Serenbe Style and Soul

with Marie Nygren

Steve Nygren



November 2012



Giving thanks

Written by , Posted in Fern's Market, marie nygren, Serenbe Community, Serenbe Farms, Steve Nygren, The Farmhouse at Serenbe, The Inn at Serenbe

As we enter the holiday season, I find it important to pause and consider all that I have to be thankful for and what is truly important.  The “things” in life, while nice and very often convenient, are just that – things.  I am grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed on me, my family, and the many wonderful people with whom I associate both personally and professionally.

Toasting our exceptional Inn and Farmhouse staff
Steve and I are blessed to live in a forward-thinking community of caring and compassionate people in an environment that harkens back to villages of the past.  Serenbe is really such a study in contrasts. We employ all the latest in building technology and comforts here, but our community is based on old English hamlets from centuries ago.  
One of Serenbe’s resident goats
In Serenbe, we pick up our mail from central locations, walk to unique shops and restaurants on unpaved paths through meadows and woods, watch live theatre productions in the open air, and have the option to purchase local food products from our farmers market and community grocer

From the first time Steve and I saw this property, now known as Serenbe, we knew we had come “home.”  It feels as though we were entrusted with ensuring this beautiful piece of land was preserved and protected in ways not imagined by developers of previous decades.  Learning to be good stewards of the land has been humbling, sometimes trying, but always joyful. 

Steve and me with our daughters Garnie, Quinn, and Kara
I am particularly thankful to have my three beautiful and interesting daughters living nearby.  There is no joy greater than to be surrounded by family and dear friends.  I also appreciate having a satisfying career and outstanding staff with whom to work – these enrich my life. 

During this time of Thanksgiving, may you also pause to consider your blessings. 



October 2012



Experience an Afternoon in the Country at Serenbe

Written by , Posted in Afternoon in the Country, Les Dames d'Escoffier, marie nygren, Steve Nygren, The Farmhouse at Serenbe, The Inn at Serenbe

The Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is holding its 12th annual Afternoon in the Country fundraising event at the Inn at Serenbe on Sunday, November 4, 2012, 1pm to 4pm.  The Farmhouse again will be represented at the event, and I will participate not only as proprietress of the Farmhouse but also as a new member of Les Dames. 

Patrons will enjoy tastings from more than 90 of Atlanta’s best chefs, restaurants, caterers, retailers, wineries, 
distributors and breweries; live Bluegrass music from the band Drivetrain; a silent auction; opportunities to win pastry art from the area’s best pastry chefs during the cake raffle; hayrides; and children’s activities. 
 There is something for everyone at this popular event. 

Proceeds benefit the Atlanta chapter’s scholarship fund for women in the culinary, beverage, and hospitality arts and the Georgia farming community.  LDEI reports its 26 chapters around the U.S., Canada, and Australia have awarded more than $2 million in culinary scholarships.

LDEI fosters excellence and promotes the achievement of women in culinary professions through educational and charitable activities.  It is exciting for me to be selected to join this prestigious society of women.  Atlanta Dames include chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, retailers, event planners, cookbook authors, food journalists and historians, winemakers and wine industry professionals, food publicists, culinary educators, and hospitality executives.

Afternoon in the Country sells out early every year. Don’t miss your chance to attend.  Visit the Atlanta Les Dames’ website today for more information and to purchase your tickets.

See you at Serenbe. 

Photos by



October 2012



The Serenbe Institute awards HGTV windfall to community projects

Written by , Posted in marie nygren, Ryan Gainey, Serenbe Farms, Serenbe Institute, Serenbe Playhouse, Steve Nygren, The Farmhouse at Serenbe, The Inn at Serenbe

4th of July parade
I hope you had the opportunity to visit the HGTV Green Home here in Serenbe while it was open for tours over the summer.  What a beautiful home it is.  HGTV was a wonderful partner and, as a result of the money raised from the tours, many community programs were recipients of the windfall.  One recipient, the Serenbe Institute for Arts, Culture & the Environment, used their proceeds and paid it forward, awarding funds to several more local programs and projects.

The Institute received 15 applications, all for worthy projects.  The Institute’s executive committee gave thoughtful consideration to each application and ultimately awarded funds for the following projects:

Serenbe Playhouse’s
Alice in Wonderland
  • Serenbe community collaborative – to purchase chairs and tables for the Stables meeting room, signage for the trail system, software to upgrade the community website, and construction of a dock at Grange Lake
  • The Children’s House (Montessori school in Serenbe) – to support construction of a playground and purchase geocaching devices for the after-school program
  • Serenbe Farms – to support restoring the fertility of a 3-acre field and beautify and plant it with small fruits and flowers
  • Serenbe Artist-in-Residence program – to upgrade community outreach and communications capabilities
  • Courtyard studio meeting room – for maintenance and upgrade of the facility
  • Serenbe Playhouse – to purchase sound and lighting equipment, keyboard, and computer equipment
  • Serenbe Photography Center – to support interior renovation and upgrade, purchase of additional lighting and exhibition hanging systems, and upgrading database for use by the Center, the Playhouse, and other programs

Fun at Camp Serenbe
I encourage you to visit the Institute’s website.  The good people involved in the Institute offer inspiring programs.  The Institute’s mission is “to cultivate the community’s creative, intellectual, and ecological qualities through programs and projects that promote our social, spiritual, and aesthetic curiosity.”  As a resident of Serenbe and the greater Chattahoochee Hill Country, I appreciate their generosity in supporting local programs and projects. 

Team Blue – Serenbe Olympics
If you haven’t visited Serenbe for a while, please come see our community.  Great things happen where interesting people congregate. 



December 2009



Happy New Year

Written by , Posted in marie nygren, serenbe, Steve Nygren

New Year’s eve day was spent with my family and I in the kitchen preparing for dinner at the Farmhouse. Steve and Quinn helped by making chocolate roulade as our Farmhouse staff and I worked on breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day.

From my entire family, we want to wish you a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2010. We hope to see you at the Farmhouse and around Serenbe in the coming year.

For the next several days, I am taking some time off from blogging as my focus will be in the restaurant. We have a full house at the as the year comes to a close, and the new year begins.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support since my blog began and looking forward to being with you all next year!



December 2009



Christmas Traditions

Written by , Posted in "Stan Topol", "yule log", inn at serenbe, marie nygren, Steve Nygren

As the holiday rush continues Marie is prepping in the kitchen for 150 reservations for Sunday’s fried chicken lunch at the Farmhouse. Because of this, I am filling in for a couple of days as a guest blogger and am excited to tell you about the Nygren’s family Christmas dinner tradition.

A small group of close friends joined the Nygren family last night to enjoy Christmas dinner. The house was magical with decorations everywhere, and two beautifully set tables courtesy of their friend, Stan Topol.

Before dinner began we were asked to pick a number and then choose the seat which matched our number. What a fun way to meet new people.

Dinner was delicious and began with Margaret Lupo’s seafood soup. The seafood soup is a yearly tradition at the Nygren Christmas dinner and Marie continues to serve it in her mother’s china bowls. Whenever Margaret had a dinner party the first question that was always asked was, “Are you serving your seafood soup?”

After tasting it last night for the first time I fully understand why that question was asked. It was one of the best soups I have ever had. I had asked Marie for other soup recipes in the past and she told me when she and her mom cooked soup they always “just added a little of this and a little of that”. This soup was so popular that they finally sat down to create the recipe which is now featured in Margaret’s cookbook.
(it will also be served on New Year’s eve at the Farmhouse).

The next course featured beef tenderloin with Marie’s homemade horseradish sauce, scalloped potatoes (my personal favorite), butter pea and kale gratin, parsnips, leeks and homemade bread.

Dinner was delightful, conversation was lively and the dessert presentation was amazing. Every year Steve and their youngest daughter, Quinn make the yule log, buche de noel and meringue cookies. The log reached almost the entire length of the kitchen island and it was truly a work of art!

It is obvious that tradition plays a treasured role in the Nygren family and with a picture perfect Christmas dinner, it is a tradition that I hope I continue to be a part of every year.

     ~guest blogger: Dana Widmer



December 2009



Guest blogger: Dana Widmer

Written by , Posted in marie nygren, serenbe, Steve Nygren

After a few sleepless hours in the night, I decided to ask Marie if I could write about the her family’s annual trim-a-tree party and the Serenbe tree lighting event. Since I was awake thinking about it, I thought I could at least write about it.

For those of you familiar with Marie and Serenbe, you know the importance of both family and community in her life. This was the first year I attended the Nygren’s trim-a-tree party, and that feeling was never quite as evident to me as it was last night.
An intimate group of friends and family gathered at the Nygren’s home around 4:30 to help decorate the tree. It was great fun to see the selection of ornaments which ranged from old family heirlooms to ornaments made by their three daughters when they were kids.
At 6:30 we walked down the street to the green for enjoy the lighting of the Serenbe tree, which I will write about in another posting since that was it’s own special event.
When we returned to Marie’s, the real magic began in the kitchen. Several of us helped prepare the arugula salad, bake the muffins and watch Marie put the final touches on the Shepard’s pie. Karen and Marie made the salad, Kara and I put the muffin dough in the tins, while simultaneously Steve moved it all to the oven. Within minutes the kitchen counter transformed to “lots of stuff” all around, people everywhere, salad flying into the bowl to an absolutely perfect meal.

 “The most special part of the evening for me was when everyone gathered in a circle in the kitchen (where else would we be in Marie’s home) and she said a few words before her husband Steve lead us in a lovely prayer. The circle was all considered family, whether you were true family or close friends. To me, this moment encompassed all that Serenbe is and all that the Nygren’s have created within our community, and the real meaning of what the holiday season is all about.”

We ate, we laughed, and we shared memories around the table for hours. Some of us were strangers at the beginning of the evening but in the end we shared a very special time with good friends and family.



August 2009



Style and Soul

Written by , Posted in "serenbe blog", marie nygren, serenbe, Serenbe Farmhouse, southern cooking, Steve Nygren

For me, the two words are integrally intertwined. I feel style is an outward expression of the inner aspects of ourselves, our soul.

From our manner of dress, the way we design our homes, to the food we prepare, each of these gives us ways to express ourselves.
I have always felt that personal style should not depend on the latest craze or fad. 

It is about realizing what feels authentic to you and embracing that with passion.