ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (BR Proud) — Small southern towns are known for their hospitality, especially during the holiday season. In this week’s feature of Destination Louisiane, we visit St. Francisville where a variety of locally owned businesses add to the charm of the small Louisiana town.
Since 1978, The St. Francisville Inn has been a focal point of East and West Feliciana parishes. The bed and breakfast recently underwent a massive renovation and now stands as one of the highest rated inns in the South, attracting visitors from all over the world.
According to the Inn’s co-owner Brandon Branch, St. Francisville epitomizes what southern hospitality is all about. “The first time I came to St. Francisville was to look at buying a piece of property here, and the city just embraced us — the whole town did,” Branch said.
Today, the town of St. Francisville is quickly gaining a reputation as the go-to spot for holiday cheer. “It’s like literally coming to visit a Hallmark movie,” Branch said. “Its just a magical little town.”
Branch knows a thing or two about the South. Born and raised in Washington Parish, Branch was a cast member of “Southern Charm Savannah” on Bravo for two seasons. “I lived in Savannah for about 20 years, and I wanted to move back home and I always had a dream of doing this,” Branch said.
About 40 miles from Baton Rouge, Branch now plays host to people near and far with the goal of making visitors feel like they never left their home. “Here at the Inn, I just want you to walk in the door – like having a great hug,” Branch said. “I wanted the epitome of a fabulous Southern home.”
St. Francisville is absent of big box retailers and instead, the streets are filled with boutiques focused on selling locally-made Louisiana products.
“A lot of people come here and spend the weekend and they never get in their car,” Branch said. “All the little shops are fantastic. There are great boutiques to go and find unusual gifts.”
One of the most famous boutiques in St. Francisville is Grandmother’s Buttons. According to the website, Grandmother’s Button’s was founded in 1985 by a woman with the “charm of a Southern Belle,” who took her passion for art and buttons and made a thriving business.
“Each piece has its own antique button that has its own story to tell,” said sales manager Kristy Small. Buttons are gathered from all over the world and repurposed into earrings, necklaces and other handmade heirloom jewelry. Artisans work out of the second floor handcrafting signature pieces that are routinely sent to retailers in Canada and Japan.
Branch also recommended A Way Down South, a relatively new shop that sells traditional Louisiana gifts, plus pickled items and salsas, vintage candies and an abundance of ice cream.
Amanda Deville, owner of A Way Down South, said she saw the need for an ice cream parlor in St. Francisville and wanted to incorporate that into the same footprint as her boutique. “We have tons of flavors of ice cream here and the kids love to come after school and get their favorite flavors,” said Deville.
Another popular location for unique gifts is Birdman Coffee. Outside of being a traditional coffee shop with fresh baked pastries and breakfast, the shop also features various art by owner, Lynn Wood. Guests will also find various handmade bird sculptures produced by the Wood’s father, whom she named the shop after.
Branch recommended either a day trip or weekend stay to St. Francisville, where guests will likely find something for everyone on their holiday shopping list.