Serenity Plantation

Decatur County, Georgia1,137± ACRES

Historic Hunting Plantation on 37,500 acre Lake Seminole

Just Listed
  • 1,137 +/- acre Recreational Plantation in Decatur County, Georgia.
  • Nearly one mile of direct frontage on famed Lake Seminole.
  • Originally part of 26,000 acre Southlands Plantation founded by Herbert Stoddard in 1935.
  • Founded 15 years ago and managed by Tall Timbers Board Member. Three landowners in 87 years.
  • Situated where Dougherty Plain meets Curry Hill, one of the first ridges starting the Appalachian Mountains.
  • 200+/- feet of elevation change overlooking 37,500 acre Lake Seminole.
  • Views that will never change, since the opposite shoreline is forever protected within Silver Lake WMA.
  • Meticulously managed with fire for propagation of wild game. Owner estimates at least 45-50 coveys of wild quail.
  • Boone & Crocket record bucks harvested on adjoining properties. Owner doesn’t personally hunt deer but actively manages herd.
  • Two proven ‘plant and flood’ duck ponds (4 acres and 6 acres).
  • Eight + blinds in each duck pond with retriever ramps on water blinds .
  • Range of species harvested per pond from Ringnecks and Teal to Gadwall. and Wood Ducks
  • Various additional waterfowl species in adjoining Lake Seminole, along with top Canvasback hunting in America.
  • Two fish ponds (one stocked).
  • Abundant wild turkey population.
  • Exceptional pole timber operation begun as part of International Paper model forest.
  • Irrigated orchards boasting 31 pecan trees and 38 fruit trees comprising 11 varieties.
  • 2,700 sf furnished, 3-bedroom lodge with grand fireplace.
  • 12’ x 40’ Pool (heated in winter), spacious garage and lake view gazebo.
  • Shop/office complex barndominium - complete with a master bedroom, living room/dining room/kitchen, two bathrooms, and sizeable dorm room (sleeps 4 +).
  • Concreted, covered drive-through as part of shop.
  • Six-run, partially covered dog kennel with separate septic tank.
  • Equipment barns of 32’ x 60’ and two smaller barns near shop.
  • 32’ x 36’ barn with own well and electricity on western end of property.
  • All equipment included.
  • 30 miles of 376 miles of Lake Seminole shoreline shared with just 2 other private landowners.
  • Downtown Bainbridge - 20 minutes away - “Sister City” to Thomasville. Completely revitalized downtown.
  • World-class fishing - ranked in the top 10 of the best bass lakes in the United States.
  • Border with Faceville Landing Park to conveniently launch boat or meet guides.
  • Paved roads on either end of farm. Lake Seminole to the north and two excellent neighbors to the south.
  • Butlers Creek in center of farm with constant flow capable of filling duck pond in 48 hours.
  • Located just 16 miles from Bainbridge, GA for dining and shopping; 39 miles from Tallahassee, FL, and 52 miles from Thomasville, GA.
  • Consistently managed with prescribed fire for wild game since 1937.
  • 30 miles of the 376-mile shoreline shared with just two other private landowners.
  • Borders 5,700+ acre Southlands and “Who’s Who” of hunting plantations.

Strategic lakefront portion of the original 26,000 acre Southlands that Herbert Stoddard himself assembled in 1935!

Chosen by Stoddard for its wildlife, timber and diversity, this area along Curry Hill and the Flint River is unique to the world

Serenity Plantation boasts 1,137 +/- acres on Lake Seminole in Decatur County, Georgia. This is an exceptional shooting plantation with a history and story told “internationally.” It was put together by none other than the South’s most influential legendary conservationist and co-founder of Tall Timber’s Research Station - Herbert Stoddard himself - in 1935 as part of the 26,000-acre Southlands Plantation tract. It later found even more acclaim as the “Southlands Experiment Forest” owned by International Paper, who utilized advanced genetics as well as state-of-the-art planting and silvicultural techniques for superior stand quality and growth. Most recently the property has enjoyed the combination of these two aspects of its heritage under the ownership of a Tall Timbers board member who expertly managed the land for both wildlife and timber simultaneously. Today the plantation offers not only outstanding hunting but also features a unique high-quality timber program. This is one exceptional forest and game-rich property.

"These 1,140 acres overlooking both Lake Seminole and its confluence with the Flint River are the signature parcel of the once 26,000-acre Southlands, originally put together by Herbert Stoddard himself back in 1935!" - Jon Kohler

Bordering Lake Seminole Recreation Area for almost three and a half miles makes this a year-round recreational property and a place for family and friends to gravitate to regardless of the season. At 37,500 acres, Lake Seminole is ranked as one of the top bass fishing lakes in America and plays host to at least five bass tournaments each year. Fishing is also outstanding for other species including bream, crappie, catfish and more. Of the 376 miles of shoreline, 30+ miles here are shared with just two other private landowners. Faceville Landing Park borders the property for convenient boat access, or even better, a place to meet seasoned guides with family and friends.

"Herbert Stoddard was one of the most influential conservationists in history. He founded Tall Timbers Research Station and put together the lands that would be Southlands Experiment Forest. Like Tall Timbers, this was a "demonstration forest," where landowners could learn about the latest techniques." - Jon Kohler

The diversity and abundance of wildlife first attracted Herbert Stoddard to this location, and today, after 90 years of exemplary land stewardship for wild game habitat,  he would be very well pleased with its current state. Owing to a consistent burn regimen and like-minded neighbors, the hunting here is better than what Stoddard saw. In fact, across the region, Tall Timbers will tell you that, on well-managed lands which follow their prescriptions, nowadays we find ourselves in the “glory days” of wild quail hunting.  While the current owner has had the privilege to serve on the Board of Tall Timbers (and still serves on three committees), he has had access to the best, most up-to-date knowledge ever assembled due to the culmination of 66 years-worth of intensive research. Today, according to the landowner, there are at least 45 - 50 wild coveys on the property and six quail courses with feed trails connecting almost 40 protected forage thickets which are fed weekly. Adjacent properties are sizeable and owned by like-minded neighbors who also manage intensively for wildlife, thereby producing a vast habitat landscape with superior genetics and reduced predation.

“One of the things that we've always tried to do here is manage for the optimal intersection of both timber and wildlife. There are three things that you need for wild quail. First and foremost, you need habitat. Next you need predictable feed on a regular basis so that they can spend as little time as possible off a nest or exposed to predators. And third you need to have some sort of a predator control program. And all three of those focus areas have been in practice since we started developing the farm in 2009.” – Tim Pirrung, landowner, Serenity Plantation

What Stoddard didn’t see here was whitetail deer in the quantity and quality we have today. That is actually a good thing, since the absence of local native (small) deer led to reintroductions of a much larger and more genetically-improved strain of bucks and does. Therefore, in this region south of Bainbridge, just as at the Worth County Sportsman’s Club in Worth County, we have prior sportsmen to thank for importing superior deer. While quail may be the “Prince of Gamebirds” in Southwest Georgia in 2024, the Whitetail buck reigns supreme for many. Deer achieving B&C record book status have been harvested nearby. Seeing mature bucks in the 140/150 B&C range is not uncommon. While at  Serenity the current landowner doesn’t personally hunt deer, he and his land manager have experience managing herds for the optimal 1:1 buck to doe ratio and so arrange for does to be harvested each year and young bucks to be allowed to mature. We have photos from adjoining properties as well as testimony from neighboring landowner Walter Hatchett attesting that Serenity would make an exceptional trophy deer property  simply by converting some of the quail brood areas into food plots and by feeding protein.

Waterfowl hunting is outstanding both on the plantation and adjoining Lake Seminole. There are two proven “plant and flood” duck ponds, encompassing 4 acres and 6 acres respectively and featuring at least eight blinds each, including convenient retriever ramps in the water blinds. Lake Seminole itself is one of the premier waterfowl destinations in the South. In fact, with regards to Canvasback hunting, it may be the best in the nation. Wild turkeys abound. It is not uncommon to see or hear as many as eight gobblers on a morning hunt and to harvest at least one tom in the 20-22 lb. range each season. Turkeys can regularly be observed from the house as well.  As Tall Timbers CEO Bill Palmer told the landowner, “You built a helluva blind!”

Southlands was considered the pride of International Paper's once 12,000,000+ acre empire and enjoyed world renown as "Southlands Experiment Forest." The knowledge gained here continues to influence forestry practices and land stewardship worldwide. It's no coincidence that today, Serenity is well-known for sustainably growing the most valuable forest products. As one would expect, this isn’t your ordinary stand of timber. The genetics here are amazing. In fact, this property specializes in growing the highest value and caliber of timber: utility poles. Several past sales have earned $80 a ton for 70-foot trees; the poles were so long that a chase vehicle with flashing light had to follow the log truck, and the weight per tree was so heavy that the trucks were less than half full. Producing this caliber of timber is no easy feat and takes several decades to manage such a rotation. A number of stands on Serenity contain such poles in current inventory.

 “You can’t swing a dead cat on Serenity and not hit a pole” - Serenity’s forester since 2009

The plantation also features not one, but two fish ponds (one stocked) spanning 1.2 acres and 1 acre respectively. The incredible views at Serenity Plantation will never change, since the opposite shoreline is forever protected within Silver Lake WMA. The plantation here is renowned for its diverse topography ranging from lightly undulating quail woods in the western flat land to hardwood bottoms and natural springs adorning expansive ravines on the eastern portion, while steep heads add to the area’s natural beauty. Steep heads are deep ravines that frequently occur in upland sandhill or clay hill habitats and can be found up and down each of the rivers that feed into Lake Seminole. The higher edge of the property lies along Curry Hill, where one can expect up to 200 feet of elevation change. This is actually the beginning of the Appalachian Mountain chain and was aptly named by Hernando DeSoto when he came through here in 1539.

While DeSoto and his Conquistadors sought fortunes of Gold here, and Ponce de Leon was searching for the “Fountain of Youth,” according to the late historian E.E. Calloway each of the Spaniards may have had a better chance of finding the “Garden of Eden.” Calloway posited that the Flint River is actually the Gihon River mentioned in Genesis, one of the four rivers that flowed into the Garden of Eden (see illustration). He makes a pretty good argument in his book.

Regardless, this is certainly an amazing area with  some of the greatest variety of trees found anywhere in North America. International Paper sought out this property because it is one of the few places where all four species of pine grow together naturally.

“I will tell you exactly how highly regarded Southlands is. In 2009, we helped a client buy 165,000 acres from International Paper just so he could own the gem…Southlands. There was no other way to own it. Our job was to quickly resell most of the balance, which we did in short order. It was the largest timberland sale in the South for eight years.” - Jon Kohler

In the words of Walter Hatchett, “The better soils you have, the better quality of wildlife you're going to have and the better quality of crops and browse you're going to grow. The type of soils found in the Red Hills and here in Decatur County will grow just about anything.” The same particularly holds true for Serenity Plantation. Loaded with exceptional soils and agricultural abilities, the property touts irrigated orchards comprising 31 pecan trees and 38 total fruit and citrus trees embracing 11 varieties. The orchards, too, make this property a year-round family destination, since a drive through them on the way to the house offers up seasonable, delectable produce at various times of the year.

"Growing up with a farming background, I love seeing the beautiful, diverse farms in this area…whether tomatoes, pecan groves, trees, nurseries, sod fields, peanut fields, corn fields, cattle farms, or timber farms." - Walter Hatchett

Since there is no conservation easement on the premises, Serenity offers the full range of options to a new landowner. This property is a “textbook” example of many conservation opportunities and programs to help landowners monetize today’s development value while ensuring tomorrow's agriculture and recreation.

The highly attractive and functional home sits on a bluff  at least 70 feet above Lake Seminole with a beautiful and commanding view of sunsets daily over the lake. It is designed for the care of (and use by) sportsmen, for entertaining around the grand fireplace, for potentially hosting catered events of size, and for world-class views of the lake with just the right mix of privacy. The large 2,700 square-foot main dwelling with outdoor gazebo is meticulously designed to blend seamlessly with its surroundings and be impervious to weather. Connected to the house by covered breezeway one finds a detached and spacious garage, featuring a convenient full bathroom, separate storage room and a versatile wet clothing/game hanging/dog wash area next to a commercial steel table with a two-compartment sink for catering parties or cleaning game. A 12’ x 40’  heated pool overlooking Lake Seminole completes the scene. This home offers the perfect retreat for relaxation and entertainment.

As one would expect, a well-equipped shop/barndominium supports the property. The spacious shop and office complex barndominium comes complete with a master bedroom, living room/dining room/kitchen, two full bathrooms, utility room, and a dorm room which sleeps four or more. Outside, a concreted drive-through and six-run, partially-covered dog kennel with separate septic tank provide convenience and functionality for days afield.

The property boasts a 32’ x 60’ barn and two smaller barns at the shop, along with a 32’ x 36’ barn with its own 4”well and electricity on the western end of the property almost three miles away. There is ample space for equipment storage.

"Having lived in this area for approximately 12 years, my wife and I love downtown Bainbridge and the surrounding area. The shops are great (according to my wife and daughter). There are great restaurants and a vibrant historic downtown that always provide fun community events for all." - Walter Hatchett

All of this is conveniently located outside Bainbridge, Georgia. If one hasn't been to Bainbridge lately, he or she will be pleasantly surprised to see one of the most dynamic, recapitalized downtowns in the South. Restaurants (including  a brewpub and award-winning fine dining), boutique shops, and revitalization make this one of Georgia's best small towns and earn it the title of "Sister City" to Thomasville. The Decatur County Airport lies just 25 minutes away, and its runway, formerly built for an airbase, accommodates all  private jets. Drive time to the Tallahassee airport from Serenity takes 40 minutes.


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