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Shadowlawn Bed & Breakfast

The Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast is a two-story historic building in downtown Columbus, Mississippi. The bed and breakfast has five rooms available for guests to reserve. Built in 1848, the property was converted into a bed and breakfast in the early 2000s and currently serves as one of the only "upper-end" lodging options in the city. Weddings, catering, and other venues are possible to have at Shadowlawn. The owner of The Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast also owns another company that goes by the name of "A Bride Idea," which allows her to help guests host and properly plan for their special occasions. As a florist, she does a lot of the outdoor upkeep to maintain the outside of the property.


Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast is a two-story 1848 Greek Revival mansion with unique white pillars, latticing, and decks. The building rests in the center of Columbus, Mississippi. Despite its relatively urban surroundings, there are enough trees and space between the various nearby homesteads to ensure that guests do not feel cramped. In fact, the grounds of the property are surrounded by trees, bushes, and other greenery. An old-fashioned brick fence encloses Shadowlawn. Recently, additional statues, arches, and lighting were incorporated as part of the bed and breakfast's exterior landscaping. Private parking is available within the gates of the property.

Inside of Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast, visitors will find five different guest rooms. The Master King Suite is the only accommodation located on the first floor, and it is the room of the highest quality in the bed and breakfast. The other four units are upstairs: Victorian King Suite, Fleur-de-Lis King Suite, French Double Suite, and the English Rose Garden Suite. All of the rooms have private bathrooms except for the English Rose Garden Suite, which has an adjoining bathroom. Other general amenities of the inn include WiFi, decorated towels, refrigerators, distinct bedding, 14-foot tall ceilings with ceiling fans, air conditioning and heating, iron with ironing board, hairdryers, and multiple different kinds of soaps and other toiletries. An exercise room is available on-site for guest use.

Additional services may be solicited from Shadowlawn, such as a licensed occupational therapist (must have a two-day notice, and services are not free) and flowers. Burnette Avakian, who owns the Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast, is a florist. Other unique elements of the property include complimentary water cups in each of the rooms for taking medication, as well as the clocks and silver that Burnette has collected over the years.

Burnette is also responsible for the cooking at the inn. Mostly, this entails the breakfasts she serves, though she occasionally does catering for weddings or other events. Her breakfasts typically include dishes such as Monte Cristo sandwiches, souffles, strawberry soup, fresh fruit cups, and croque madame. These dishes and starters are supplemented with juice, coffee, and tea.

The Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast is open year-round, though Burnette leaves the inn with a manager during two months of the year so that she can visit with her family. The inn's busiest month is in April, due to the "Spring Pilgrimage" that takes place in Columbus, Mississippi each year. This pilgrimage is a city-wide tour of fifteen or so homes. Other nearby attractions include the Mississippi University for Women (two blocks away) and the University of Mississippi a few hours to the northwest, primarily for the college sports they offer.


The woman who owns Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast, Burnette Avakian, desires for her guests to feel the historic nature of the property during the entirety of their visit. She happily shared that a guest said, "The furnishings look like a museum." Others have commented that they felt like they "stepped back in time" upon entering the building. The old foundations of the building are still firmly in place, giving Shadowlawn a "vintage feel," according to Burnette. Generally speaking, guest reviews mention Burnette's hospitality and gourmet cooking, as well as the rich history that the building contains.

One guest left the following review for the bed and breakfast: "Beautiful on outside and inside. Amazing antiques and silver. Hundreds of clocks. Breakfast is delicious and served in the formal dining room on fine china and sterling silver." Another stated, "It is a very beautiful home. If you are an antique lover this will be a joy. Burnett was very accommodating to my partner and I. The breakfast is wonderful, I personally recommend the spinach frittata. Our host even went so far as to invite my 12 yr old niece to a lovely breakfast in a very well appointed room. Burnett helped create a nice memory for all of us."

In addition to the lodging aspects of Shadowlawn, the property doubles as a location for venues such as weddings. Burnette manages a separate business called "A Bride Idea," which helps people plan their weddings at the Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast. Catering, flowers, rental services for tables and chairs, planning, and coordinating are all services offered by A Bride Idea. Burnette explains that she wants her brides to have "exactly what they want." One happy bride said, " Burnette, I just wanted to thank you for all of the work you have put into this wedding for us."

Columbus, Mississippi is known for its Historic District (where the Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast is located), the Mississippi University for Women, and the air force base within the city limits. There are many shops and a mall that visitors can visit for recreational purposes.


The Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast was originally constructed in 1848 by a man named Benjamin Catley. Due to the fact that the surrounding landscape was mostly swampland and filled with marshes, Benjamin was able to purchase the entire city block from the Franklin School for a mere $9.00 (the equivalent of $297 in 2020).

Since the initial purchase, ten families have lived in the home. The property underwent various renovations in the 1920s under the management of Mr. and Mrs. McGahey. The home was modernized according to the standards of the time, and Mrs. McGahey redid the plaster on the walls, the fireplaces, and the flooring downstairs. Much of the marble decoration was also added during that time. At some point, a car crashed into the side of the lot, dealing significant damage to the northeast side of the porch. The initial construction there—made of wood—was replaced with marble in the aftermath of the accident.

In 2001, a woman by the name of Burnette Avakian purchased the property with hopes of starting a bed and breakfast. It had been a desire of hers previously, though her husband was less certain about the idea. When their daughter—who lived nearby—recommended the building, she was able to persuade her father to do it. Burnette and her husband converted the home into a bed and breakfast in addition to it serving as their private residence. Burnette has since become a widow, but their decision to move to Mississippi to manage the inn has caused her to have the means of providing for herself in the absence of her husband. She is grateful for the opportunity to work in the lodging industry and has mostly enjoyed the experience.

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1024 College Street
Columbus, Mississippi 39701
United States


Bed and Breakfast


Burnette Avakian

Owned Since
4.8 (33 Reviews)
4.8/5 33 Reviews
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