By Trish Holder
A Little Place Called Serenbe Part 2
I am convinced that the community of Serenbe never had an unoriginal thought.
I think that’s key when you are trying to sell high-priced homes with relatively small footprints and only slightly larger lots to people who could easily afford bigger houses and more land in the popular suburbs of Atlanta like Buckhead and Alpharetta. Neither the smallish lots or the price tag seem to be holding Serenbe back. There’s a little population explosion occuring in this carefully planned out community that is surrounded by 900 acres of protected land in the Chattahoochee Hills. I think originality may have something to do with it.
On my second visit to Serenbe, I tried to put a picture together of what living in Serenbe would be like. I talked to shop owners and homeowners. I ate at the Blue Eyed Daisy, the local bakeshop and cafe. I bought coffee and cake at the farmers market. I shopped at Fern’s market, the general store. I had a glass of wine while sitting on the porch at The Inn at Serenbe. I took pictures of horses and donkeys grazing in the rain. I peeked inside a couple of showcase homes, admiring the creative details using reclaimed wood and other unexpected materials. I talked to Serenbe’s current artist in residence, acclaimed sculptor and painter, BK Adams, as he worked in the Serenbe artists’ studio.
At every juncture I found something totally unique to any town, community or settlement I’d ever visited. And little by little, I could see how all those value-added perks add up to create a lifestyle that just might make that $500k+, not-so-big home worth it.
A Lot To Love, Rain or Shine
I try to describe Serenbe to friends and I get blank stares. My own husband could not wrap his brain around it until he saw it himself. It’s just too cool for words. It’s pastoral, funky, wholesome, and artsy. Even the streetlights are works of art. In fact, the arts in are a cornerstone of the Serenbe community.
So is nature. The populated areas of Serenbe are protected with a master plan that calls for 80% green space — that is land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation. In this case it includes a 30-acre organic farm, several large pastures, outdoor gathering spaces, 15 miles of wooded walking trails, and additional surrounding forestland.
It doesn’t matter where you are standing in Serenbe, the view is always pretty. And there’s always something to do, like strolling the Serenbe Farmers and Artists Market or attending a theatrical performance at the Serenbe playhouse. I’m not kidding. They have a professional theatre. An adaptation of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow runs from October 10 to October 31st, right there in the middle of Chattahoochee Hill Country, where farm animals practically outnumber the people.
Even rainy days can be fun. Both times I visited Serenbe it was raining and I still had a great time. I did feel a sorry for a neighborhood mom whose daughters, in their matching pink raincoats, jumped on a common area in-ground trampoline for well over an hour as she stood in the rain. But a in-ground trampoline! Come on! How cool is that?
Is Serenbe As Great As It Looks?
I know it all sounds too good to be true, and for someone like me, who is into every bit of it from the quaint restaurants and shops to the sustainably-conscience homebuilding practices, it’s hard not to fall head over Chattahoochee Hills with Serenbe. But I’m also a tiny bit skeptical. A part of me wonders that if you peel back velvety farmland and charming home facades of Serenbe, you might find some of the same problems that have plagued so many “green homes” like moisture problems, improperly designed HVAC, insulation problems, and unrealized efficiency.
If not, then every builder, developer, and prospective homebuyer of a new construction home needs to take a closer look at this community approach and try mimic at least a little of what they have presumably accomplished.
I’m on a quest to find the real Serenbe, enjoying every minute of it as I interview homeowners, builders, and others associated with the community. Assuming more folks are willing to talk (some already have as you’ll soon see), I hope to give my readers an insider’s view of a community that truly has me mesmerized …. and keeps me coming back for more.
Read Part 1 of A Little Place Called Serenbe by clicking here.