I've been working hard these last few months, and though I love what I do as a full-time writer and photographer, a girl definitely needs to recharge her batteries every once in a while.
The trick with a proper mini-break is, you don't necessarily need to go far. You might not even need to book a plane ticket. Sometimes the breath of fresh air you need is much closer than you think. For this getaway, my boyfriend and I drove a mere 40 minutes away from downtown Atlanta, yet it felt as if we'd entered another world.
Gone was the traffic of our fair city.
Gone was my to-do list.
Gone was the reception on my phone.
We piled in the car on a Sunday afternoon and headed to Serenbe.
If you haven't heard of it before, Serenbe is a sustainably-built community of houses and businesses nestled inside acres of preserved forests and meadows in Chattahoochee Hill Country. Steve and Marie Nygren bought the property decades ago for their own family use, and have since cultivated an award-winning eco-oasis where dozens of families live, work, and learn.
There's a 25-acre organic farm, a seasonal farmers market, three farm-to-table restaurants, culinary events, festivals, shops, horseback riding, an outdoor theatre, and more.
M and l booked a stay at the Serenbe Inn on a Sunday and Monday to relax in nature, spend quality time together, and unplug from our hectic lives in Atlanta.
That is the smile of a woman starting to relax.
As placid as these photos are, that's how peaceful our stay was. Bucolic is the perfect word to describe this place.
I am actually just as much of country girl as I am a city dweller, so I was tickled pink to be here. Corny as it may sound, I love grass and trees and wildflowers and blue skies and fresh breezes and calm waters and comfortable beds... these things make me feel peaceful and are just what I needed.
On the afternoon we arrived, one of Serenbe's biggest festivals was in full swing. May Day attracts tourists and locals alike to the fun and games happening in the heart the community, so before checking in at Serenbe Inn, M and I took a wander in that direction.
Met a gentleman who told us which way to go:
And we were on our way.
The craft-lover in me always likes seeing these knit designs on trees. Adds a little fun and whimsy to the view.
l love the idea of a wishfield; it's a beautiful way to set intentions and speak your heart's desire while creating "flowers."
We roamed around a bit more and delighted in the bubbles almost as much as the kids did.
That was my favorite part! M had to tear me away.
Pleasantly tuckered out from the sun, we had a quick spot of afternoon tea with the world's most delicious scones...
... before heading to our room for a siesta.
At twilight, we went to dinner at the Farmhouse.
This necklace is one of my favorites. My friend Jenn Cook owns Drea James Designs, if you'd like to browse.
To be honest, the dinner didn't really work out for me. The Caesar salad was fine, and M liked his spring rolls:
But my dinner wasn't that great. I'd never had polenta before, so I gave it a try, with underwhelming results.
It was a mushroom and polenta dish, but the mushrooms were just too much. Funnily enough, our server said this was her favorite, and though she double-checked that M actually liked beets (because they're a significant component of his risotto dish), she might've given me a better heads up about the amount of mushrooms!
But I wasn't bent out of shape at all. Ya win some, ya lose some, right? The staff was very nice at finding me something else to eat, though the restaurant was very near closing (it was 9 pm; that's the other thing, everything closes at 9 pm here!).
M liked his risotto:
(As a side note, we ran into the chef the next day and he was very interested in whether we enjoyed our meal. I decided to politely tell the truth -- thankfully he hadn't worked the night before! -- and he told us that they were actually planning to take my dish off the menu because of the lukewarm reviews it had been receiving. So that was cool.)
After dinner, we took the slow stroll back to the lake house. Some of the paths were lit with low lights; some only lit by the stars.
A beautifully successful Sunday.