Port Gibson adds inn, eatery to roster

Published 12:30 am Sunday, June 5, 2011

Former Vicksburg residents Phil and Bobbye Pinnix have opened a new bed and breakfast in Port Gibson.

The business is called Isabella, and it’s on Church Street, the main roadway through the town.

“We are renting rooms, serving food and selling beer,” Phil Pinnix told members of the Vicksburg Kiwanis civic club Tuesday.

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The Pinnixes purchased the 1880s Queen Anne-style home in March 2010, with the idea of turning it into a bed and breakfast and a restaurant. It is named for the last owner of the home, Isabella Persons.

The two have no experience in B&B operations, they said, but saw the home’s potential, describing it as beautiful.

Phil Pinnix is retired from Waring Oil, and Bobbye Pinnix had been a remodeling contractor. After nearly a year of work, their dream of a four-bedroom inn came true.

In addition to overnight accommodations, Isabella offers space for meetings and receptions. Also, lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and dinner by reservations.

Isabella is one of three bed and breakfasts in Port Gibson, a town of about 1,800 people, located about a half hour south of Vicksburg. The others are the Bernheimer House on Walnut Street and Oak Square Plantation on Church Street.

Port Gibson, chartered as a town in 1803 and first occupied in 1729, is Mississippi’s third-oldest settlement. It was the site of several clashes during the Civil War, including the Battle of Port Gibson on May 1, 1863. Many of the town’s historic buildings survived because, it is said, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant thought the town too beautiful to burn.