Looking for a mini-vacay right about now? Serenbe, located just 32 miles south of Atlanta in beautiful Chattahoochee Hill Country, fits the bill for an easy, relaxing, and undeniably intriguing weekend. The great thing about Serenbe is that you have the opportunity to make that getaway last a lifetime. Here's an award winning New Urbanist community that could have swayed even Zsa Zsa to consider life in the country.
Serenbe has garnered national attention for its development model that's focused on land preservation, green building practices, walkability, and sustainable agriculture. There's also a strong emphasis on arts and culture; Serenbe is home to galleries, studios, a photography center, and the Serenbe Playhouse. The refined rural aesthetic is ever present here, making even the trash receptacles things of beauty. Also present in the picturesque hamlet setting are home boutiques, a bikeshop, spa, and a salon. Serenbe is a foodie haven, with such restaurants as the Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, The Hil, and The Farmhouse at Serenbe utilizing ingredients grown a field away. The original brains behind Serenbe know a thing or two about eating, considering Steve Nygren was the founder of the popular Peasant Group restaurants and his wife Marie's mother was the founder of Atlanta's venerable Mary Mac's Tea Room.
2011 is the "Summer of the Arts" at Serenbe. The Serenbe Playhouse is presenting three different shows; "The Ugly Duckling" looks especially cool considering it takes place in an actual pond. The Serenbe Farmers Markets are held every Saturday during May through October, and it's a great place to stock up on locally grown organic produce and browse arts and crafts vendors. You can get hands on with fine arts and photography workshops, and the Southern Chef Series allows you to cook side by side with some of the best cuisiniers in the region. The kiddies aren't left out, what with horse riding at the stables, Camp Serenbe, and theater workshops. There's even a drive-in (or walk-in) movie held in a wildflower meadow where watchers are invited to bring a blanket picnic.
Sound good? Then let's talk real estate. One of the beautiful things about Serenbe is the housing variety, which makes for a visual feast. Here you can find estate homes on large lots, cottages, townhomes, and live/work units, each built to EarthCraft standards. Regardless of type, the homes available at Serenbe are the antithesis of cookie -cutter. Within the community are contemporary abodes straight out of Dwell, storybook cottages that ooze charm, and vernacular designs showcasing the best in Southern style. The latest phase to rise in Serenbe is known as the Nest, which features ultra green smaller footprint cottages with lake or organic farm views. There's a mix of full-time and part-time residents, and a charter school is planning to open in 2012.
If you'd like to stay overnight and get a taste of the life here, the Inn at Serenbe is tailored made for that purpose. You're liable to fall in love with what the New York Times called the "Sonoma of the New South." Don't say you weren't warned.