I came to St. Francis Cottage full of the weariness of the entire week stuffed into my invisible back pack. I began to look forward to my spontaneous staycation the moment I left work. After I made my reservations, I hurried home to grab a few items to toss into my real overnight bag, and set off for Gunbarrel Road. It may seem strange to find an oasis tucked into a corner of the busiest shopping district in Chattanooga. Yet, there it was, this large gray and white bed and breakfast I had found online a few weeks prior. Its simple yet inviting sign pointed up a creamy white driveway, set apart from the neighborhoods surrounding it with tall trees, fencing, cheery yellow daffodils and alluring red lipped tulips.
Soft music met me at the doorway and pulled me inside. I felt I had stumbled out of chaos and non-stop action into a warm, welcoming, secret hideaway. Wallace, the owner and innkeeper, greeted me with a smile and the keys to happiness. He showed me to my room, a spacious gray-blue habitation just perfect for dreaming, with an electric fireplace in the corner, and windows all across the front that gave me a bird’s eye view of the back yard, complete with fruit bushes, an herb garden, outdoor seating, a walking path, and goats. On the dresser, a personalized message was set in pink chalk on a framed surface which read, “Welcome Tabi!” thrilling me to my toes.
I was told that in the evening I could go down for drinks and pumpkin flavored whoopee pies. There was a refrigerator filled with other goodies, a machine for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate making. Another fireplace stood by grandly, surrounded by comfortable chairs, magazines, and wooden (was it bamboo?) end tables. After tasting the delicious pies, I retreated back to the Monarch Room, where I settled in to a California king sized bed, watched a new Netflix original, and drifted off to a night blue sleep.
I awoke to the chirping of early birds, the light peeking at me from around the silky curtains. I could smell breakfast below and voices. I arose quickly and shuffled downstairs in my lounge wear. The couple eating at one of the breakfast tables was jovial and friendly. “This is our third time coming here! We love St. Francis. We were their very first guests almost a year ago.” They had driven up from Florida with their three furry kids, so they resided in the pet-friendly room downstairs, which had its own private entrance. They were savoring the last bites of their breakfast before going out to walk a 5k. “It’s the Rump Run—for colon cancer!” they exclaimed. I chuckled at the play on words.
Glad I was not due for a run that morning, I put my own roomy rump into a nearby seat. Within minutes Nancy, Wallace’s wife, was plating me with a mouth-watering southwestern creation. It was hash browns with caramelized cheese, beans, poached eggs, covered in an avocado sauce. In a word, DELICIOUS. Wallace wanted me to try a pancake as well, so I took a deep breath and inhaled his fluffy wonder, topped off with juicy strawberries and whipped cream.
After these culinary delights I retreated back to my soft bed, where I remained until well after noon, luxuriating in the wonder of a day off in a pampering environment. I was still satisfied from breakfast so I didn’t need lunch that day. Friends came over to join me for some writing and chatter, and they oohed and ahhed at each unique room in the 7 room “cottage”. There was the Cardinal, the Hummingbird, the Bluebird, and more. Each had its own unique color scheme, style, and size. The house is so well-constructed you can’t help but notice the gorgeous rich brown of the wooden floors, the unique rock, marble, and wooden sinks, the creative back splashes, striking rugs, and tasteful bed coverings. There is a fire source in every room. You just feel peaceful, as if Calm were a child that had crawled up into your lap for a nap the moment you took a seat inside. The worries of life begin to melt away from you the longer you sit. My group didn’t want to leave. They lingered over chocolate pie and ice cream, clung to their cups of tea, and sat comfortably in their chairs, only leaving them to skip off excitedly to explore yet another corner of the house before returning again to sit by the warm fire while it rained softly outside.
That night I again sank back into the covers of my butterfly themed room, and awoke again to the sounds of wind and singing birds. I ran a bath for myself in the large garden tub, complete with a pillow and fragrant salts.
Every detail had been thought out for me. Every comfort addressed. I was clean for the day, warm, and refreshed. I went downstairs to enjoy a breakfast casserole, pomegranate juice, and crème brulee French toast. After taking pictures with Wallace and Nancy, the guests, the goats, and even the dogs, I set off for home. The only thing on my mind was when I would be able to return. It won’t be soon enough!
(Special thanks to Caprice Woffard for the photographs.)
What? St. Francis Cottage Bed and Breakfast, 7 rooms of glorious light-filled bed quarters, fireplaces, large windows, tasteful décor, breakfast included in your stay, along with snacks and drinks throughout the day. There is a dining area, lounge area, library/TV/game room. The porch out back is spacious and has several tables. The walking path is almost complete. Snowflake and her sister (the she-goats) come to visit regularly. Wallace and Nancy maintain a 5 star rating online.
Where? 1349 Gunbarrel Rd, Chattanooga TN 37421 (Just minutes from Hamilton Place Mall, a skating rink, restaurants, I-75 freeway, walking paths, and a Walmart shopping center)
Why? One of the region’s best vacation/staycation spots ever! Secluded yet right in the middle of the action. A chance to unwind for a personal getaway, anniversary weekend, corporate retreat, office team-building event, girls night in, family reunion, wedding party venue, birthday gift for your BFF, and more.
How? Book with them online or by calling them directly. Prices are reasonable. Don’t wait to book. Once the word gets out about this gem I can see them having a regular waiting list.
Extras: The innkeepers are friendly, incredible hosts. It is obvious that this is their passion and the fulfillment of a dream. The food is outstanding, healthy, and homemade; the whole place is immaculate and inviting, the details are meant to help you feel pampered and well-taken care of, yet you have privacy and time to sit in quietness and scamper back to town at a moment’s notice.