another trip to utopia

at some point there just aren't words to describe the experience of going to serenbe (for more than just eating at one of the restaurants). it doesn't really sound that exciting: it's not by a beach, there aren't outrageous activities or shopping facilities or anything flashy to lure you in. and it's in palmetto for peep's sake (yes i know that's not the expression). we had an amazing opportunity to go last friday and stay at one of the cottages. we were treated to another fantastic experience getting to know more about this unique and beautiful community by our hostess, and daughter of serenbe founder, miss kara nygren.
in front of one of their cool signs. jesse made the joke that this picture symbolizes a perfect union between him and the community: "jesserenbe." we also spotted one of the awesome serenbe motto signs wrought around a tree (and didn't take a pic!): "a community of people living among a community of trees." hello hippie perfection! the streetlamps and roadsigns are even art...what are you waiting for? go now!
our cottage living room (you can't see them, but there were two huge peanut butter cookies waiting on the counter for bedtime sweets!)

take me away. a sweet escape.

i won't give you the full blow by blow of our time there because: A, we didn't take that many pictures because our eyeballs would have been jealous of the camera, B, friday night consisted of me eating about a kilo of scrumptious homemade pimiento cheese and crackers at tea time and barfing the rest of the night ("oh my god, i am vomiting on serenbe. i am not worthy to be here and the nature is rejecting me as a foreign noxious organism!") and, C, there really is so much cool stuff that we learned and saw that i can't even begin to relate it all. but i will encourage you to go yourself sometime...you don't have to spend any money to just go and check out the area, shops, trails, and community. you can take your kids, your pets your pharmacist, whatever. just pick a beautiful spring day and prepare to feel like you've wondered into galt's gulch. tell 'em putapuredukes sent you for 20% off. (that's a joke. you know, because it's free to go there. don't you dare embarrass me in front of serenbe, y'all).

jesse mccheesesmile and kathy o'limpface in front of our adorable cottage

the view from the living room

one of the coolest things we learned through our time there is that serenbe is not just a yuppie community of trendy rich people acting all superior under the auspices of "living green." it is so much deeper and more important. serenbe is just 1000 acres of a 60,000 acre initiative started by the nygrens to permanently protect the chattahoochee hill country from traditional suburban development. in this protected green space, there is now a law that you may only build on or develop 40% of any land that you own. chattahoochee hills became the greenest city in america that day it was founded and remains so today. while that is not normally something that would appeal to me, i felt so intensely drawn to this manner of living: simple, wild, laid back, in-tune with the stuff god created.

our FAB-U-LOUS main hostess taking us on a gorgeous tour of some of the trails around the property. that slide was BALLIN'. i went down twice. kara manages the blue-eyed daisy restaurant AND the sales office. she's kind of a big deal. and she would still be my new BFF even if she lived in an old shoe and worked in a garbage can, because she's just that awesome.

.steve said that most of the people moving there now are families with young kids who come for a weekend and realize that the 2 days spent at serenbe brought them closer than month at home would have and have decided that they don't want to miss the opportunity of giving them a childhood full of unstructured play in the woods (what an idea!) and hours that are not jam-packed with scheduled activities.

see her shirt? see the sign behind us? they match. bonus: her eyes are the exact color of the logo too. was that creepy?

our cottage at about 6 am. (something is mentally unstable about jesse and he woke up at 5:30 on a morning that we didn't have our baby with us!)

.the real beauty is that this place isn't condemning or shunning technology, or city life; it's just putting on the brakes a little bit and saying, "hey, there was some good stuff about the way we did things before computers and highways and facebook came along. let's put those back in our systems." it about balance. i asked kara, "so what do you do when you need a tampon or cheese dip at 1 am (as so often happens to me)?" you can't just run up the street to a 24 hour wal-mart. she said that's kind of the great thing, once a week she and garnie (our other wonderful hostess) go out to mr. fuji and shop at target and kroger and run little errands. since it's a once a week thing, they actually look forward to the trip and plan better for it, instead of those trips just becoming the default, everyday occurrence which tends to happen when there's a store 2 miles from you in every direction. i crave this simplicity. i crave this balance. i crave freedom from target and publix (as much as i love them...because love doesn't mean being addicted).

full country breakfast included with your stay! fresh squeezed OJ, homemade biscuits, creamy grits, scrambled eggs and sausage. my i more than made up for the food i missed out on due to the pimiento cheese debacle. um, steve nygren, the INVENTOR and founder of serenbe refilled our drinks and talked to us for about an hour. when was the last time arthur blanks came by and talked to you about hammers?

while i don't know if we'll ever live at serenbe, i can tell you that we will certainly spend many, many hours there as a family exploring, laughing, adventuring, teaching judah what a sheep looks like in real life instead of on the internet. won't you join us?

what a perfect, crisp, almost-spring day it was! thank you steve, garnie, kara and god for such an awesome getaway!

ny times great article about serenbe (thanks, meaghan)

epilogue: in case you were wondering, judah spent the night with his godparents lena and elliot (much to kara's chagrin) and had a wonderful time. pictures coming...whenever lena decides to not be worthless.


  1. Ok, SOLD. Harry has wanted to go to Serenbe since its birth...he is from Newnan and hasn't been!! I think I might surprise him with a weekend there after he finds out that he passed (fingers crossed) the bar exam (if I can wait that long). Thanks for the Serenbe introduction.

  2. This was quite the informative post. I hope that communities like this flourish because I'm sure by the time Erik and I get back to Atlanta, the lots will all be sold out!

  3. Also, just to leave another comment: This community was featured in the N.Y. Times: http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/travel/01heads.html?th&emc=th. Fun!!

  4. I'm not worthless.I'm in Hawaii with the camera that the pictures are on and my cord is in Atlanta. Fine, I guess that makes me a loser and I'm sorry. The pics will be coming as soon as I get back to atlanta. Please don't limit my time with Judah bc of my mistakes.

  5. I like pimiento cheese a lot too!

  6. yay new BFF! love yall! i had so much fun!

  7. I knew you'd be have a store one day! So proud of your initiative...you're amazing.

    I wonder when Serenbe started, and if we had the 'taking our kids back to nature' idea first. Great concept--love the place. This Spring, we're there. I've got my restaurant.com coupon ready to go!