The parish lines of Livingston extend from the pine forests near St. Helena to the outskirts of Hammond and down into the swamps along Lake Maurepas. That’s a lot of ground to cover once you cross the Amite River from Baton Rouge.
Whether your plans are to scour the many antique markets in downtown Denham Springs, take the boat out to the Prop Stop to party with your bros, or go tubing along the sandy banks of the Amite with the kids, there’s plenty to fill a day just east of the Capital City.
From left to right: Antique shopping on the streets of Denham Springs; A treasure trove of finds on the ground floor of Crowder.; Meticulously curated objects at The Gilded Sparrow.
IF YOU LIKE TO DIG:
Crowder Antiques 114 N. Range Ave. Two floors of this old hotel are crammed with furniture, paintings, midcentury decor, tchotchkes and vintage clothing. The second floor is positively daunting, with room after room stuffed with finds.
The ticket booth at the entrance still stands, and the antique armoires lean precariously on the sloped floor of the theater in this must-visit space. On stage: a showcase of iron farming tools. Hanging from the ceiling above the balcony seats: a lifesize papier-mâché Superman, for some reason.
Benton Brothers Antique Mall 115 N. Range Ave. Find it on Facebook From the outside, it looks like the one building on Range Avenue that was built after the ’50s. Inside, it’s a trove of grandiose armoires, china cabinets and buffets, countless glassware sets, trinkets, ornaments and oddities.
IF YOU NEED A CURATOR:
The Restored Home 111 N. Range Ave. Find it on Facebook This shop’s white walls and shelves of relaxing bath products bring about an instant sigh of relief. Browse the old wooden furniture redone in chalky white, the rustic farmhouse tables, the wire baskets and wall art with inspirational quotes, and you’re practically in Joanna Gaines heaven.
The Gilded Sparrow 219 N. Range Ave. thegildedsparrow.net OK, Joanna Gaines heaven might have multiple locations on Range Avenue. This shop is almost immaculate in its white color palette. Faux distressed furniture, wrought-iron bed frames, pillows and throws in natural linen fabrics—there’s plenty to ooh and ahh over here.
On left: Window shopping on the streets of the Denham Springs Antique Village.
On right: A collection of quirky finds at the Antique Village’s Doug’s Furniture Restoration and Repair.
SCAVENGER HUNT Get lost in the cavernous shops of the Denham Springs Antique Village
Make sure you have comfortable shoes and a sharp eye, because antique shopping on Range Avenue can be exhausting. Get the complete list of shops at denhamspringsantiquedistrict.net.
ROUND OUT THE SHOPPING TRIP Cafe du Jour at The Whistle Stop (180 E. Railroad Ave.; find it on Facebook) is a small cottage next to the train tracks with a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. Try the turkey sandwich with raspberry jam or one of the pressed sandwiches with Italian meats on veggie bread. On the opposite corner, browse the aisles of Cavalier House Books (100 N. Range Ave.; cavalierhousebooks.com), or take a risk with one of its “Blind Date” books wrapped in paper on the shelves by the checkout counter. Proceeds from those mystery books help out a local animal shelter.
MORE TO THE EAST
Go outside • Starting this month, brightly colored inner tubes can be seen drifting down the Amite River just north of Denham Springs. Tiki Tubing books four-hour trips on summer weekends, where families and groups of friends coast along the water trailed by floating ice chests of beer.
• Tickfaw State Park offers an easy getaway into the wilderness with a campsite, cabins for rent, multiple trails and paddling routes along the Tickfaw River under the shade of cypress and tupelo.
Unique finds • If you have access to a boat, you also have the only means of access to the Prop Stop, a raucous and isolated bar near where the Tickfaw River enters Lake Maurepas. But this ain’t no rickety swamp shack—multiple decks provide plenty of room for crowds looking for a beer, a Swamp Burger, a dance floor, or to check out the wet T-shirt contest. Yes, it’s that kind of place.
• Acadiana has the Cajuns; Albany has the Hungarians. The Hungarian Settlement Museum, just south of the I-12 Albany/Springfield exit, is housed in a century-old school celebrating the Hungarian settlers who moved to the area in the 1800s. In the fall, the historical society hosts a Harvest Dance at the American Legion Hall in Springfield with traditional Hungarian dishes.
• Every third Saturday of the month, the Grand Country Junction takes over the Suma Hall Community Center in Satsuma (just off the I-12 Satsuma/Cotyell exit). This country/variety show is billed as a “Branson-style” night with local and visiting musicians.
It came from outer space
• Want to see where one of the biggest astronomical discoveries in recent years took place? LIGO, or the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is just north of the town of Livingston and offers free public tours on the third Saturday of each month. Learn about how its scientists detected gravitational waves and earned a Nobel Prize.
• Members of the Louisiana Geological Survey theorize that St. Helena Parish is home to the only known meteor crash site in the state. While the crash likely happened thousands of years ago, it left a mile-wide crater—more like a slight dip in the road today—that you can drive across on Highway 37 just a few miles south of Greensburg. There aren’t any public markers for the site.
Click here to head back to our Local Weekend Getaways cover package and see more trips to take near Baton Rouge.
This article was originally published in the May 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.