The Hamptons of the South

About 30 minutes from Atlanta and a world away from Atlanta sits Serenbe, a chic eco-community deep in the heart of Chattahoochee Hill country. The brainchild of Steve Nygren, founder of Atlanta’s Pleasant Peasant Restaurant, the 900-acre development, dubbed “the Hamptons of the South,” is a model for balanced and sustainable development.

Nygren and his wife, Marie, purchased 60 acres in the area in 1991 and moved there permanently upon retirement in 1994. It was only after coming across a bulldozer while out walking with his daughter that Nygren realized that development to the area was inevitable. Two years and countless meetings later, 40,000 acres of undeveloped acres were rezoned for conservation development—nearly 70 percent of the land.

Today, the community is home to a 25-acre organic farm, three renowned restaurants, an inn, stables, shops, galleries, a theater company and more. Whether you’re going for a day trip or a weekend getaway, here are some highlights:

The Inn at Serenbe—Nineteen rooms are available in five buildings including a restored 1905 farmhouse and a 1930s-era horse barn.

The Farmhouse at Serenbe—Located in the Inn, the restaurant showcases the bounty from Serenbe Farms and other local purveyors with a weekly-changing, a-la-carte menu. 770-463-2622

The Hil—Chef/owner Hilary White takes the phrase “farm-to-table” very seriously at her fantastic restaurant that serves contemporary American cuisine. 770-463-6040

Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop—This casual spot serves everything from full country breakfasts to classic sandwiches, soups and lots of sweet treats including pies and tarts. The building is the smallest silver LEED-certified building in the nation. 770-463-8379

Studio Swan—The studio and retail gallery space of Serenbe residents Gail Foster and Tom Swanston showcases local and national artists in addition to the owners’ own works. 770-463-9440

The Bilt House—Part-time Serenbe resident Jan Bilthouse’s store is chock-full of women’s clothing, novelty items, jewelry, handbags and shoes. 678-489-2541

Bloom—Beautiful, unusual, environmentally conscious, handcrafted gifts for the home. www.bloom-shop.com

Newington Gallery—Photojournalist and Serenbe resident Greg Newington’s fine-art photography gallery features works from his travels, plus works from emerging photographers. 404-825-8522

9110 Selborne Lane, Palmetto, Ga., www.serenbe.com