Serenbe: A New Sustainable Community Standard

One couple’s weekend getaway has transformed a piece of Georgian countryside, not to the developmental sprawl that has threatened the pristine rural land surrounding Atalnta, but a community focused on conservation and wellness.

In 1991 Serenbe founders Steve and Marie Nygren purchased 40 acres of land with a farmhouse circa 1905. The property was supposed to be a weekend getaway for the couple and their three young daughters, but they were soon wooed by country life and by 1994 they sold their main residence in Atlanta and moved to their country estate full time.

The Nygren’s compound continued to grow and soon became a popular getaway for friends and associates. “Our home had become so popular with friends from the city that at one point we posted bed and breakfast rates as a joke,” Nygren recalls. The joke stuck and in 1996 the family converted their home in a bed and breakfast large enough to accommodate both their visiting friends and paying guests.  

By 2000 the Nygren’s 40 acre property had grown to 300 acres and a new dream started to form. A vision to preserve the beautiful landscape that had lured them to the Chattahoochee Hill County. With relentless research, community outreach, and coordination a plan was formed to protect a collective area of 400,000 acres. The Chattahoochee Hills Country Master Plan stipulated that 70 percent of land must be kept in it’s natural state. Nygren decided the best way to prevent the suburban sprawl threatening his countryside was to develop the area itself in a way that would be sustainable and respect the area’s agrarian nature.

Today Serenbe is home to over 400 residents, won multiple awards for sustainable communities, and has expanded to four unique hamlets that each focus on a different element of wellness: arts, agriculture, health, and education. Serenbe boasts a variety of architectural styles, pulling inspiration from communities around the world.

Residences of Serenbe enjoy unique amenities including stables, a large labyrinth, a handful of small town inspired businesses, a vibrant art and theatre scene, and a 25 acre farm that boasts a thriving CSA, Saturday farmer’s market, and edible landscaping. The endless testimonials from residences of Serenbe highlight the true draw of this unique development: a sense of community, belonging, and tranquility.

“The pace is slower at Serenbe: You can stroll or stride. Be or do. Individuality is encouraged — this is not a cookie-cutter culture.”