Atlanta Day Trip: Finding Serenity at Serenbe [Slideshow]

Take a day-trip to this eco-conscious haven near Atlanta for chic boutiques, stunning vistas and top-notch restaurants.

Much of the trip from Atlanta to Serenbe is riddled with long, winding roads—some of them gravel—giving the sense that your final destination is another world. In some ways, it is. Only a 40-minute drive from the capital of Georgia, the 900-acre conservation- and wellness-focused community replaces Atlanta’s towering buildings with wooded trails, organic farmland and star-studded skies. Deep in the heart of Chattahoochee Hill country, Serenbe is considered both a model for sustainable development and “the Hamptons of the South,” which may seem paradoxical. Not so—this community’s creative and entrepreneurial residents have created a rare harmony, balancing chic goods and services with an eco-conscious and neighborly lifestyle.

Serenbe’s diverse offerings make it perfect for both day trips and weekend getaways. Here are our favorite things to do in this nearby haven:

Where to Sleep

The Inn at Serenbe—When Serenbe founders Steve and Marie Nygren first moved to the area in 1994, the couple lived briefly in the restored 1905 farmhouse that is now one of five buildings that offer 19 guest rooms as part of the Inn. The charming compound of buildings also includes a 1930s horse barn converted into a three-bedroom guest house, a lakefront cottage and a lake house with an expansive front porch, among others. 10950 Hutcheson Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills, 770.463.2610

What to Eat

The Farmhouse—Located in the farmhouse at the Inn, the restaurant is Marie Nygren’s return to the kitchen. Nygren, whose mother founded Mary Mac’s Tea Room, is one of Atlanta’s foremost Southern food experts. At The Farmhouse, Nygren sources produce from the 25-acre organic farm down the road to create a simple and exceptionally flavorful menu, including dishes like fried chicken or smoked pork loin with roasted butternut squash, cole slaw and sautéed bok choy. The a-la-carte menu changes weekly, making repeat visits a must. Reservations highly recommended. 10950 Hutcheson Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills, 770.463.2622

The Hill—This chic restaurant brings its farm-to-table fare to Serenbe’s village, where its neighbors are boutique shops, galleries and a spa. Chef/owner Hilary White’s reliance on Serenbe Farms’ bounty makes for a delectable and refreshing menu. In fact, Chef Hilary collaborates with Serenbe’s farmers every day to evaluate which plants are ready for harvest. The Hill’s très-chic palette of whites and muted tans is made warm and inviting with rich wooden tones and industrial-style accents. Reservations recommended. 9110 Selborne Lane, Ste. 110, Chattahoochee Hills, 770.463.6040

What to Do

Serenbe Playhouse—Brian Clowdus founded this theater group that specializes in immersive performances. In its fifth year, Serenbe Playhouse’s most recent performance was an audacious adaptation of Washington Irving’s classic tale, “Sleepy Hollow.” In Clowdus’ production, audience members follow the actors, who frequently interact with guests, through The Stables at Serenbe as the Headless Horseman trots by intermittently on a live horse. Next, Clowdus and his talented troop of actors and technicians will perform “The Snow Queen,” the story that sprouted Disney’s Frozen. Dec. 4-21, Th-Su at 8 pm, 770.463.1110

Serenbe Trailriding—Equestrian connoisseurs and first-time riders alike will find a slice of heaven while horseback riding through Serenbe’s stunning landscape. Trailriding Manager Ashley Thomas and her drove of gentle horses expertly guide visitors through wooded trails, verdant fields and gravel paths during each 60-minute ride. Serenbe Trailriding offers several other options, including 90-minute rides, private picnics for two and more. Check website for pricing and additional information. 10950 Hutcheson Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills, 678.333.2989

Where to Shop

Twig—This little shop of wonders carries an assortment of high-end housewares, everyday gifts and artisan goods. The shop’s hefty price tags reflect the superior quality and design found in every item, like hand-knitted merino wool scarves and hand-painted French pottery. The store also hosts trunk shows throughout the year. You’ll leave wondering how they managed to fit all that fabulous into such a small space. 9077 Selborne Lane, Chattahoochee Hills, 770.463.9995

ResourceResource is a one-stop shop for lovers of well-designed whimsy. Gorgeous garb sits on one side of the store, while varied one-of-a-kind goods pepper the shop’s other half. Resource’s handmade jewelry, eclectic books and stunning accessories are often the backdrop for book signings, readings and other community events. Top Chef Alum Kevin Gillespie most recently visited the store for a book signing of his cookbook, “Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking.” 9110 Selborne Lane, Chattahoochee Hills, 770.463.1105