Thirty-five miles southwest of Atlanta, a quiet little 900-acre community named Serenbe came to be through much forsight and planning. It was where Dick and I spent two peaceful days and nights on Monday and Tuesday, November 7 and 8. Aptly named from the melding of two words, serenity and be, it is most certainly a place where "you will find the serenity to simply be." Built to preserve land from Atlanta's rapidly advancing subdivision-style urban sprawl, Serenbe consists of four hamlets with architecture that is unique to each one and differing functions benefiting the community as a whole. The first hamlet we visited was Selborne.
The Selborne Hamlet's focus is visual, performing, and culinary arts. Many artists reside in their studios and display work in Serenbe's galleries. The Serenbe Playhouse opened in the summer of 2010 with three performances for its inaugural season. Dick and I ate several made-from-scratch meals at the homey Blue-Eyed Daisy Bakeshop. I was drawn to the rustic pie crust that draped over the edges of a freshly baked apple blueberry pie. The crust was crunchy and a sprinkling of sugar sparkled like frost on a wintry morning. It was sooooo delicious!
I loved the name of a shop down the street... bloom a shop of unruly things. It was closed midweek, but my delight at the products within radiated through the shop's display window. I gazed especially longingly at this paper mache head that held a leaf-inspired headband.
Oh, to recreate one of these streetlights in my own yard. After dark, the glow was reminiscent of the lamp post in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe movie. If only thick, fluffy snowflakes had begun to flutter down from above, I would have been magically transported into Narnia.
There are small touches to be found around every bend in this community of Serenbe as seen in this nature-inspired road sign, bench, and garbage can. Click on the photo below to truly appreciate the detail.
Grange is Serenbe's farm hamlet that includes an equestrian center and an organic farm that provides produce to the community's three restaurants and a Saturday farmers market. The Grange Hamlet will eventually have a BBQ restaurant, tack store, feed and seed shop, etc.
The architecture in the Grange Hamlet, which is starkly different than in the Selborne Hamlet, looked to me to be patterned after a farmhouse, southern plantation, and an 1800s western town style. Notice how closely the houses are positioned. This preserves greenspace, which is an important goal of the developers.
In addition to Serenbe's focus on maintaining greenspace, energy efficiency, utilization of green building materials and construction methods, and encouraging a cultural arts base, reducing impact on the environment plays out in the homes' front yards, where native plants provide beauty in lieu of high water consumption sod. Walking paths and horseback riding trails connect hamlets to foster a sense of community among Serenbe's residents.
A third hamlet named Mado, which will have a health and wellness focus, is in the planning stage. It will include a spa, vegetarian restaurant, juice bar, traditional and holistic medical services, assisted living, etc. Eventually, a fourth hamlet named Hill will include a post office, grocery store, fire station, and other supporting retail businesses. A Montessori school services the community's preschoolers with charter school construction for older students beginning soon.