I had THE most incredible mini-vacation at the Inn at Serenbe last week. 
I was invited to visit The Inn at Serenbe as a guest of the community and had a chance to stay in the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Atlanta Smart & Small Cottage which was...nothing short of amazing. Sometimes you don't realize how much you need to "turn off" until you get to a place where you can do just that and it occurs to you--"this is what I've been missing."
I first became aware of the Serenbe community about 4 years ago when I was working as a Design Assistant on TBS' Movie & A Makeover and we did an on-location shoot. I fell in love with the property (and the Nygren's incredible story) and secretly promised myself that when I was able, I'd purchase my second home within the gates of the community. The property is almost 1,000 acres and very time I think about that place, I just wanna close my eyes, tilt my head & lift my shoulders to my ears. 
I LOVE Serenbe. 
It's an incredibly idyllic self-sustaining organic community about 45 minutes south of Atlanta with organic farms, private residences (built to EarthCraft specifications), art galleries, a school, spa & gym, original shops, stables, a 20 room inn and some DELICIOUS restaurants (more on that later). As a guest of the Inn, it's like getting the best of a country vacation in a 21st century, sustainable community...and the unexpected bonus is that it's not too far from home. 
I brought a guest with me and we made sure to arrive right at check-in time so I could soak up ALL of my visit. So much has changed since the last time I really had a chance to visit the community. The first time I visited most of the residents were part-time and now it's just the opposite. The community is filled with a mix of young couples, new families and folks who have earned the right to do what they want (i.e., retirees). People are so friendly and community-oriented. EVERYONE waves when you drive/walk/bike by...and I do mean everyone. I'm one who loves to research before any kind of trip, so I knew there were options to horseback ride, have a spa day or rent bikes & tour the grounds or do absolutely nothing and just relax. Me being me, I wanted to sample everything! The community features two waterfalls, a labyrinth, lake and several miles of walking trails through the woods so once we got settled, we laced up our sneakers and got to walking. It helped that my phone died en route to Serenbe...I didn't have to worry about text messages or Instagram or Facebook or Words With Friends or my Anita Baker Pandora mix all day (although I did lose my camera for a bit!). Nothing to focus on but being unplugged and in the moment which was so nice for a change.

So we walked. And talked. And then picked up the bikes and rode around the property until my sleek hair turned into a baby afro and I was so tired (and apparently out of shape) that when I got back to the cottage I was dizzy and not feeling so well. And what's the antidote for a queasy stomach? 
Dinner at The Farmhouse 
(which is owned & operated by Marie Nygren one of Serenbe's founders) .
Dinner was so good that I ate it and totally forgot about snapping any photos to share. One of the things I love about The Farmhouse is that the menu changes every week so you're sure to experience something new each time you visit. And no, it wasn't Paleo but yes I did dessert, which was a slice of Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie with homemade Vanilla Bean ice cream. HELLO??!!!
It was soooooooooooooooooooooooo good. 
We talked about that pie all night, and I don't even like pecans in my food. 
But that pie????
Ok--imagine what Willy Wonka's Scrumdidlyumptious bar would taste like in real life, then wrap your mind around the fact that that pie was most certainly its equivalent--delish! I raved about the pie so much that they were kind enough to share the recipe with me, so I could pass it along to you guys so I'm imploring you to make this pie over the holidays (or sooner!). Oh, and in advance? You're welcome.
The Farmhouse's Chocolate Burbon Pecan Pie
 Combine in a heavy sauce pan:
1 c. dark Karo syrup
3/4 c. of sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Bring to a rolling boil stirring steadily, for two minutes.

Remove from heat and add:
3 tbsp. butter
In a separate bowl beat 3 eggs, then pour hot syrup mixture slowly into eggs, beating with a wire whisk.

1 c. toasted pecan pieces 
1/4 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. bourbon
Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 45-50 minutes until filling is firm. 
Cool before cutting. 
Mini-vacations are truly the best of both worlds. 
You get a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life but you're not going so far that you need additional days off to recuperate from your time on vacation.
If you're looking for the perfect low-key getaway, Serenbe should be a must-see on your list. For those of you in or close to Atlanta, don't feel like you have to stay the night to really experience all that Serenbe has to offer! It's the perfect place to spend the day, shop, visit the waterfall and then finish off with a delicious dinner. With the holidays just around the corner, I'm sure they'll have lots of fun events planned so get yourself down there...and tell them Dayka sent you. ;-)