An Experiential Review by Jonathan Carpenter
An Introduction to a Rural Experience
When you need a day to wake up and smell the fresh air, recharge your batteries, or maybe reinvigorate your creative side, one of the best places to go in Rural Georgia is Serenbe, nestled deep in the forested rural region of Northwest Georgia. Serenbe offers a relaxing small town experience with a multitude of engaging activities to take part in, from dining and hiking, to up close and personal farm town experiences such as horseback riding, or a petting zoo. With so much to experience, there is far too much to include in one single post, so let me take you on a journey through my brief winter visit to this magical place, hopefully the first in a series.
Serenbe’s atmosphere is very rustic in some areas, natural in others. For many, it might invoke a sense of nostalgia, reminding one of quiet moments. Perhaps you may experience a peaceful moment in the morning breeze, or the smell of fresh and crisp air in the autumn months, listening to the trees rustle in the wind. I had many such moments here whilst walking outdoors. As you enter the township itself, the rustic atmosphere hits home. The architecture might give you a small sense of traveling back in time to the age of horse and wagon, and yet there is plenty to remind you that you’re still in the modern age without diminishing the tranquil atmosphere or overall aesthetic. From my own perspective, it was both whimsical and relaxing to spend a few hours in this environment. Visiting it in winter gave it even more of a storybook feel.
Many of the locals of Serenbe are generally friendly, open to conversation. I met a couple of individuals who are a testament to the welcoming community atmosphere you can encounter in the small town environment. Jeff, a local cook working at the Blue Eyed Daisy bakeshop, proved to be quite a conversationalist, both an attentive listener and active and engaging speaker. He went the extra mile to make us feel welcome. Kelsey is a shop worker at The Ballog, a gift shop next door to the aforementioned bakeshop. Like Jeff, she was an engaging conversationalist, and proved informative too. These two individuals are just a couple of outstanding examples among a whole crowd of friendly individuals we encountered.
There were many options for dining, from a classy farm-to-table establishment like The Hill to community dining experiences like The Farmhouse. My mother and I chose the small café and bakeshop called the Blue Eyed Daisy. The food was amazing, made fresh to order, and rich in flavor. Our previously mentioned acquaintance, Jeff, made it a point to explain that most of their ingredients are locally sourced when it is in season. When it can’t be sourced in Serenbe, it is brought in from other rural farming communities like their own. You can taste the difference. I had ordered their signature Blue Eyed Burger, made with cheddar, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomato, house pickles, and their signature Daisy Sauce. The mixture of flavors proved to be both satisfyingly rich, and very nostalgic. I must also note that their gluten free options are not lacking. They have buns available that are soft yet have a satisfying crisp when toasted, and they always have a wide selection of dessert pastries, including a gluten free cupcake that was sweet and moist to the point of being near indistinguishable from other high quality variations. Talk about sweetening the day, Literally!
Serenbe has much to offer to shoppers. From a General Store that looks like something out of the Wild West, to a local wine shop, they aren’t lacking in options. The shop my mother and I visited is called The Ballog. Although just a tad cramped, that is primarily due to the number of options available, ranging from clothes to accessories and natural soaps to scented candles. As noted to us by the shop worker Kelsey, much of their product comes from artisans throughout Atlanta and surrounding areas. In terms of locally made Georgian artisan goods, they don’t lack variety, and a number of the items again invoke senses of calm and nostalgia, not the least of which include the scented essential oils. As you can see in the video, the mom-and-pop-shop feel does little to diminish the local rustic atmosphere, and in fact contributes in its own unique way.
There are a number of local, and sometimes seasonal activities and experiences to be had in Serenbe besides the dining and shopping. From classic theater to horseback riding, and a seasonal farmer’s market, they offer a lot. In this case, we’ll talk about the farm animal petting zoo known as the Animal Village, found just outside The Inn. You’ll soon need to make reservations at the aforementioned inn or The Farmhouse to gain access, but that is to avoid crowding the animals. However, an up close experience with these creatures is still worth it. They offer the option to buy animal feed too, and you can guess what that’s for. There is nothing quite as endearing as a baby lamb nibbling out of your hand. I did have the misfortune of being startled by a rooster loudly crowing at me from behind. I practically jumped out of my skin. Although it was a little embarrassing, it was worth the laugh, and proved to be a memorable encounter. This one seemed to strut about like he owned the place! And of course, you cannot forget the pigs. While young, they can actually be fairly curious, approaching and following people about, as one spotted piglet did with me while I was there, endearing, almost like a puppy.
Each of these experiences may seem simple on the surface, but they come together in a rich experience that delves into the local culture of a rustic, small farm town environment. When you need a reminder that the little things can count in big ways, a relaxed social environment, a place to calm your nerves, or a little bit of a boost to your creative inspiration, Serenbe is a great place to go. Ride a horse, feed the sheep, engage with the community, indulge in some locally grown and homemade fare, and go home with a pleasant smelling reminder of your visit. That’s a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon.
To see more, check out the links in the article! For some places to start exploring, here are some Google map markers!
- Serenbe: https://goo.gl/maps/3qTRAAm7RyiDUphQ8
- The Blue Eyed Daisy: https://goo.gl/maps/myg9d9SNzqmgBG9R8
- The Ballog: https://goo.gl/maps/TPBoH6fAGw6NV6Xv8
- The Inn: https://goo.gl/maps/d6U7YGyD6cW4k1eu8
- The Farmhouse: https://goo.gl/maps/qV1Rc467reVP5Mym6
- The Hill: https://goo.gl/maps/qE7NDkoxTBN8L4YJ8
This is a travel blog article, nothing more, nothing less. It’s meant to share an adventure and showcase some of the fun things one can do at a location the writer visited. In this case, I chose Serenbe, GA, a small town located in the north-western forest region of the southern state. Skills utilized for this article include research and analysis, and critical thinking.