bout the Area

 

St. Francisville is an historic and charming little town nestled in the beautiful Tunica Hills of West Feliciana Parish, well-known for its abundance and variety of flora and fauna that inspired artist-naturalist, John James Audubon, who painted many of his "Birds of America" series while living in the area during the 1820's.

The region was settled by English planters in the 1700's. Many of the original plantation and antebellum homes and gardens are still standing, restored and open to the public year round. There is alot to enjoy for the history and antiquity buff, as well as nature trails, biking and exceptional birdwatching.

Shadetree Inn is conveniently located at the edge of the historic district within walking distance of quaint shops and excellent restaurants. You will see many lovely pre-civil war homes along the way.

Situated on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, St. Francisville is one-half hour north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capitol, only two hours north of New Orleans, and one hour south of Natchez, Miss. A short car-ferry ride across the Mississipi River takes you to the lovely French community, New Roads, boasting wonderful shopping, antiqueing and restaurants.

Travel writer Susie Dent wrote this article about the area:

Things to Do in Saint Francisville:

In the historic town of St Francisville, located in the West Feliciana Parish of Louisiana, you will find that there is an abundance of activities to keep you entertained in the local area. From tours around the plantations and antebellum homes set up by English planters over 300 years ago to bird watching, nature trails and bike rides, there is a lot to enjoy, whatever you are looking to get out of your break.

St. Francisville for the History Enthusiast:

Those with an interest in the history of the region will have a fantastic time exploring the old plantations and their gardens that were first built by settlers from across the Atlantic in 1700. Many of the original homes are still standing and after being restored are open to the public all year round. The West Feliciana Society Museum, located on 11757 Ferdinand Street is a great place to visit before you tour the plantation houses to get an overview of the history of the entire region. Here you will also be able to pick up a ‘Walk Through History’ brochure of the areas cultural and architectural hotspots.

A highly recommended historical plantation house to visit is Oakley House, a West Indies plantation home featuring a museum, trails, herb gardens, slave quarters, a barn (complete with animals, and excellent guided tours. Be aware, however, that Oakley House is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The Best Bird Watching in Louisiana:

St. Francisville is famous for being home to some of the finest bird watching in the whole of the state of Lousiana. One of the best places to do this is the Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, located just a few miles outside of St. Francisville. The refuge was set up to conserve and manage the wetland forests for aquatic resources, native plants and most importantly of all, the wonderful array of migratory birds that are common to the St Francisville region at certain times of the year. The refuge is run by a number of volunteers who promote public awareness of the importance of resources at the refuge and is well worth a visit at all times of the year.

Afton Villa Gardens:

Afton Villa has been owned by a succession of interesting people who have owned it for over a century and a half. Every resident has contributed something to its amazing beauty and the story of all of their lives is found in the grounds giving a walk around them a haunting, unsettling aura. Could this be the most haunted place in Louisiana? The journey along the path that’s lined with a breathtaking archway of live oak trees for a mile and a half is enough of an introduction to prove that Afton Villa is a special place. Unfortunately the main building was destroyed by a fire in 1963, but the gardens remain intact.

Port Hudson State Historic Site:

Port Hudson historic site is just a 10 minute drive south of St. Francisville and is another great place for a day trip. The 899 acre State Commemorative Area marks one of the most important battlefields of the Civil War. It is deignated as a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior and is known as having the longest siege in American military history. Port Hudson is also famous for the key role that African-American troops played in the battle against the confederate states.

Cycling and Motorcycling in and around St.Francisville:

With the winding roads and picturesque, quiet roads, St. Francisville is a popular place for both road cyclists and mountain bikers. Brave mountain bikers are often found pushing their courage to the limit at the West Feliciana Parish Recreation and Sports Park. Among the routes is one of the most notorious in Louisiana, called simply ‘The Beast’. If you’re going to take on the challenge of this route you would be well advised to ensure you and your bike have the proper insurance before hurtling down the steep, rocky track. You would also be wise to have proper cover for your vehicle if you decide to take on one of the long and winding routes popular with motorcyclists and road cyclists too. If you aren’t prepared for the challenge the extremity of the conditions can get the better of you. However, there are also a number of gentler option for beginner riders.

So there you have it. Some of the finest options for activities in and around St. Francisville to make sure you get the most out of your stay.

 

For more information, see the recent article in the New York Times and visit Country Roads Magazine and www.stfrancisville.us .

We have created our own Guest Guide for our guests which we keep in each of the suites. For a copy, click "Guest Guide".