Minnetonka Grad Runs a Historic Bed-and-breakfast In the Deep South

Scott Harrison was born and raised in Minnetonka, but he now lives nearly 1,100 miles south. For the last year and a half, he's been the owner of the Collina Plantation Inn, a three-room bed-and-breakfast in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Despite being far away from home, Harrison says he loves his new life and that business at the inn is booming.

Harrison grew up in Minnetonka and graduated from Minnetonka High School in 2006. Shortly after, he moved to California in search of new adventures, but he says the Golden State didn’t prove to be a good fit. “I just didn’t really adjust to California too well, so I ended up moving down south,” says Harrison. He moved to Miss. instead, which enabled him to fulfill a lifelong dream. “I’ve always enjoyed historic homes,” he says. “I grew up around them quite a bit and always wanted to get one, so that’s what I did.”

In 2015, Harrison bought the Collina Plantation Inn and got to work on renovating it, bringing in modern conveniences like air conditioning and high-speed Internet while preserving the house’s original character. Though it was hard work, he says the final results are worth it, and it has proven to be a comfortable home-away-from-home for visitors to the area.

Harrison says visitors interested in history will find much to love about both the Collina Plantation Inn and the town of Port Gibson. The inn itself, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is situated on Greenwood Street, among the grandest avenues in Port Gibson. It was once shaded by majestic oak trees on both sides (some are still standing) and used to be known as “Lover’s Lane.” The Collina property spans 8.5 acres full of gardens, woods and wildlife—and is just off the Natchez Trace Trail—so nature enthusiasts have plenty to explore as well.

As beautiful as Collina is, however, like most sites of its age and location, it also has a dark past. Though the property was not the original family’s producing plantation, it was home to numerous enslaved people, who built the house and developed the property. “I do bring up the fact that the house was built by slave labor,” Harrison says. “I try to talk about that.” Collina is one of many historic Southern properties that must reckon with their difficult histories, and inviting guests to learn about that history helps ensure it isn’t buried.

Though Harrison is still relatively new to the bed-and-breakfast business, he hopes to stay for the foreseeable future and is working on adding a fourth bedroom to the already existing three. “It’s a small place, and it will stay pretty small, but it’s manageable for me,” he says. “I’ve loved being here in Mississippi. It’s very different from Minnesota, to say the least. I’m adjusting to it, though—it’s a nice slow pace of life, and I really enjoy it.”