Utopian Roots

Stephanie Davis Smith | October 24, 2017 | Feature National

Serenbe, an idyllic high-end resort-slash-residential community outside Atlanta, is changing the way guests and residents think about their connection to food, nature, architecture and well-being. As hospitality-industry elite flock to Georgia to learn the property's philosophy, perhaps this is the future of respite?
Trail rides and riding lessons are available from on-site Serenbe Stables.

YOU CAN GET the story of Serenbe in a variety of ways. One is by hanging out with the community’s organic farmer, Matt Clayton. Each year, the 10-acre certified-organic sustainable farm he tills provides 60,000 pounds of produce for Saturday markets and Community Supported Agriculture boxes delivered to residents, as well as restaurants both on property and in nearby Atlanta. Get Clayton, or his wife, Kali, on the topic of miniature heirloom tomatoes and winter squash—all grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals—and you’ll quickly understand why Serenbe Farms is at the center of life in this upscale new urbanist village.

Second is bumping into Jeny Mathis, a passionate resident and the owner of Zoetic, which provides meditation, yoga and multiday mindfulness retreats to guests at The Inn at Serenbe. From the front porch of her picturesque eco-friendly home, she’ll tell you she and her family moved to Serenbe to connect more intentionally and authentically with neighbors and nature.

Then there’s sitting outside the Blue Eyed Daisy enjoying a quinoa bowl brimming with blanched kale and roasted red peppers with Steve Nygren, the founder of Serenbe. His shock of thick white hair belies his youthful nature. His grand hand gestures are a sign of his enthusiasm for what he, his wife and his three daughters have built here: a luxury 27-room inn, 21 eco-friendly homes you can rent for larger groups and families, stunning horse stables, a fantastic playhouse, an artist-in-residence program and, most importantly, a respect for the outdoors that is unparalleled by anyone—except maybe Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. He points to the lampposts across the street and explains how each were handcrafted by an iron cast artist and double as a signal for those in-the-know that a path in the woods is nearby for explorers wanting to forgo streets and sidewalks for dirt paths and pine needles.


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