Thursday, April 14, 2016

Celebrate in Serenbe

April 11th was our 6th wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? 6 years of marriage means this blog is also 6 years old! Time flies, but it also seems like we have lived A LOT of life in the last 6 years. So much has changed, but I am so deeply grateful to say that through all the ups and downs of life, Zach and I are happier than ever. Excluding Jesus, having a strong, faithful, and super fun marriage is truly the greatest gift God has ever given me. This year, we decided to do a local getaway to celebrate our 6 years together.

I have always wanted to visit the infamous Serenbe, a new urban village just 25 minutes outside Atlanta. For years I have heard about it and even poked around their website from time to time, but I had never been. I knew it would be cool, but Zach and I were both pretty blown away by all that we found just steps beyond our city limits.

Serenbe is a 1,000 acre sustainable community located in Chattahoochee Hills, GA. Established in 2004, the development has 4 English-style hamlets, each with a community center that focuses on the "elements of a well-lived life": art, agriculture, health, and education.
Fresh, organic, local food, year-round cultural events, gorgeous natural landscapes, and award-winning architectural/sustainable design are just a few of the features that make Serenbe a very unique and inspiring place.

Our day started off with horseback riding. It was a bit chilly, but we really enjoyed the serenity of the still morning and exploring some of the nature trails and waterfalls we would not have likely seen on foot.

Serenbe Stables (for boarding, lessons, etc.)
Sleepy horses
Ridin' in my weddin' boots! (Fun fact: I wore these the day I met Zach and the first thing he ever said to me was, "Hey, I like your boots." haha)

After our ride, we went to explore the hamlets and have lunch at The Hil restaurant.

Sustainable, organic local agriculture is a huge part of the Serenbe way of life. Not only was the food fresh and "clean", but super tasty. We split the fried egg pimento cheese sandwich,
and the fried chicken sandwich (which Zach said was the best fried chicken he's ever had).
Next stop was the Blue Daisy Bakeshop for some coffee/tea.
This place is really charming inside. In addition to sweets and drinks, they also offer a light breakfast and lunch menu.
 Exploring the trails.
After prowling around the Selbourne hamlet, we headed over to see Grange. In their community center is a Montisorri school, a Bosch experience center (where people learn how to create their net zero, geo-thermal $$$ sustainable homes), and a pretty darn cute General Store, selling lots of gourmet food, wine, and wellness-related goods.

 Look at these adorable farm fresh eggs!
From townhouses to estate homes, the residential property at Serenbe is intriguing and each home is one-of-a-kind. Here are a few of our favorites.
 Brand new neighborhood! I am obsessed with wooden shake shingles.  
 And ivy/creeping fig/jasmine/ and the like growing on structures. #swoon

 This breathtaking manor house is our favorite. This photo does not do it any justice, as each facade is unique and the grounds surrounding it are like straight out of some Jane Austen novel!
For our stay, we booked a room at the Inn at Serenbe which is nestled into a picturesque countryside, ribboned with black wooden fences, old barns, grazing horses, and a tranquil pond.

The property has an interesting history of development and now boasts 19 rooms dispersed among a sprawling cluster of buildings.

The grounds are so beautiful and maintain a perfect balance between natural growth and well-manicured landscaping.
 I love this overgrown bench!

The weather on Sunday afternoon was simply perfect. I was in heaven, sitting by this pool, basking in the sun, and thanking God for so many gifts in my life.
We stayed in the main house, and in fact, our room is the one below with all the windows.

Each room key is attached to an old, clanging cow bell.
After settling in, we ventured out to explore the property. Through the trees we saw what appeared to be a random carnival.
But this wasn't just any carnival, it was a vintage carnival, like something from the 20s or 30s. All the carnies were dressed in appropriate period-style clothing.

Walking around this place, Zach and I felt like we had time-traveled! It was SO bizarre, but so unbelievably delightful, like a dream you don't want to end. After doing a little research I discovered that we were still in 2016, and this was the set (and cast) of Carousel, the latest Serenbe Playhouse show that just happened to have it's last performance that night. What luck! :)

After gawking at the amazing Carousel set up, we strolled through the animal village which was rather charming. Lots of goats, sheep, llamas, donkeys/mules, etc.
To our utter surprise, a sheep escaped his pen while we were the only ones around! He was running down the street when Zach caught a glimpse of him from the corner of his eye.
Luckily, Zach was able to wrangle this fellow and help him get back to his pals. :)
Our surprising adventure continued as we crossed over the foot bridge and into the woods. There, just out of site from the pond, was a wall-less room, filled with bright green grass and 4 wooden chairs at the center.
Isn't this place the absolutely quirkiest?! We have NO IDEA what the purpose/history of this space is, but Zach loved it.

After our delightful discoveries out and about, we got ready for dinner. Isn't he the cutest? 

 We ate at The Farmhouse, a farm-to-table restaurant adjacent to the inn.

The presentation of the food was nice, but we didn't swoon over the food. For me, since I was getting over a nasty head cold, I struggled to actually taste the food. :( Also, since Zach and I have eaten at a lot of top fine dining restaurants in Atlanta, we are pretty tough critics when it comes to gourmet dishes, ESPECIALLY steak.
The desserts were pretty good though and of course, my company! :)

After dinner, we strolled back over to the carnival to see it in all it's night-time whimsical glory. So so so magical.
The next day we enjoyed our complimentary breakfast back in the Farmhouse dining room before galavanting off to Atlanta for the next installment of our anniversary celebration. I am SO thankful for this guy right there and all the love, joy, support, laughter, and friendship he has brought to my life. I am the luckiest!
One really exciting thing about Serenbe is that so much is still left to be built! When the masterplan is complete, it will be seriously amazing! We look forward to going back and staying at the (future) boutique hotel, eating at new restaurants, and exploring all there is to be found in this progressive community.

 See ya later Serenbe! Thanks for being such a fun place!