The SoHo Lofts, 107 South Wayne Street, Milledgeville, Georgia, are among those quirky, unexpected hostelries that delight experienced travelers. Not the cookie-cutter (albeit satisfactory) digs of a chain, but the idiosyncratic imaginings of a couple of entrepreneurs.
The wife is a Milledgeville girl, and much of her family remains in central Georgia. Originally, the couple (who live and work in New York City) wanted a pied à terre for holiday visits with family. They first acquired the Antebellum Inn (a bed & breakfast), then remodeled an old 1890s bank building downtown that’s zoned mixed use. The ground level is retail stores, but the second floor encompasses four New-York-SoHo-style loft accommodations.
Each of the four units in the historic building downtown is unique, although the renovation kept key architectural details, such as the high ceilings, original hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and large original windows. Of course now there’s cable television, complimentary wireless internet, a fully equipped kitchen and private bath (mine is pictured, right).
My suite was “New Orleans” — a sort of blowsy recreation of a French Quarter apartment. Two of the others are strictly Southern Charm, named “Savannah” and “Madison” after the couples’ two daughters. The fourth, “Kenya”, recalls the owners’ family safari in Africa and is filled with photos and mementos of the East African country.
I must mention the bed: I’ve never slept as well. The managers — who also take care of the owners’ other property, the traditional Bed & Breakfast in a Victorian mansion a few blocks away — told me the mattress cost $6,000. I had no way to verify that, but to say it was comfortable is inadequate…more like sleeping on a cloud.
Milledgeville lost its first claim to fame in 1868, when the state capital moved from the town (its fourth location) to Atlanta (its fifth and thus far final locale). It retains its lure for visitors, however, because a couple of institutions of higher learning are located there — Georgia Military College and Georgia College & State University. Parents of the students are a steady source of short-term visitors.