September/October 2022

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Anna-Rhesa Versola

I was reading an online article recently and was struck by the phrase “perfection is an illusion.” It was a much-needed reminder to adjust my thinking to strive for progress, not perfection, and that doing you best may not be perfect, but it is good – great, even.

It was apt timing, as we recently asked our readers to vote for their favorite businesses – from restaurants and art galleries to services and retail shops – for the fifth year in a row. Thousands of Chathamites weighed in, sharing their beloved breweries, nonprofits, sports clubs and more with us. (Find the full list of winners starting on page 82.) But there’s always room for improvement, especially as our county grows. If you have suggestions for a new category or two you’d like to see in 2023, I invite you to email me.

You’ll also find a series of stories featuring more than a dozen Best of Chatham winners, starting on page 44. The first of these introduces Paul F. Gagne as the new executive chef at The Fearrington House Restaurant, where excellence has been a constant for the past 40 years. According to staff, the secret ingredient for their success is teamwork. On page 56, there is another team of sorts at The Plant, where the businesses have created their own unique community to support one another and succeed together.

Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll read about artists like Emma Skurnick, whose hand-illustrated essays capture the soul of Bynum, the old mill town along the banks of the Haw River (page 30). Read on to meet Hamidou Sissoko, who left his home in Mali to be with the woman he loves in Pittsboro and discovered his talent for metal sculpture (page 34).

One of my favorite stories in this issue is about a reluctant flower farmer in Silk Hope. Turn to page 114 to learn about Emily Fuller’s mission to brighten lives with her beautiful blooms. “When you give somebody flowers,” Emily says, “you’re giving them a gift they probably wouldn’t buy for themselves, which is the best gift you can give somebody.” – Anna-Rhesa Versola, managing editor

BEST OF CHATHAM

44 The Changing of the Chef
The Fearrington House Restaurant’s kitchen sees new leadership

50 The Stuff of Dreams
Meet the family behind some of Chatham’s best frozen treats

56 Whimsically Weird and Wonderful
An eclectic community of local businesses create a niche for success

62 A Brewer’s Dozen
One taproom offers a study in sustainability through cookies made with beer byproducts

68 The Family Biz
How a few of our readers’ fave companies benefit from working with relatives

72 Quality Service, Retro Style
This automotive shop runs on dependability

76 Culture Club
Children play and learn in Spanish at this Pittsboro preschool

82 Best of Chatham 2022 Winners

FALL ARTS

30 Tall Tales from a Small Town
A Bynum artist preserves community history through illustrated essays

34 Heavy Metal
A stay-at-home dad redefines himself through sculpture

38 Fall Arts Calendar
Can’t miss concerts, events and shows

FEATURES

22 Hit the Road
Venture outside Chatham for a day (or two!), and explore all that North Carolina has to offer

96 Less is More, More or Less
How a couple in the Hamptons downsized without giving up space

114 Flower Power
Meet a Silk Hope farmer who share much more than produce with her community

122 Pawsitive Growth
Pet-focused businesses see national industry trends on a local scale

125 Pet Resources
A guide to area vets, animal hospitals, groomers, boarders and pet sitters

DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS

4 Letter from the Managing Editor

8 Five Events
You won’t want to miss

10 Noted
What we’ve heard around our towns …

26 Who’s Who in Town & County
Susannah Goldston works to improve soil and water quality through conservation

126 Here We Grow Again
Commercial development updates, plus a look at upcoming projects

128 Wedding
Barrett & Parks

PEOPLE & PLACES

14 Women of Achievement luncheon
16 Tomato Fest at the Pittsboro Farmers Market
18 Bynum Front Porch concert
19 Pittsboro Gallery of Arts reception
20 Mosaic at Chatham Park concert

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