Big Canoe – Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Big Canoe lake

Big Canoe
Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Last week we used a friends home in Big Canoe for a couple of days for a family reunion and I was reminded what a nice community Big Canoe is.  It is a beautiful mountain community with 8,000 acres, 3 or 4 lakes and 22 miles of trails.  A self sustaining park like community only one hour north of Atlanta GA.

Lake at Big Canoe
Lake at Big Canoe

Now Big Canoe is not officially a retirement community but they have everything say a Del Webb Community has and more. There are over 100 clubs in their activity center building as well a gym, pool, craft room, etc.  Several restaurants are in the community.

We happened to be there during their annual Oktoberfest which I really enjoyed. Happened to run in to Margie and Denis Casey the publishers of Real Estate Scorecard which just announced that Big Canoe won their 2014 Bliss Award for the Best Mountain Community of the year.  Check out their scorecard report on Big Canoe.

Oktoberfest at Big Canoe
Oktoberfest at Big Canoe

The residents come from all over the country and the world to live in Big Canoe. I don’t know if it’s one of a kind, but I have never seen anything like it.  Is has great appeal for everyone.

Kathy my sister in law took her grand kids to the lake to fish and they (we all did) loved it. During the Summer there are canoes and paddle boats and on the larger Lake Sconti there is a pontoon boat marina.Fishing at big canoe

Fishing at big canoe

Our friends David and Tina took us for a ride up the 1.7 jeep trail crossing several streams and climbing boulders to get to two waterfalls. On the trail there was an historic moonshine still and a cabin.

Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe
Historic cabin on the jeep trail at Big Canoe

My wife Mary Ann and some family members went over to the Georgia Apple Festival in nearby Ellijay.  The small town of Jasper is the closest but other small towns nearby too.  Big Canoe is it’s own small town with it’s own zip code.

It you want something different than the large 55+ communities, then you may want to visit Big Canoe as it is an excellent place to live and retire.  This picture I took after our dinner at the Black Bear Pub at the Big Canoe Clubhouse and walking out to the deck overlooking Lake Sconti. It is a couple holding hands looking out over the peaceful lake. Now if that’s not a great retirement photo, I don’t know what is.

Big Canoe lake
Big Canoe lake

 

Resources:
**The official Big Canoe Website
**Margie Casey’s Real Estate Scorecard has reviews and wonderful photos of many top planned communities, most in small towns.
** North Georgia Retirement

Small Town Retirement Options – Serenbe Community in Georgia

Bosch house at Serenbe Community

Yesterday my wife Mary Ann and our neighbors Scott and Dawn set out to visit the HGTV Green House for this year.   We drove from our Johns Creeks Georgia home down to the southside of Atlanta, then another 20 miles out in the countryside to the Serenbe Community.

From their web site:  “Serenbe is a 1,000 acre community located under 30 minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It is a national model for the future of balanced development in the U.S.— focusing on land preservation, agriculture, energy efficiency, green building, workability, high density building, arts and culture, and community living for multiple generations. With a projected 70% of future building occurring in the greenfield,  Serenbe demonstrates how urban development models can succeed on the edge of a metropolis while preserving a vast majority of the greenspace.  Serenbe’s ultimate goal is to demonstrate how development can accommodate the need for housing with minimal impact on nature—Serenbe’s land plan call for a preservation of at least 70% of the acreage, while accommodating as many or more people as traditional subdivision-style development, which would disturb nearly 80%.

I snapped some photos of our visit that will tell  the story.

The Stables Market at Serenbe
The Stables Market at Serenbe

We stopped first at the Stables Market where venders were setting up their wares.  This was a real horse stables.

Cutest Donkeys
Cutest Donkeys

Outside the Stables Market were the cutest donkeys.

Serenbe Farms Market
Serenbe Farms Market

Next we visit the Serenbe Farms Saturday morning market.  Mary Ann picked up a nice bunch of organic beets which she will roast and make a salad out of the top green leaves.  Serenbe Farms provides the three community restaurants with fresh fruits and vegetables and makes them available to the community also.

Interesting small town retirement homes
Interesting small town retirement homes

Next we walk along the side walk toward the village and past some interesting homes that could be someone’s small town retirement home.  Wild flowers especially Brown Eyed Susans were in bloom eveywhere.

Townhomes in Serenbe hamlet
Townhomes in Serenbe hamlet

In the village, or hamlet as they call it, Mary Ann window shops while I spot some townhomes across the street.  So this would be “city living in the country”, just the opposite of the Doraville song that says “county living in the city”.  lol.

Serenbe Community main street

Further down the street even more progressive looking homes.   So one side of the main street has shops with residents over them and this is the view of the other side.

Blue Eyed Susan Bakeshop
Blue Eyed Susan Bakeshop

We decide for lunch we will go with the less formal Blue Eyed Daisey Bakeshop over the two more formal restaurants, The Hill and the Farmhouse.

Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop

Inside the Blue Eyed Daisey Bakeshop it is quite busy.  I have the veggie burger and Mary Ann gets a chicken wrap.    There bakery case is full and we see they will be featured on the TV shop Cupcake Wars this month.

Our stop was going to be the HGTV Green House but we are told you need a ticket and the next time available is going to be 4pm.  However we find two more interesting homes to see the inside of.  We went inside The Bosch Net Zero home pictured at the top of the post. Net zero means it generates all of its energy. In the Bosch House I see this clothes washer that uses only $16 of energy PER YEAR.  How is that possible? The Bosch house was fully decorate by Ballard Designs and was beautiful.

Victoria Home
Victoria Home

Next we see who diversified the homes at Serenbe are as we go into a four level Victorian home.  It is huge.  This is not a retirement home!

Top of Stairway
Top of Stairway

However I have to show you the shot I took from the top of the stair case on the fourth floor.  Don’t get dizzy!  The fourth floor was a Karaoke studio.

However we did a little driving around the Serenbe Community and it has smaller homes and cottages that would be a great small town retirement home.  I will leave you with a few photos I took of these.

Great Retirement Homes
Great Retirement Homes

 

 

Great Retirement Home

 

 

 

 

Retirement Home
Retirement Home

More about Serenbe Community and 55+ communities in Georgia