Surrounded by the peaceful pastoral settings that have provided creative stimulation to generations of artists ever since John James Audubon painted its prolific birdlife in 1821, the community of St. Francisville is conducive to a relaxed lifestyle combining history with modern amenities. The safe downtown Main Street community is unique in its comingling of commercial and residential properties, and as the shops and businesses close for the evening, the bricked sidewalks come alive with strolling residents visiting with neighbors across rose-covered picket fences. The entire downtown area is a National Register-listed Historic District, with many beautifully preserved 19th-century homes and churches overlooking the Mississippi River.

The surrounding Tunica Hills region offers unparalleled recreational opportunities in unspoiled wilderness areas—hiking, bicycling, birding, hunting—and in town the sports park has ballfields, tennis courts and challenging off-road bike paths. Special events bring the community together to celebrate its history and heritage: the spring pilgrimage commemorating Audubon’s stay, birding and biking festivals, a Civil War re-enactment, garden symposiums, arts festivals in the oak-shaded downtown park, and a popular Christmas weekend with seasonal entertainments, parade and great shopping. Besides art galleries and boutique shops, St. Francisville offers fine restaurants both upscale and casual, plus B&B accommodations in everything from historic plantations to townhouses and lakeside resorts. St. Francisville is a popular year-round tourist destination, with three state historic sites and other antebellum plantations and gardens open for tours. There’s also a small hospital with round-the-clock emergency coverage, and some of the best public schools in the state, beginning in pre-K.

Soon the longest cable-stayed bridge in the country will link St. Francisville’s rolling hills with the sugar-cane country around New Roads across the Mississippi, where the oxbow lake called False River offers an easy water-centered lifestyle. Just to the south of St. Francisville is Zachary, a bustling fast-growing community with a state-of-the-art hospital, good schools and plenty of big stores and restaurants. To the east is East Feliciana, its predominantly rural landscape broken by picturesque small towns like Jackson and Clinton. For everyone from families with children to boomers retiring to quieter lifestyles, the friendly St. Francisville area offers just what you’re looking for.