees for this year; dues are not increasing!
And, if you did not join or suspend your membership last year, you can pay the suspension fee now ($25 per adult member) and avoid the reinstatement fee of $100. For more information, visit the Swim & Croquet page under the Group Section of the FHA website www.fearringtonfha.org. If you have trouble navigating the website or have questions, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fearrington Village Singers
How to Sing in Different Styles
Thursday, April 22, 4 pm
If you can sing, you can sing in any style. Right? Not necessarily. Matt Fry, Director of the Fearrington Village Singers, will talk to us about how to sing in different styles. How is singing choral music different from opera or jazz or country or early music? Join us to find out.
Women of Fearrington
“Paws for a Cause,” a spring stroll with a friend, two-legged or four-legged, to benefit women and children in need in Chatham County: Saturday, April 17. A $25 donation gets you a time slot, goodie bag, and raffle ticket. More information and registration on our website.
We’ll celebrate our January-March birthdays on April 8. Order lunch from The Belted Goat and enjoy outdoor dining.
Amanda Brantley, of House in the Horseshoe, will speak April 21 at 1:30 pm, telling the stories of five brave North Carolina women in the American Revolution.
Enjoy the "beverage of your choice" on a member’s patio April 29 at 4 pm. Nibbles supplied!
For anyone interested in joining WoF, we are hosting two Zoom Welcome Coffees, Friday, April 2, 9:30-10:30 am, and Monday, May 3, 7-8 pm. Contact Jo Anne Rosenfeld or Barbara Fearrington for information.
Register for any road trips or webinars at WomenOfFearrington.org.
Continuing Education Opportunities
Shared Learning Association of Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill’s Shared Learning Association offers non-credit educational courses for people who love to share learning with other adults with similar interests. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Shared Learning will offer 16 online courses via Zoom, beginning April 26 through June. Full semester courses are moderated by our members and include fine arts, hard sciences, humanities, current events, and social and behavioral sciences.
Spring membership will be free and students may take as many courses as they can fit into their schedule. The Spring 2021 Catalog includes a registration form with full course descriptions and schedule and is available online at: http://sharedlearning.us. Or, to receive a paper copy, you may contact Mary Ann Freedman at: (919) 593-3335 or email@example.com. Registration for the Shared Learning Spring Online Courses will begin the first week in April.
This Month's Announcements
Physiatry: A Different Approach to Musculoskeletal Pain Management
Thursday, April 8, 7:00 pm via Zoom
Learn about Physiatry, or the medical specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), with speaker Dr. Paul Tawney, a physician working with the North Carolina Orthopedic Group in Durham. He will talk about the current directions of the field of PM&R and the interactions with other medical specialties and ancillary care providers. Dr. Tawney’s practice focuses on various treatment options for patients with back, neck, and other musculoskeletal disorders. His practice also is the site for the Duke Amputee Performance Clinic. If you are living with chronic pain and interested in relief, come learn about this approach and whether the practice deserves a try!
Can Birding Improve Your Health?
Thursday, April 22, 1:30 pm via Zoom
It has been a long year, and it has been an even longer year since last spring. So, when the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbing along, members of the Fearrington Cares Education Committee hope that all residents of the Village will be more able to enjoy time outdoors. One sure way to enjoy the natural environment is to become more familiar with the birds of our area. We are delighted to bring you Nathan Swick, a celebrated ornithologist, to educate and engage us with our feathered friends.
Nate Swick is the editor of The American Birding Association (ABA) blog, a frequent contributor to www.10000birds.com, and a member of the North Carolina Bird Records Committee. Nate has been a birder for more than 20 years and helps lead birding excursions for ABA events and the Carolina Bird Club. He has discussed his book, The Beginners Guide to Birding (2018), at McIntyre’s, and he is returning to Fearrington (via Zoom) for this special presentation.
Foot Clinic Resumes
Appointments are available for the foot clinic. If you are living with diabetes, neuropathy, or lower leg issues and would like to participate, please call the Center (919-542-6877) to learn more.
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Resume
The Alcoholics Anonymous Support Group has resumed in-person meetings in the Center. Please contact Karen Metzguer (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information.
Zoom Movement Classes, Support Groups, and Education Programs Links Are on Our Website www.fearringtoncares.org.
Zoom Movement Classes, Support Groups, and Education Programs links are on our website, www.fearringtoncares.org, and require one-time registration for events through May 2021. Click on the blue Zoom button on our home page to register for classes and events. Register once for anything that is a series; after you register, save the email you receive and use the provided link for the entire series. If you would like to practice a Zoom connection and meeting, email email@example.com and we will set that up.
Pet Tips: Staying Safe with Our Pets as We Get Older
Fearrington Cares and Chatham Animal Rescue and Education (CARE)
We all know how much companionship and comfort our pets give to us, particularly in this time of Covid-19. But as we age, our pets can also create hazards for trips and falls. A few simple precautions will help keep both owner and pet safer and more secure.
1. Exercise is enjoyable for both owner and pet. However, retractable leashes can be dangerous. An excited dog can turn a retractable leash into a lasso that winds around the legs of owner or bystander and topples one or both of them. A dog can take off and be in the middle of the road in the blink of an eye. And the sudden jerk when the lead runs out can injure the dog or owner. It’s best to opt for a 6-foot restraint for those expeditions outside. Remember that Fearrington Village covenants require both dogs and cats to be on a leash and under supervision unless they are confined to the owner's premises.
2. Pets require “stuff,” and their stuff can get in the way. Be sure that larger pieces of equipment (beds, scratching posts, toy baskets, etc.) are completely removed from traffic patterns. Put food bowls in an out-of-the-way corner or even under a table. Make picking up the day’s toys an established part of your bedtime routine.
3. Dogs and cats can both have “accidents” in the house. Turn on lights and check for slippery spots before stepping onto tile or wood floors. Our covenants also require that any droppings by a pet being walked off a resident's lot should be promptly removed by the pet owner.
4. Pets have an uncanny ability to materialize seemingly out of nowhere, especially at feeding time. Dogs with collar tags will usually warn of their approach. A breakaway collar with a bell for your cat can serve the same purpose. Make it a point to move mindfully, particularly in the kitchen, to avoid being surprised by your pet appearing suddenly underfoot.
5. Pets require us to do some bending and stooping, and heavy litter or food bags can strain backs and hips. Consider adjusting the weight of the supplies you purchase.
We hope these few ounces of prevention help you and your furry friends enjoy many happy and healthy years together. CARE is a non-profit animal welfare organization that promotes responsible pet ownership by educating the community, providing targeted spay-neuter programs, and fostering homeless dogs and cats until they are placed in loving, permanent homes. Please visit us at www.chathamanimalrescue.org.
Fearrington Cares appreciates the volunteers who make this organization shine. We see you “work magic” 365 days of the year; your patience, grace, generosity, and humor inspire others. Thank you for serving your community! Many of you are eager to return to the services you provide as volunteers; we are designing and phasing in services this month!!
Welcome to Our New Residents!
The following persons have been added to the Fearrington Village Directory between February 15 and March 14:
|18 West Madison (1149)||Sue's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
James's Email: email@example.com
|Susan M. and Dr. Thomas (Tom)
|4421 Richmond Close||Home: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan's Email: email@example.com
|Dr. Anne-Therese and Gary P. HUNT||28 McDowell (1073)||Anne-Therese's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary's Email: email@example.com
Anne-Therese's Cell: 603-208-8222
Gary's Cell: 435-760-7875
|E. and R. MCNAY||4246 Henderson Place||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a new resident? Be sure to register on our FHA community website. Doing so will give you full access to website features and allow you to be added to our resident directory. Log on to FearringtonFHA.org and on the top menu, click on Directory. Then, in the drop-down menus click first on New Resident, then List Me in the Directory.
Are you an existing resident whose contact information has changed? Don’t forget to update your listing on the FearringtonFHA.org website. On the landing page, click on the Directory tab on the top menu and then on Update Preferences on the drop-down menu. When you update your contact information online, the updates will be included in the FHA Directory & Handbook printed in January each year. Stay in touch with your fellow residents by keeping your contact information current.
Fearrington Village clubs and groups meet on the dates listed below. While events are typically held at The Gathering Place, it’s currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. If you have questions about an event, please check with the contact listed for the most up-to-date information.
|Women of Fearrington||Zoom
|Jo Anne Rosenfeld
|Women of Fearrington||Birthday Luncheon||Eileen McCorry
|Bulls & Bears
|Genealogy Group||Zoom Teleconference||Linda Grimm
9 am-12 Noon
Rain Date: April 24
|Women of Fearrington||Paws for a Cause||Barbara Gilbert
|Women of Fearrington||Webinar:
|Fearrington Homeowners Assoc.||Open Meeting
|Democratic Club||Zoom Speaker:
American Politics & the Worldview Divide
|Women of Fearrington||Members’ Social||Tracy Bailey
|Coming in May...|
|Women of Fearrington||Zoom Welcome Coffee||Barbara Fearrington
|Women of Fearrington||Lavender Oaks Farm Tour and Luncheon||Mif Flaharty
One more April activity for all of us, from resident Betty King:
Come visit the Woodland Garden at the end of Wealdstone in Countryhouse, just off Village Way. It’s a miniature walk in the woods that offers trout lilies, spring beauties, and bloodroot. Fern fiddleheads are uncurling and jack-in-the-pulpits are emerging from their winter’s sleep. There’s even a bench to sit a spell and enjoy the tucked-away notebook filled with love stories about each little plant.